Researchers have been using 3D technology from the film industry to analyze the everyday movements of stroke patients. The results indicate that computerized motion analysis increases knowledge of how stroke patients can improve their ability to move through rehabilitation.

Motion-capture technology was used to film everyday movements among roughly 100 people, both healthy people and people who suffered a stroke. The 3D animations have provided a completely new level of detail in terms of mobility in stroke patients – knowledge that can help patients achieve more effective rehabilitation.

Test subjects were equipped with small, round reflex balls on their arm, trunk, and head, and were then instructed to drink water out of a glass. The motion is documented by high-speed cameras whose infrared light is reflected by the balls and sent back to the computer, where they create a 3D animated image in the form of a stick figure.

3D animation measured the joint angle, speed, and smoothness of the arm motion, as well as which compensating motion patterns the stroke patient is using. This provided a measurement for the motion that can be compared with an optimal arm motion in a healthy person.