Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Research

Motion Analysis Core Facility

Mission

The Motion Analysis Core Facility is a state-of-the-art human movement research laboratory designed especially for making measurements necessary for quantifying human movements. All of the measurement systems in the core are integrated to allow for the synchronized collection of data in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the particular human movement activity. One of the primary goals of the Motion Analysis Core Facility is to provide researchers, and ultimately clinicians, with more complete knowledge and a better understanding of the mechanical interactions that occur between humans and prosthetic/orthotic systems. This knowledge should contribute to improved fitting and the manufacturing processes for these systems, and help individuals using these devices to lead an improved quality of life.

Services Offered

Research studies conducted in the Motion Analysis Core Facility typically focus on, but are not limited to, persons with amputations, persons with neuromuscular impairments, persons with musculoskeletal disorders or injuries, and healthy able-bodied individuals.

Quantitative Gait Analysis – A gait analysis is an experiment to record data about the way a person walks. Instrumentation included in a basic gait analysis includes a high speed digital motion capture system, force platforms, digital video recordings and digital photos. Reflective markers are placed on various anatomical landmarks on the participant. The participant is then asked to walk along a 10 m walkway a minimum of 5 times at varying speeds. Photos and digital recordings will be taken. Manual muscle testing using a handheld dynamometer will also be performed on the participant’s lower limbs to assess muscle strength. A goniometer will be used to measure the flexibility of the hip, knee, and ankle joints. Participation for an able-bodied individual will last approximately 2 hours.  Participation for a person with a disability would take longer. 

w/EMG – Electromyography (EMG) is a technique used to measure muscle activity. Surface electrodes will be attached to the skin over selected muscles using double-sided non-allergic tape. EMG is done in conjunction with a gait analysis. Preparation time for the subject will increase by approximately 45 minutes in addition to the setup/preparation time required for a gait analysis without EMG. 

w/Pressure – There are 2 types of pressure measurements available, either in-sole pressure measurement or in-socket pressure measurement.  In-sole pressure analysis involves measuring the pressure applied to the plantar surface of the foot using instrumented insoles placed between the foot and the shoe. Pressure analysis of the plantar surface of the foot can be either a stand-alone procedure or done in conjunction with a gait analysis.  Participation time for the subject in a stand-alone pressure analysis will last approximately 1 hour. If done in conjunction with the gait analysis, preparation time for the subject will increase by approximately 30 minutes in addition to the setup/preparation time required for a gait analysis without in-sole pressure. 

If the participant wears a prosthesis, instrumented sensors are used to measure the pressure between the residual limb and the socket interface (in-socket pressure measurement). In-socket pressure measurement is done only in conjunction with a gait analysis. Preparation time for the subject will increase by approximately 1 hour in addition to the set/up preparation time required for a gait analysis without pressure.

w/Spine/Upper Extremity – Done in conjunction with a gait analysis, additional reflective markers are placed along the spine and on the head to measure spinal motion while walking or in a static standing position. Preparation time for the subject with the spinal markers will increase by approximately 30 minutes in addition to the setup/preparation time required for a standard gait analysis. 

w/Energy Expenditure- An energy expenditure test is done to analyze the air that is exhaled while walking.  The test can be done as a stand alone procedure or in conjunction with a gait analysis. A mask that covers the nose and mouth is fitted to the participant. Additional equipment including a battery pack and the sampling device are placed on the participant and secured using a harness type carrying pack. The test protocol consists of three stages: (1) pre-exercise resting energy expenditure, (2) walking energy expenditure, and (3) post-exercise resting energy expenditure. During the pre- and post-exercise phases, the participant is sitting quietly for approximately 5 minutes in each phase. During the walking phase, the participant walks for 10 minutes at a self-selected speed on a treadmill. Preparation time for the subject is approximately 30 minutes. Participation time for the subject is approximately 45 minutes.

Acknowledgements

All manuscripts and grants presenting work supported by this core should include the following acknowledgement:

"This work was supported by the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center’s Motion Analysis Research Laboratory."

Prosthetics-Orthotics Center

Contact

Steven Gard, PhD  
Director
312-503-5718

Rebecca Stine, MS  
Laboratory Manager
312-503-5726


Location

Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center
680 North Lake Shore Drive
Suite 1100
Chicago, IL 60611