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Feasibility of Markerless Motion Capture for Three-Dimensional Gait Assessment in Community Settings


Three-dimensional (3D) kinematic analysis of gait holds potential as a digital biomarker to identify neuropathologies, monitor disease progression, and provide a high-resolution outcome measure to monitor neurorehabilitation efficacy by characterizing the mechanisms underlying gait impairments. There is a need for 3D motion capture technologies accessible to community, clinical, and rehabilitation settings. Image-based markerless motion capture (MLMC) using neural network-based deep learning algorithms shows promise as an accessible technology in these settings. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of implementing 3D MLMC technology outside the traditional laboratory environment to evaluate its potential as a tool for outcomes assessment in neurorehabilitation. A sample population of 166 individuals aged 9-87 years (mean 43.7, S.D. 20.4) of varied health history were evaluated at six different locations in the community over a 3-month period. Participants walked overground at self-selected (SS) and fastest comfortable (FC) speeds. Feasibility measures considered the expansion, implementation, and practicality of this MLMC system. A subset of the sample population (46 individuals) walked over a pressure-sensitive walkway (PSW) concurrently with MLMC to assess agreement of the spatiotemporal gait parameters measured between the two systems. Twelve spatiotemporal parameters were compared using mean differences, Bland-Altman analysis, and intraclass correlation coefficients for agreement (ICC2,1) and consistency (ICC3,1). All measures showed good to excellent agreement between MLMC and the PSW system with cadence, speed, step length, step time, stride length, and stride time showing strong similarity. Furthermore, this information can inform the development of rehabilitation strategies targeting gait dysfunction. These first experiments provide evidence for feasibility of using MLMC in community and clinical practice environments to acquire robust 3D kinematic data from a diverse population. This foundational work enables future investigation with MLMC especially its use as a digital biomarker of disease progression and rehabilitation outcome.

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