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XV International Symposium on 3D Analysis of Human Movement

Memorial lecture & keynotes

Herman J Woltring Memorial Lecture

Prof. Dr. Antonie (Ton) Van den Bogert

Prof. Dr. Antonie (Ton) Van den Bogert    

Antonie J. (Ton) van den Bogert currently holds the Parker-Hannifin Endowed Chair in Human Motion and Control in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Cleveland State University.  He has previously been on the faculty at the University of Calgary (1993-1998) and the Cleveland Clinic (1998-2010). His academic degrees are from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands), including a BS/MS degree in Physics and Applied Mathematics, and a PhD degree in Veterinary Science for work on locomotion in horses.

For most of his career, Ton has worked on computational modeling of human movement and computer-aided movement analysis, with applications in rehabilitation, sports, and animation. His work has been supported by numerous federal grants and by contracts with industry. Ton has served as President of the International Society of Biomechanics and also well known as the moderator of Biomch-L, an online discussion forum on human and animal movement science.  He has published over 130 journal articles and book chapters, holds three patents in the area of rehabilitation technology. Notable awards are the Sports Injury Research Award of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (2004), and a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2005.

Current research interests are: control of powered prosthetic and orthotic devices, predictive simulation for design of sports equipment and assistive devices, and novel methods for analysis of human movement.

Title: Optimal estimation in human movement: from smoothing splines to musculoskeletal optimal control

In human movement analysis, we are faced with the task to estimate mechanical variables from inaccurate and incomplete measurements.  Estimates are often guided by models, but the models themselves have error also.  In a letter to Journal of Biomechanics in 1980, Herman Woltring already advocated for optimally combining data and models in process of estimation, an approach that is now formally known as Bayesian inference.  Although never fully implemented, parts of this vision for analysis of human movement have been accomplished in the past 38 years, albeit almost accidentally. In this lecture, we will show that low-pass filters, rigid body pose estimation, inverse kinematics, smoothing splines, Kalman filters, and musculoskeletal simulation can all be understood as Bayesian inference.   A good understanding of the principles of optimal estimation will lead the way to the development of instrumentation and software to achieve higher accuracy, lower cost, and applicability outside of the research laboratory.



Dr. Valentina Camomilla

Dr. Valentina Camomilla                  

Director of the Interuniversity Centre of Bioengineering of the Human Neuromusculoskeletal System, Department of Movement, Human, and Health Sciences, University of Rome "Foro Italico", Italy. Valentina has a core interest in increasing the resolution of human movement analysis which is based on stereophotogrammetry through investigations of soft tissue artifacts and anatomical landmark identification errors.                  

Title: Thirty years of research on soft tissue artifacts, are we ready to move theory into practice?

In recent years, technology advancement is rapidly changing the accessibility and affordability of stereophotogrammetric systems for human movement analysis. However, the human measurand was not kind enough to evolve into a linked ensemble of actual rigid bodies. Bone motion during the activities of interest remains not directly observable. It is most often reconstructed using the recorded trajectories of markers placed on the skin, which, due to the interposed soft tissues, are not rigidly fixed to the underlying bones, causing the so-called soft tissue artefact (STA).      

This lecture aims at describing how far are we today to reliably and validly represent bone and joint motions using markers placed on the skin. The current different approaches and points of view will be described to facilitate a structured debate to devise future developments and to provide suggestions that may accelerate the achievement of the ultimate goal. The implication of current findings will be discussed also in terms of how they may have an impact on practice, and on what barriers and challenges need yet to be overcome.      

Dr. Catherine Holloway

Dr. Catherine Holloway            

Senior lecturer, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering Science, researcher of the Accessibility Research Group, University College London, UK. As one of the founders of Movement Metrics and developer of the SenseWheel, Catherine has a strong research interest in assistive technology, in particular with regard to wheelchair biomechanics.            

Prof. Dr. Katja Mombaur

Prof. Dr. Katja Mombaur              

Head of Research Group Optimization, Robotics and Biomechanics and of Robotics Lab, Institute of Computer Engineering (ZITI), Heidelberg University, Germany. Katja's research focuses on understanding principles of human movement and using this knowledge to improve motions of humanoid robots and of humans, also in  interactions with exoskeletons, prostheses and external physical devices. Her particular interest is on dynamic motions such as walking, running, and other kinds of motions in sports, as well as motions of daily life such as standing up, lifting etc. She and her team use and develop dynamic models  and optimization methods for motion studies, based on the assumption that human movement is optimal. In this context they are also interested in inverse optimal control which can determine what a human is optimizing in a given situation.      

Title: What are we aiming at? Optimality principles of human movement

It is a common assumption that motions of humans and animals are performed in an optimal way due to evolution, learning and training. Optimization effects can be found in the mechanical properties of the executed movements, but also in the closed loop sensory motor system. But what exactly are we optimizing in which context? There are special types of human movement for which this question is easy to answer since the objective function corresponds to the voluntary goal of the human subjects, sports. However for many motions, e.g. regular walking or reaching, this question is far from trivial since motion control is performed in a less conscious way. Also motions of patients with certain pathologies can be seen as the result of an optimization process, e.g. minimizing pain or loads in the affected limbs. In this talk, we present inverse optimal control as a mathematical approach to identify optimality principles underlying motions that have been observed in motion capture experiments. We use mechanical multibody system models of the human body, partly including muscle models. The method can explore the validity of objective function hypotheses and finds that the real motion is the result of a combined optimization criterion. If such optimality principles have been identified for a certain class of motions, they can be exploited to predict human movement in novel situations or to develop better supporting devices. We give several examples from our motion studies in sports, cognitive sciences, rehabilitation and robotics.      


Dr. Adam Shortland                

Consultant clinical scientist, One Small Step Gait Laboratory, Guy's Hospital, UK. Adam has great expertise in muscle physiology and its interaction with movement, and he presently works at Guy’s Hospital with children with disabilities. He has led the research effort at the One Small Step Gait Laboratory at Guy’s Hospital, King’s Healthcare Partners, since its creation in 1998. The unit’s primary research interests are in the structure of muscle deformity in spastic cerebral palsy (SCP) and the natural history of gait in this group. The team have produced several “research firsts” including:      

  • demonstrating that lack of cross-sectional growth rather than muscle fibre shortness is the likely cause of muscle deformity in children with spastic cerebral palsy.        
  • visualising the structure of large muscles using 3D ultrasound using optical motion capture.        
  • showing the effect of surgical intervention on gross muscle morphology in the human subject.        
  • demonstrating that multilevel surgical intervention improves upon the natural history of gait and mobility in children with SCP.        
  • showing that gait analysis can differentiate those children with cerebral palsy who would benefit from surgery to those children who would remain stable.        
  • demonstrating that resistance training increases the volumes of muscle in children with spastic cerebral palsy.        
  • combining ultrasound and motion capture to study musculo-tendinous dynamics in spastic cerebral palsy.        

Title: Ultrasound imaging as a supporting technology in clinical movement analysis.

Adam Shortland believes we can understand the human musculoskeletal system better by combining measures of structure (imaging) and function (movement analysis), and the lecture concerns the multiple ways that the clinical movement analysis professional can incorporate imaging into their practice.      

 Dr. Kat M Steele

Dr. Kat M Steele                  

Kat M. Steele is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. She leads the Ability & Innovation Lab, which integrates dynamic musculoskeletal simulation, motion analysis, and device design to improve movement after neurologic injury. She also co-directs AccessEngineering, an NSF-supported program to encourage individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in engineering and integrate topics on universal design and accessibility into the engineering curriculum. She earned her BS in Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. To integrate engineering and medicine, she has worked in multiple hospitals including the Denver Children’s Hospital, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She has been awarded an NIH Career Development Award in Rehabilitation Engineering, NSF CAREER Early Faculty Development Award, and the American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award.

Title: Every brain injury is unique: quantifying impaired control and improving movement in cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by an injury to the brain at or near the time of birth. Every brain injury is unique and individuals with CP adopt a wide range of movement and walking strategies. Children with CP undergo a wide variety of treatments including highly-invasive surgery, botulinum toxin injections,  and therapeutic programs. However, after these treatments only 50% of children demonstrate a significant improvement in walking ability. New strategies are required to identify patient-specific factors that contribute to impaired movement and influence treatment outcomes. Clinicians have argued “motor control matters” in CP. However, quantifying patient-specific differences in control and understanding motor control adaptability remain open challenges in CP research. In this talk, I will discuss some of our recent research evaluating the principles that can be used to quantify patient-specific impairments in control in CP and the translation of these methods to inform clinical practice. We have used muscle synergy analysis, musculoskeletal simulation, and clinical gait analysis to evaluate altered control in CP. In partnership with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Pellenberg Children’s Hospital we have evaluated altered control and treatment outcomes for over 700 children with CP and found that motor control does matter and may help improve outcomes and quality of life for these children.    

Dr. Mounir Zok

Dr. Mounir Zok                          

Mounir Zok could just be one of the very few people on the planet who is generating bleeding-edge technology programs with 30+ sports disciplines at any given time. He is currently the Director of Technology and Innovation for the U.S. Olympic Committee and his main focus is opening a 1% competitive gap between Team USA and the rest of the world. He drives technology and innovation programs that fuse wearable technology, smart fabrics, computer vision, virtual reality, augmented reality, IoT, and artificial intelligence to create a unique solution that enables athletes and coaches to make informed decisions. Mounir has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation and is constantly challenging the status quo. Mounir is a world citizen, having lived, studied and worked in Lebanon, Cyprus, Italy, Spain, UK, and the United States. He holds a PhD in Bioengineering, is fluent in 4 languages and currently lives with his wife and 2 children in the Silicon Valley.

Title: Technology, Innovation and the Superathlete

Technology is permeating every part of our lives and is introducing new paradigms in various business sectors. In sports, athletes and coaches are making better decisions than ever before thanks to the use of quite advanced, yet simple, technological innovations. Sports technology today is a multi-billion industry and significant investments are being made in wearable technology, smart fabrics, Internet of Things, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence innovations; however, the 1% competitive margin that elite athletes seek can only be uncovered through the practical application of innovation. How are we coping with the ever increasing rate of technological breakthroughs? How are athletes capable of pushing the boundaries? How is technology reshaping the sports industry? These are just some of the questions that will be tackled during the presentation.