Development, evaluation and application of a novel markerless motion analysis system to understand push-start technique in elite skeleton athletes

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Abstract

This study describes the development, evaluation and application of a computer vision and deep learning system capable of capturing sprinting and skeleton push start step characteristics and mass centre velocities (sled and athlete). Movement data were captured concurrently by a marker-based motion capture system and a custom markerless system. High levels of agreement were found between systems, particularly for spatial based variables (step length error 0.001 ± 0.012 m) while errors for temporal variables (ground contact time and flight time) were on average within ± 1.5 frames of the criterion measures. Comparisons of sprinting and pushing revealed decreased mass centre velocities as a result of pushing the sled but step characteristics were comparable to sprinting when aligned as a function of step velocity. There were large asymmetries between the inside and outside leg during pushing (e.g. 0.22 m mean step length asymmetry) which were not present during sprinting (0.01 m step length asymmetry). The observed asymmetries suggested that force production capabilities during ground contact were compromised for the outside leg. The computer vision based methods tested in this research provide a viable alternative to marker-based motion capture systems. Furthermore, they can be deployed into challenging, real world environments to non-invasively capture data where traditional approaches are infeasible.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0259624
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021

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