Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Mechanical, Biomedical and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Keith Bryan

Second Advisor

Professor Ger Kelly


Three dimensional motion analysis systems are utilised across a number of different disciplines, including clinical gait analysis, sports performance studies and analysis of tasks of daily living. These systems utilise biomechanical models which define body segment coordinate systems and calculate kinematic and kinetic relationships about the joints between adjacent coordinate systems. In this study, a biomechanical model for general use in motion analysis was developed and validated. It was designed to improve upon the accuracy and capability of currently available models. The newly developed model utilises state of the art techniques to accurately define body segment coordinate systems. Accurate predictive methods were employed to determine the positions of the joint centres along with the Calibrated Anatomical System Technique to allow segments to be modelled independently. All calculated joint rotations follow recommended rotation orders to describe their motion and are represented with realistic degrees of freedom. For example, the shoulder complex is regarded as a six degree of freedom joint and, for the first time, six kinematic components are calculated and output for the description of the joint’s motion. The model also performs kinetic calculations through the upper and lower limbs. A new method has been developed to define the local coordinate system of the humerus which has been validated in vitro and in vivo in the presence of soft tissue artefact. The method utilises the position of a virtual wrist joint centre to define the humerus anatomical frame so that errors due to soft tissue artefact are minimal during humerus axial rotations and allows the humerus to be defined through the entire range of elbow motion, including full extension. Errors due to soft tissue artefact in calculated kinematics have also been quantified. The model has been utilised in two different research studies at Cork Institute of Technology. One project utilised the model to analyse the basketball dribbling technique of elite level basketball players, the second project analysed the kick-out technique of gaelic football goalkeepers. Sample data from these projects and a gait analysis study are presented to demonstrate the model’s application.

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