Biomechanics Applications

Animal Science

In this video, biomechanics researchers analyzed the spinal motion of a gecko walking on a photoelastic track. Data from the automatic feature tracking is graphed directly below the video. ProAnalyst simultaneously plots x-coordinate vs. time for four features.

Cell Tracking

Dr. Molly Frame of Stony Brook University, New York, uses the ProAnalyst Cell Tracking toolkit to perform her microbiological research. This video shows tracked cells moving through veins and arteries. The Cell Tracking toolkit also computes flow direction, proximity to cellular walls, and more. This toolkit is ideal for researchers studying cell motion or cavitation in pipes.

Equine Biomechanics

Equine biomechanics researchers rely on ProAnalyst to obtain the measurements and analysis required to identify ways for horses to run faster and more efficiently. Researchers can also draw conclusions about an animal's health, age, and speed from its gait pattern. In this video, ProAnalyst's markerless feature tracking measures the stride of a racehorse. Dynamic measurements quantify the angles of the legs as the horse runs on the track.

Facial Kinematics

This video outlines how ProAnalyst 3-D is being deployed to measure and archive common 3-D facial landmarks to build a highly accurate 3-D model of the face. This technique uses multiple high-speed videos captured using ProCapture and analyzed with 2-D feature tracking templates created within ProAnalyst. ProAnalyst 3-D Manager combines the individually analyzed 2-D datasets to form detailed and accurate 3-D location and motion data from the assembled stereoscopic facial video.

Common facial expressions and activities such as smiling, talking and chewing are recreated to form a pre-surgery baseline for the kinematics of the facial landmarks. This baseline can be compared to post-surgical kinematic results to develop a quantitative map of facial elasticity loss.

ProAnalyst has seen over a decade of widespread adoption within the medical research community and has become a trusted research tool for video measurement and verification by surgical leaders in both hospitals and universities worldwide.

Functional Morphology

Functional morphology is the relationship between the structure and function of human or animal features. At the University of Chicago, Dr. Callum Ross leads a research program in evolutionary morphology focusing on comparative biomechanics of the head, with special emphasis on the feeding systems of primates, crocodilians, and other vertebrates.

Oftentimes, the motion of the animal that needs to be studied is not on the outside of the body. In those cases, X-ray images are used to visualize the bone motion under the skin. X-ray machines can refresh very quickly, so Xcitex ProCapture high-speed cameras are placed to image the X-ray phosphor tubes. This new technique, pioneered at Brown University in Rhode Island, Stony Brook University in New York, and the University of Chicago, enables researchers to analyze exact bone motion.

This image shows a primate eating and swallowing. Feeding function and behaviors are essential for animal survival, and help provide insight into human larynx issues. In this instance, the researchers used a combination of MiDAS DA and ProAnalyst motion analysis software to capture the vital signs and forces. ProAnalyst 1-D Line Tracking is used to quantify speed and position as the jaw opens and closes.

Learn more: http://rosslab.uchicago.edu/front-page

Image Source: U Chicago Dept. of Organismal Biology and Anatomy website

Primate Locomotion

In the Functional Morphology and Primate Locomotion Laboratory at Stony Brook University, one of the world's leading institutions for the study of anthropological morphology, a research team led by Dr. Brigitte Demes studies the bipedal gait of chimpanzees. Since humans and chimps share a common ancestor, her research also informs conclusions about the evolution of human posture and gait.

The researchers at Stony Brook record 3-D kinematic video using the Xcitex ProCapture motion capture system with video and data options, ProAnalyst 3-D Professional Edition, and a custom-built 3-D calibration fixture in their laboratories. A chimpanzee walks along a specially constructed runway. Embedded within the runway are very sensitive force plates that record the pressure placed by the primate's feet as a function of body position and time. ProCapture captures the action from four different viewpoints and automatically synchronizes the video with the force plate data to create a multi-dimensional model of the walking motion. Electromyographic (EMG) data are captured wirelessly through a telemetry system and synchronized with video recordings of the subject's behavior.

Later, the videos and data are analyzed with ProAnalyst motion analysis software and the results melded to created a full 3-D reconstruction of the chimp's gait with quantifying motion analysis data and synchronized force plate data. This data has been presented for review at the annual Society of Integrated Biology conference for many years to great acclaim.

Learn more: http://www.anat.stonybrook.edu/facilities/primatelab

Image Source: Stony Brook Primate Locomotion Lab


As this toy robot performs a short dance routine, ProAnalyst's stick figure overlays delineate the movements of arms, legs, and torso. This analysis is an example of kinematics, the study of the motion of systems composed of joined parts, such as the body of this robot. Kinematic analysis is used to study range of movement and also to design machines with a required range of motion.


This video shows a human subject jumping. ProAnalyst was used to track and connect several features to highlight the biomechanics of jumping. Video analyses like these are used by researchers who study kinesiology -- an interdisciplinary field focusing on the science of human movement, performance, and function. In recent years, the field of kinesiology has evolved toward less emphasis on sport and a greater focus on understanding human movement and the role of physical activity and exercise in health and disease. Applications of kinesiology in human health include physical education, physical and occupational therapy, and rehabilitation.


University of Idaho researcher Dr. Craig McGowan used a ProCapture motion capture system to record the hopping movements of this desert kangaroo rat. Dr. McGowan then used ProAnalyst motion analysis software to track several points on the body. A feature line configured with dynamic 3-point angle measurements displays the range of motion in the animal's lower leg. This analysis of the animal's locomotion combined with data from force plates sheds new light on acceleration biomechanics in bipedal hoppers.

Movement Disorder

Patients affected by movement disorders are participating in neurobiological research conducted by Dr. Michelle Burack of the University of Rochester Medical Center. In this video we see the effects of tremors causing involuntary movements in the patient's head, arms, and hands. This video was recorded with the ProCapture video capture system. ProCapture's high-speed cameras and long-recording capability are ideal for easy motion capture in the lab or the field. Dr. Burack applies the knowledge gained from her research to refine treatment and provide enhanced benefits with fewer side effects for patients living with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Particle Analysis

This video showcases the research of Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Berg, Professor of Biology at Columbia College of Chicago. Here, ProAnalyst's Particle Tracking toolkit counts and categorizes food particles in the water flowing around some barnacles. This toolkit, designed for statistical analysis of particle flows, allows classification of particles by size, shape, eccentricity, or axial orientation. It is also useful for sprays, injectors, plumes, and impact studies. The Particle Tracking toolkit estimates the path or velocity of particles by establishing correspondences for all particles from frame to frame of the video. Particle trails can also be configured to show the entire estimated trail for each visible particle.

Surgery Training

ProAnalyst is being used in ground-breaking quantitative medical training studies to measure performance of residents at Stanford University Medical Center. 2-D Feature Tracking is being used to record instrument position and movement of medical residents as they complete several standardized individualized tasks. Performed over several years of residency, the results have been found to be beneficial in demonstrating both individual and overall microsurgical improvement.

"We used ProAnalyst to track the motion of microsurgical instruments to derive a reproducible, objective, and validated measure of microsurgical motion characteristics as a predictive scoring tool of technical ability. Microsurgical video data were used to produce a mathematical model that can predict trainee experience based on motion profiles and derive a single cumulative score of overall microsurgical ability that reflects dexterity and economy of movement."

- Dr. Rory B. McGoldrick

The motion of the residents' tools was compared to the motion performed by an expert using ProAnalyst markerless tracking, and was quantified based on data interpretation of several overall characteristics which relate to time, tremor, extreme movements, and overall pattern of movements. Motion analysis scores were compared to blinded global rating scores of the same videos using the Stanford Microsurgery and Resident Training scale. Once filters were applied, a direct correlation with existing qualitative reporting was apparent. ProAnalyst's non-invasive video overlays can be used to create 'ghost' recordings, allowing the progress of one clip to be presented against the 'ideal' expert progress when performing identical tasks. When performing this analysis, 2-D Feature Tracking will output accurate and quantifiable location, rotation and velocity data. As a markerless non-contact based analysis method, ProAnalyst is ideally suited for use in medical surgical studies. Read the full article here:

Motion Analysis for Microsurgical Training: Objective Measures of Dexterity, Economy of Movement, and Ability

Facial Landmarking Quantificating with ProAnalyst

ProAnalyst can be used to quantify and track facial landmarks in 3D when captured from 2 or more sterioscopically linked cameras. This can be used to extract very accurate position data and compare that data to previously captured facial data. In this instance 4 cameras capture multiple angles of the subject and create a 3D reconstruction with accurate 3D measurements of facial data that do not relay on relative ratios.

Biomechanical Motion Analysis of Gecko using ProAnalyst

ProAnalyst is used extensively by the biomechanics and locomotion research community to study how animals have evolved and how animals/humans walk. This research has resulted in a greater understanding of sports performance, movement disorders and injury rehabilitation. In this example, a gecko scales a vertical wall under the watchful eye of ProAnalyst and a high-speed camera.

Heartvalve analysis with ProAnalyst

Using ProAnalyst 1D Line tracking and Contour tracing, medical device manufacturers are able to study and perfect the flow patterns of artificial heart valves. Video can be synced with external DAQ EKG data.

Analyzing Hummingbird wing beats

Tracking the wing beat frequency of an Annas hummingbird with ProAnalyst video motion tracking. Filmed by Roy Dunn on an i-SPEED 716 high speed camera

Stony Brook Chimpanzee Gait Analysis with ProCapture

A demonstration of the 3-D ProCapture setup at the famouse Stony Brook Chimpanzee labratory. This video showcases the calibration procedure and the seamless integration of force plate data into the ProCapture system. All data and calibration are combined within ProAnalyst to form a complete 3-D output showing the skeletal movement of the chimpanzee.

Motion Analysis of Runner using ProAnalyst

This video showcases the ability of ProAnalyst to track both markered and native features on a runner, making it the ideal motion analysis software for biomechanics, sports and human motion tracking -- without interfering with the subject.

Fitness evaluation with treadmill test

Exercise physiology is the study of the human body's responses and adaptation to the stresses of physical activity. At Loma Linda University in California, this treadmill test is used to assess cardiovascular fitness and endurance of test subjects, based on the length of the workout and the subject's performance. This research is used to develop exercise programs and manage health risk factors.