Medical Tech

How an AI Tool Can Treat Serious Motor Dysfunction


How an AI Tool Can Treat Serious Motor Dysfunction

Chances are, you’re already familiar with motion capture in an entertainment role, but did you know that it also has a place in medicine? Instead of actors using dots and cameras to move around a green screen, medical motion capture AI records patients with movement dysfunctions.

The system captures how a person moves, and the doctors can then analyze the motions to determine exactly where the issues are. Once the problem is identified, it’s easier to develop the appropriate, personalized treatment for that person.

Factors that are included in the examination include:

Walking speed


Knee flexion angle (at maximum extension)

Gait Deviation Index

A comprehensive metric of gait impairment

All this information needs to be examined and calculated against regular models to determine how the neurological disease affects the patient. It’s possible to detect even very early symptoms of progressive diseases and then continue to monitor.


Who Can Benefit From Motion Capture AI

Anyone who has a disease that impairs their movement and function can be examined with motion capture systems. More common issues analyzed with motion capture AI include muscular dystrophy, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis.


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Why Motion Capture Is Failing

Unfortunately, there are only a few of the high-end motion capture systems available in the top medical facilities because they are costly and require a team of highly trained experts to use them. This places the possibility of using motion capture out of reach for all but a handful of people.

In addition, there are some serious problems with how the information is captured. First, you need to be in a laboratory setting, affecting and changing how most people act and walk. Not only is there additional stress and pressure, but it’s not a natural environment. The lab setting shows how someone walks on a flat floor but fails to capture how they handle grass, carpet, or even a concrete sidewalk.

With machine learning, it’s possible to move forward with examining more patients in a wider variety of settings. The fact that you can now find affordable wearable sensors means there are so many more options available to those doctors interested in scanning their patients as they move around. Many of the sensors will work with smartphones, which allows the entire process to remain quite affordable and within reach of nearly everyone.

Another issue with the current method is that it takes a very long time to implement. Not only do you have to set everything up and capture the motion, a human being then needs to look over the images and determine what each movement means and measure all the different movements, gait length, etc.


How Motion Capture AI Helps Treat Motor Dysfunction

Before doctors can treat neurological or musculoskeletal disease and the movement impairment it causes, they need to assess the quality of movement. Watching how someone walks or bends their joints can tell a doctor quite a bit about the disease and its effects on that particular person.

With the AI models trained to detect diseases and check for gait parameters, any doctor can use their phone’s video camera to capture motion and analyze it. You no longer require an expert to sit down and view the information, as the AI handles that side of things and provides information that the healthcare provider can then use to develop a treatment plan.

Later, the doctor can repeat the motion capture to see how things have improved and got a better idea of the person’s movement. While the information captured by a phone system will not be 100% accurate, it is sufficiently useful to help create a treatment plan for the patient. When compared to the possibility of having no information whatsoever, this is certainly preferable.

Thanks to rapid AI and immediate recording, the phone method can be done rather rapidly, providing results within a minute. It would even be possible for parents to take videos of their child and then send them to the doctor, which would allow the doctor to track the disease progression in cases where the disease could be progressive or ongoing, such as cerebral palsy.


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The Future of Motion Capture AI

At the moment, the option for motion capture AI is not being used everywhere. However, it is currently available for free to any clinician who wishes to use it, as is the video dataset is used to check gait and symmetry. The main issue is ensuring the baseline video is similar in all cases. For example, the angle must be the same or very similar, clothing should be similar, and the application uses only videos recorded from the side. They do not work with videos from the front or rear, which may be challenging.

Scientists are hopeful that there will be more options for AI analysis soon. They anticipate that the app will soon be able to record from all angles and analyze everything accurately. As the app is greatly improved, you can expect to see regular updates and improve the data produced by the AI.

Over time, the higher-end versions of medical motion capture will likely become less necessary. It’s a position that could potentially disappear over time, with the use of AI motion capture taking over everything in the field. Only the most accurate results will be acquired by these more expensive options and therefore may be required when a patient requires a more accurate analysis of their motion.

AI has a huge impact on the world, and now it is also affecting how clinicians treat mobility issues.


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