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Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik

Joint Journal of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering in VDE and the Austrian and Swiss Societies for Biomedical Engineering and the German Society of Biomaterials

Editor-in-Chief: Dössel, Olaf

Editorial Board: Augat, Peter / Habibović, Pamela / Haueisen, Jens / Jahnen-Dechent, Wilhelm / Jockenhoevel, Stefan / Knaup-Gregori, Petra / Lenarz, Thomas / Leonhardt, Steffen / Plank, Gernot / Radermacher, Klaus M. / Schkommodau, Erik / Stieglitz, Thomas / Boenick, Ulrich / Jaramaz, Branislav / Kraft, Marc / Lenthe, Harry / Lo, Benny / Mainardi, Luca / Micera, Silvestro / Penzel, Thomas / Robitzki, Andrea A. / Schaeffter, Tobias / Snedeker, Jess G. / Sörnmo, Leif / Sugano, Nobuhiko / Werner, Jürgen /

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.096
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.492

CiteScore 2017: 0.48

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Volume 62, Issue 3


Volume 57 (2012)

Feasibility study of using a Microsoft Kinect for virtual coaching of wheelchair transfer techniques

Seonhong Hwang
  • Department of Physical Therapy, Hoseo University, 20 Hoseo-ro 79 beon-gil, Baebang-eup, Asan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, 31499, South Korea
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Chung-Ying Tsai
  • Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Alicia M. Koontz
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 6425 Penn Ave, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2016-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt-2015-0206


The purpose of this study was to test the concurrent validity and test-retest reliability of the Kinect skeleton tracking algorithm for measurement of trunk, shoulder, and elbow joint angle measurement during a wheelchair transfer task. Eight wheelchair users were recruited for this study. Joint positions were recorded simultaneously by the Kinect and Vicon motion capture systems while subjects transferred from their wheelchairs to a level bench. Shoulder, elbow, and trunk angles recorded with the Kinect system followed a similar trajectory as the angles recorded with the Vicon system with correlation coefficients that are larger than 0.71 on both sides (leading arm and trailing arm). The root mean square errors (RMSEs) ranged from 5.18 to 22.46 for the shoulder, elbow, and trunk angles. The 95% limits of agreement (LOA) for the discrepancy between the two systems exceeded the clinical significant level of 5°. For the trunk, shoulder, and elbow angles, the Kinect had very good relative reliability for the measurement of sagittal, frontal and horizontal trunk angles, as indicated by the high intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values (>0.90). Small standard error of the measure (SEM) values, indicating good absolute reliability, were observed for all joints except for the leading arm’s shoulder joint. Relatively large minimal detectable changes (MDCs) were observed in all joint angles. The Kinect motion tracking has promising performance levels for some upper limb joints. However, more accurate measurement of the joint angles may be required. Therefore, understanding the limitations in precision and accuracy of Kinect is imperative before utilization of Kinect.

Keywords: concurrent validity; joint angle; Kinect; test-retest reliability; wheelchair transfer


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About the article

Corresponding author: Alicia M. Koontz, PhD, RET, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 6425 Penn Ave, Suite 400, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, USA, Phone: +412-822-3700, Fax: +412-822-3699

Received: 2015-11-03

Accepted: 2016-05-23

Published Online: 2016-06-22

Published in Print: 2017-05-24

Funding Source: National Science Foundation

Award identifier / Grant number: EEC 0552351

This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs (A4489R) and the National Science Foundation, Project EEC 0552351. The contents of this paper do not represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interests regarding the publication of this article.

Citation Information: Biomedical Engineering / Biomedizinische Technik, Volume 62, Issue 3, Pages 307–313, ISSN (Online) 1862-278X, ISSN (Print) 0013-5585, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bmt-2015-0206.

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