Mocap's Unique Potential to Revolutionize Physical Therapy
Mocap's Unique Potential to Revolutionize Physical Therapy

It didn’t take long for the Data Domination trend to hit the sports and fitness industry. New smartwatches, smart clothing, and sensor-embedded equipment products are launched every month to help professional athletes monitor movement and track exercise, food, weight, and sleep. Users can quickly analyze the collected data to meet fitness requirements and improve performance.   


These wearable devices fill the role of an athlete’s clinician in the hours of the day where they are not working face-to-face. If clinicians had access to similar devices that helped them easily collect data, analyze it, and diagnose, set a treatment plan, or track progress, it could revolutionize the kinesiology industry. Unfortunately such a technology does not yet exist.   


Enter Metria Innovation, creator of the MPT Series 2 portable, single camera 3-D motion capture system.   


The MPT-GAIT system is currently being developed as part of a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. Once on the market, MPT-GAIT will make instrumented gait analysis available at a price point that any typical rehabilitation center could afford. In doing so, 3-D movement data has the potential to transform the role of gait analysis in clinical decision-making.   


Let’s take patellofemoral pain (PFP) for example, the most commonly reported running injury. There is a growing body of evidence that subtle deviations in running movement patterns can be related to injuries such as PFP. But, the deviations are so small — only a few degrees — that they are undetectable to the human eye. So today if a patient is diagnosed with PFP, the clinician will select a treatment plan without the benefit of a detailed gait assessment. 


With MPT-GAIT, even the slightest degree of deviation from normal movement can be captured by a 3-D camera system, enabling the clinician to pinpoint the source and set a targeted treatment. If the PFP were caused by excess hip abduction, the patient could work on hip strengthening. If internal rotation were the cause, they can begin gait retraining. And if it were due to abnormal foot mechanics, an orthotic may be the best solution. Three very different sources of the same diagnosis and three very different treatments.   


Metria’s innovative moire phase tracking (MPT) system is ideally suited to instrumented gait assessment in the physical therapy clinic. Wired and wire-free 3-D technologies for the most part require a confined studio space, prolonged set-up and break-down, and timely hand-correction of data. 

  • Metria’s system is factory-calibrated. A simple room registration is all that is needed to start using the MPT system. 
  • The MPT motion tracking system is self-contained and can be set up in minutes. It can be used indoors or outdoors.  
  • MPT markers are automatically tracked when viewed by the MPT camera. And using the unique ID code on each marker, tracking data is automatically registered to the correct segment. Manual labeling of the motion tracking data is never required. 
  • In MPT low-level image processing, when a marker is detected in an image and analyzed, no pixel from outside the image of the marker plays a role in any processing. So ambient light or scene clutter that can confuse conventional 3D systems is a non-issue.
  • The MPT system can track full 3-D measurement from a single camera with extreme accuracy capable of detecting hip, knee, and ankle rotations in all three planes. The MPT-GAIT system has the ability to track up to 256 markers simultaneously.   


In Phase I of the SBIR grant, the Metria team established the feasibility of a 3-D gait analysis system that is simple, affordable, reliable, and able to distinguish normal from abnormal gait. In Phase II, they will further innovate the product for ease-of-use and functionality, as well as develop a user interface and reporting mechanism that specifically meets the requirements for physical therapy.  


Please contact us if you are interested in more information on this project. 

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