Definition

motion analysis

Contributor(s): Sarah Lewis

Motion analysis is a measuring technique used in computer vision, image processing and high-speed photography applications to detect movement. The objectives of motion analysis are to detect motion within an image, track an object’s motion over time, group objects that move together and identify the direction of motion. Specific techniques for implementing motion or movement analysis include electromyography, background segmentation and differential equation models.

Motion analysis software can help organizations implement aspects of motion analysis with minimal effort. Once connected to motion capture devices, the software can visually display object tracking information for further examination and manipulation.

How motion analysis works

The basic function of motion analysis is to compare two or more consecutive images captured by sensors or cameras to return information on the apparent motion in the images. This is usually done by programming the recording device to produce binary images based on movement. All of the image points, or pixels, that correspond with motion are set to a value of 1 while stationary pixels are set to 0. The resulting image can be processed even further to remove noise, label objects and group neighboring values of 1 into a singular object.

The data produced by motion analysis tools often correlates to a specific image at a specific point in time based on its position in the sequence. Therefore, the motion capture data is time-dependent, which is a crucial component in most tracking applications.

Uses of motion analysis

Motion analysis is used in a variety of fields and applications, including:

  • Manufacturing- Motion analysis can be applied to the manufacturing process through software that monitors and analyzes supply chains for inefficiencies or malfunctions. Similarly, motion analysis can be used by manufacturers to conduct product safety, collision or efficiency tests.
  • Video surveillance- Human activity recognition through motion analysis is commonly used for security monitoring and surveillance purposes.
  • Healthcare and physical therapy- Motion analysis can help healthcare providers track muscle activity, perform gait analysis and diagnose potential mobility issues. Treatment for patients with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy and joint issues can involve regular motion analysis tests in a laboratory.
  • Autonomous vehicles- Motion analysis systems can be used in self-driving cars to aid with traffic navigation and obstruction identification.
  • Biological sciences- Specific motion analysis software can be used to count and track tiny particles such as bacteria and viruses.
This was last updated in April 2019

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