Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of the Human Skeleton in Motion

  • Valentina Camomilla
  • Aurelio Cappozzo
  • Giuseppe Vannozzi
Reference work entry


This chapter illustrates the conceptual background underlying the in silico reconstruction of the human skeletal motion. A specific focus is given to the experimental and analytical methods that allow acquiring information related to both bone movement and morphology in vivo in the framework of rigid body mechanics. This process involves the definition of global and local frames of reference. Common anatomical and mathematical conventions that are used to describe global bone pose and joint kinematics are illustrated. Issues concerning accuracy and reliability of the estimated quantities when using skin markers and stereophotogrammetry and magneto-inertial measurement units are also dealt with.


Rigid body mechanics Human movement analysis Bone pose estimation Anatomical calibration Joint kinematics 


  1. Andersen MS, Benoit DL, Damsgaard M, Ramsey DK, Rasmussen J (2010) Do kinematic models reduce the effects of soft tissue artefacts in skin marker-based motion analysis? An in vivo study of knee kinematics. J Biomech 43:268–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen MS, Damsgaard M, Rasmussen J, Ramsey DK, Benoit DL (2012) A linear soft tissue artefact model for human movement analysis: proof of concept using in vivo data. Gait Posture 35:606–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banks SA, Hodge WA (1996) Accurate measurement of three-dimensional knee replacement kinematics using single-plane fluoroscopy. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 43:638–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barré A, Thiran JP, Jolles BM, Theumann N, Aminian K (2013) Soft tissue artifact assessment during treadmill walking in subjects with total knee arthroplasty. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 60:3131–3140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell AL, Pedersen DR, Brand RA (1990) A comparison of the accuracy of several hip joint center location prediction methods. J Biomech 23:617–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benedetti MG, Merlo A, Leardini A (2013) Inter-laboratory consistency of gait analysis measurements. Gait Posture 38:934–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Benoit DL, Damsgaard M, Andersen MS (2015) Surface marker cluster translation, rotation, scaling and deformation: their contribution to soft tissue artefact and impact on knee joint kinematics. J Biomech 48:2124–2129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. van den Bogert AJ, Smith GD, Nigg BM (1994) In vivo determination of the anatomical axes of the ankle joint complex: an optimization approach. J Biomech 27:1477–1488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bonci T, Camomilla V, Dumas R, Chèze L, Cappozzo A (2015) Rigid and non-rigid geometrical transformations of a marker-cluster and their impact on bone-pose estimation. J Biomech 48:4166–4172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bonnet V, Richard V, Camomilla V, Venture G, Cappozzo A, Dumas R (2017) Joint kinematics estimation using a multi-body kinematics optimisation and an extended Kalman filter, and embedding a soft tissue artefact model. J Biomech (in press)Google Scholar
  11. Bouvier B, Duprey S, Claudon L, Dumas R, Savescu A (2015) Upper limb kinematics using inertial and magnetic sensors: comparison of sensor-to-segment calibrations. Sensors 15:18813–18833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Camomilla V, Cereatti A, Vannozzi G, Cappozzo A (2006) An optimized protocol for hip joint centre determination using the functional method. J Biomech 39:1096–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Camomilla V, Bonci T, Dumas R, Chèze L, Cappozzo A (2015) A model of the soft tissue artefact rigid component. J Biomech 48:1752–1759CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Campbell AC, Lloyd DG, Alderson JA, Elliott BC (2009) MRI development and validation of two new predictive methods of glenohumeral joint center location identification and comparison with established techniques. J Biomech 42:1527–1532CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cappozzo A (1984) Gait analysis methodology. Hum Mov Sci 3:27–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cappozzo A (1991) Three-dimensional analysis of human locomotor acts: experimental methods and associated. Hum Mov Sci 10:589–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cappozzo A, Catani F, Della Croce U, Leardini A (1995) Position and orientation in space of bones during movement, anatomical frame definition and determination. Clin Biomech 10:171–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cappozzo A, Cappello A, Della Croce U, Pensalfini F (1997a) Surface-marker cluster design criteria for 3-D bone movement reconstruction. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 44:1165–1174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cappozzo A, Della Croce U, Lucchetti L (1997b) Gait data, terminology and definition. In: Allard P, Cappozzo A, Lumberg A, Vaughan K (eds) Three-dimensional analysis of human locomotion. Wiley, New York, pp 129–132Google Scholar
  20. Cereatti A, Margheritini F, Donati M, Cappozzo A (2010) Is the human acetabulofemoral joint spherical? J Bone Joint Surg (Br) 92:311–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cereatti A, Bonci T, Akbarshahi M, Aminian K, Barré A, Begon M, Benoit DL, Charbonnier C, Dal Maso F, Fantozzi S, Lin CC, Lu TW, Pandy MG, Stagni R, van den Bogert AJ, Camomilla V (2017) Standardization proposal of soft tissue artefact description for data sharing in human motion measurements. J Biomech. Scholar
  22. Chaibi Y, Cresson T, Aubert B, Hausselle J, Neyret P, Hauger O, de Guise JA, Skalli W (2012) Fast 3D reconstruction of the lower limb using a parametric model and statistical inferences and clinical measurements calculation from biplanar X-rays. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Eng 15:457–466CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Challis JH, Pain MTG (2008) Soft tissue motion influences skeletal loads during impacts. Exerc Sport Sci Rev 36:71–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Charlton IW, Tate P, Smyth P, Roren L (2004) Repeatability of an optimised lower body model. Gait Posture 20:213–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Chiari L, Cappozzo A, Della Croce U, Leardini A (2005) Human movement analysis using stereophotogrammetry. Part 2: experimental errors. Gait Posture 21:197–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Clark T, Hawkins D (2010) Are fixed limb inertial models valid for dynamic simulations of human movement? J Biomech 43:2695–2701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Clément J, Dumas R, Hagemesiter N, de Guise JA (2015) Soft tissue artifact compensation in knee kinematics by multi-body optimization: performance of subject-specific knee joint models. J Biomech 48:3796–3802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Clément J, Dumas R, Hagemeister N, de Guise JA (2017) Can generic knee joint models improve the measurement of osteoarthritic knee kinematics during squatting activity? Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Eng 20:94–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Colle F, Lopomo N, Visani A, Zaffagnini S, Marcacci M (2016) Comparison of three formal methods used to estimate the functional axis of rotation: an extensive in-vivo analysis performed on the knee joint. Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Eng 19:484–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Crabolu M, Pani D, Raffo L, Cereatti A (2016) Estimation of the center of rotation using wearable magneto-inertial sensors. J Biomech 16:3928–3933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Cutti AG, Giovanardi A, Rocchi L, Davalli A, Sacchetti R (2008) Ambulatory measurement of shoulder and elbow kinematics through inertial and magnetic sensors. Med Biol Eng Comput 46:169–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Cutti AG, Ferrari A, Garofalo P, Raggi M, Cappello A, Ferrari A (2010) “Outwalk”: a protocol for clinical gait analysis based on inertial and magnetic sensors. Med Biol Eng Comput 48:17–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Davis RB, Ounpuu S, Tyburskky D, Gage R (1991) A gait analysis data collection and reduction technique. Hum Mov Sci 10:575–587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. De Rosario H, Page A, Besa A, Mata V, Conejero E (2012) Kinematic description of soft tissue artifacts: quantifying rigid versus deformation components and their relation with bone motion. Med Biol Eng Comput 50:1173–1181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. De Rosario H, Page A, Besa A (2017) Analytical study of the effects of soft tissue artefacts on functional techniques to define axes of rotation. J Biomech. Scholar
  36. Della Croce U, Cappozzo A, Kerrigan DC (1999) Pelvis and lower limb anatomical landmark calibration precision and its propagation to bone geometry and joint kinematics. Med Biol Eng Comput 37:155–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Della Croce U, Leardini A, Chiari L, Cappozzo A (2005) Human movement analysis using stereophotogrammetry. Part 4: assessment of anatomical landmark mislocation and its effects on joint kinematics. Gait Posture 21:226–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Donati M, Camomilla V, Vannozzi G, Cappozzo A (2007) Enhanced anatomical calibration in human movement analysis. Gait Posture 26:179–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Donati M, Camomilla V, Vannozzi G, Cappozzo A (2008) Anatomical frame identification and reconstruction for repeatable lower limb joint kinematics estimates. J Biomech 41:2219–2226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Dumas R, Camomilla V, Bonci T, Chèze L, Cappozzo A (2014) Generalized mathematical representation of the soft tissue artefact. J Biomech 47:476–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Dumas R, Camomilla V, Bonci T, Chèze L, Cappozzo A (2015) What portion of the soft tissue artefact requires compensation when estimating joint kinematics? J Biomech Eng 137:064502. Scholar
  42. Duprey S, Chèze L, Dumas R (2010) Influence of joint constraints on lower limb kinematics estimation from skin markers using global optimization. J Biomech 43:2858–2862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ehrig RM, Taylor WR, Duda GN, Heller MO (2007) A survey of formal methods for determining functional joint axes. J Biomech 40:2150–2157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Favre J, Aissaoui R, Jolles BM, de Guise JA, Aminian K (2009) Functional calibration procedure for 3D knee joint angle description using inertial sensors. J Biomech 42:2330–2335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Fioretti S, Cappozzo A, Lucchetti L (1997) Joint kinematics. In: Allard P, Cappozzo A, Lumberg A, Vaughan K (eds) Three-dimensional analysis of human locomotion. Wiley, New York, pp 173–189Google Scholar
  46. Fraysse F, Thewlis D (2014) Comparison of anatomical, functional and regression methods for estimating the rotation axes of the forearm. J Biomech 47:3488–3493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Frigo C, Rabuffetti M, Kerrigan DC, Deming LC, Pedotti A (1998) Functionally oriented and clinically feasible quantitative gait analysis method. Med Biol Eng Comput 36:179–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Gamage SSHU, Lasenby J (2002) New least squares solutions for estimating the average Centre of rotation and the axis of rotation. J Biomech 35:87–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Garling EH, Kapteina BL, Mertens B, Barendregt W, Veeger HEJ, Nelissen RGHH, Valstar ER (2007) Soft-tissue artefact assessment during step-up using fluoroscopy and skin-mounted markers. J Biomech 40:S18–S24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Gasparutto X, Sancisi N, Jacquelin E, Parenti-Castelli V, Dumas R (2015) Validation of a multi-body optimization with knee kinematic models including ligament constraints. J Biomech 48:1141–1146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Grimpampi E, Camomilla V, Cereatti A, De Leva P, Cappozzo A (2014) Metrics for describing soft-tissue artefact and its effect on pose, size, and shape of marker clusters. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 61:362–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Grood ES, Suntay WJ (1983) A joint coordinate system for the clinical description of three-dimensional motions: application to the knee. J Biomech Eng 105:136–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Gruber K, Ruder H, Denoth J, Schneider K (1998) A comparative study of impact dynamics: wobbling mass model versus rigid body models. J Biomech 31:439–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Guan S, Gray HA, Keynejad F, Pandy MG (2016) Mobile biplane X-ray imaging system for measuring 3D dynamic joint motion during overground gait. IEEE Trans Med Imaging 35:326–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Halvorsen K (2003) Bias compensated least square estimate of the center of rotation. J Biomech 36:999–1008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Halvorsen K, Lesser M, Lundberg A (1999) A new method for estimating the axis of rotation and the center of rotation. J Biomech 32:1221–1227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Hara R, McGinley J, Briggs C, Baker R, Sangeux M (2016) Predicting the location of the hip joint centres, impact of age group and sex. Sci Rep 6:37707CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Harrington ME, Zavatsky AB, Lawson SE, Yuan Z, Theologis TN (2007) Prediction of the hip joint centre in adults, children, and patients with cerebral palsy based on magnetic resonance imaging. J Biomech 40:595–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Kadaba MP, Ramakrishnan HK, Wootten ME (1990) Measurement of lower extremity kinematics during level walking. J Orthop Res 8:383–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Kainz H, Carty CP, Modenese L, Boyd RN, Lloyd DG (2015) Estimation of the hip joint centre in human motion analysis: a systematic review. Clin Biomech 30:319–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Lamberto G, Martelli S, Cappozzo A, Mazzà C (2016) To what extent is joint and muscle mechanics predicted by musculoskeletal models sensitive to soft tissue artefacts? J Biomech. Scholar
  62. Leardini A, Cappozzo A, Catani F, Toksvig-Larsen S, Petitto A, Sforza V, Cassanelli G, Giannini S (1999) Validation of a functional method for the estimation of hip joint centre location. J Biomech 32:99–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Leardini A, Chiari L, Cappozzo A, Della Croce U (2005) Human movement analysis using stereophotogrammetry. Part 3: soft tissue artifact assessment and compensation. Gait Posture 21:212–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Leardini A, Sawacha Z, Paolini G, Ingrosso S, Nativo R, Benedetti MG (2007) A new anatomically based protocol for gait analysis in children. Gait Posture 26:560–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Lempereur M, Leboeuf F, Brochard S, Rousset J, Burdin V, Rémy-Néris O (2010) In vivo estimation of the glenohumeral joint center by functional methods: accuracy and repeatability assessment. J Biomech 43:370–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Li K, Zheng L, Tashman S, Zhang X (2012) The inaccuracy of surface-measured model-derived tibiofemoral kinematics. J Biomech 45:2719–2723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Liu W, Nigg BM (2000) A mechanical model to determine the influence of masses and mass distribution on the impact force during running. J Biomech 33:219–224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Lu TW, O’Connor JJ (1999) Bone position estimation from skin marker coordinates using global optimization with joint constraints. J Biomech 32:129–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Luinge HJ, Veltink PH, Baten CTM (2007) Ambulatory measurement of arm orientation. J Biomech 40:78–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Masum MA, Pickering MR, Lambert AJ, Scarvell JM, Smith PN (2016) Multi-slice ultrasound image calibration of an intelligent skin-marker for soft tissue artefact compensation. J Biomech. Scholar
  71. McGinnis RS, Perkins NC (2013) Inertial sensor based method for identifying spherical joint center of rotation. J Biomech 46:2546–2549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Melhem E, Assi A, El Rachkidi R, Ghanem I (2016) EOS® biplanar X-ray imaging: concept, developments, benefits, and limitations. J Child Orthop 10:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Pain MTG, Challis JH (2001) High resolution determination of body segment inertial parameters and their variation due to soft tissue motion. J Appl Biomech 17:326–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Paul JP (1992) Terminology and units. Deliverable n. 4, C.E.C. Program AIM, Project A-2002, CAMARC-IIGoogle Scholar
  75. Piazza SJ, Erdemir A, Okita N, Cavanagh PR (2004) Assessment of the functional method of hip joint center location to reduced range of hip motion. J Biomech 37:349–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Picerno P, Cereatti A, Cappozzo A (2008) Joint kinematics estimate using wearable inertial and magnetic sensing modules. Gait Posture 28:588–595CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Pierrynowski MR, Ball KA (2009) Oppugning the assumptions of spatial averaging of segment and joint orientations. J Biomech 42:375–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Quijano S, Serrurier A, Aubert B, Laporte S, Thoreux P, Skalli W (2013) Three-dimensional reconstruction of the lower limb from biplanar calibrated radiographs. Med Eng Phys 35:1703–1712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rabuffetti M, Ferrarin M, Mazzoleni P, Benvenuti F, Pedotti A (2003) Optimised procedure for the calibration of the force platform location. Gait Posture 17:75–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Reinbolt JA, Schutte JF, Fregly BJ, Koh B, Haftka RT, George AD, Mitchell KH (2005) Determination of patient-specific multi-joint kinematic models through two-level optimization. J Biomech 38:621–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Richard V, Lamberto G, Lu TW, Cappozzo A, Dumas R (2016) Knees kinematics estimation using multi-body optimisation embedding a knee joint stiffness matrix: a feasibility study. PLoS ONE. Scholar
  82. Riddick RC, Kuo AD (2016) Soft tissues store and return mechanical energy in human running. J Biomech 49:436–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Scheys L, Desloovere K, Spaepen A, Suetens P, Jonkers I (2011) Calculating gait kinematics using MR-based kinematic models. Gait Posture 33:158–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Seel T, Schauer T, Raisch J (2012) Joint axis and position estimation from inertial measurement data by exploiting kinematic constraints. In: Proceedings of IEEE international conference on control applications, Dubrovnik, Croatia, pp 45–49Google Scholar
  85. Seidel GK, Marchinda DM, Dijkers M, Soutas-Little RW (1995) Hip joint center location from palpable bony landmarks – a cadaver study. J Biomech 28:995–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Sheehan FT (2010) The instantaneous helical axis of the subtalar and talocrural joints: a non-invasive in vivo dynamic study. J Foot Ankle Res 3:13. Scholar
  87. Sholukha V, Van Sint JS, Snoeck O, Salvia P, Moiseev F, Rooze M (2009) Prediction of joint center location by customizable multiple regressions: application to clavicle, scapula and humerus. J Biomech 42:319–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Shuster MD (1993) A survey of attitude representations. J Astronaut Sci 41:439–517MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  89. Soderkvist I, Wedin PA (1993) Determining the movements of the skeleton using well-configured markers. J Biomech 26:1473–1477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Stagni R, Leardini A, Cappozzo A, Benedetti MG, Cappello A (2000) Effects of hip joint centre mislocation on gait analysis results. J Biomech 33:1479–1487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Van Sint JS, Hilal I, Salvia P, Sholukha V, Poulet P, Kirokoya I, Rooze M (2003) Data representation for joint kinematics simulation of the lower limb within an educational context. Med Eng Phys 25:213–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Wakeling JM, Nigg BM (2001) Soft-tissue vibrations in the quadriceps measured with skin mounted transducers. J Biomech 34:539–543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Woltring HJ (1994) 3-D attitude representation of human joints, a standardisation proposal. J Biomech 27:1399–1414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Wu G, Cavanagh PR (1995) ISB recommendations for standardization in the reporting of kinematic data. J Biomech 28:1257–1261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Wu G, Siegler S, Allard P, Kirtley C, Leardini A, Rosenbaum D, Whittle M, D’Lima DD, Cristofolini L, Witte H, Schmid O, Stokes I (2002) ISB recommendation on definitions of joint coordinate system of various joints for the reporting of human joint motion – part I, ankle, hip, and spine. J Biomech 35:543–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Yin L, Chen K, Guo L, Cheng L, Wang F, Yang L (2015) Identifying the functional flexion-extension axis of the knee: an in-vivo kinematics study. PLoS ONE 10:e0128877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Zelik KE, Kuo AD (2010) Human walking isn’t all hard work: evidence of soft tissue contributions to energy dissipation and return. J Exp Biol 213:4257–4264CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentina Camomilla
    • 1
  • Aurelio Cappozzo
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Vannozzi
    • 2
  1. 1.Interuniversity Centre of Bioengineering of the Human Neuromusculoskeletal System, Department of Movement, Human and Health SciencesUniversity of Rome “Foro Italico”RomeItaly
  2. 2.Interuniversity Centre of Bioengineering of the Human Neuromusculoskeletal System, Department of MovementHuman and Health Sciences, University of Rome Foro ItalicoRomeItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • William Scott Selbie
    • 1
  1. 1.Has-Motion Inc.KingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations