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A comparative study of in-field motion capture approaches for body kinematics measurement in construction

  • JoonOh Seo (a1), Abdullatif Alwasel (a2), SangHyun Lee (a3), Eihab M. Abdel-Rahman (a2) and Carl Haas (a4)...

Due to physically demanding tasks in construction, workers are exposed to significant safety and health risks. Measuring and evaluating body kinematics while performing tasks helps to identify the fundamental causes of excessive physical demands, enabling practitioners to implement appropriate interventions to reduce them. Recently, non-invasive or minimally invasive motion capture approaches such as vision-based motion capture systems and angular measurement sensors have emerged, which can be used for in-field kinematics measurements, minimally interfering with on-going work. Given that these approaches have pros and cons for kinematic measurement due to adopted sensors and algorithms, an in-depth understanding of the performance of each approach will support better decisions for their adoption in construction. With this background, the authors evaluate the performance of vision-based (RGB-D sensor-, stereovision camera-, and multiple camera-based) and an angular measurement sensor-based (i.e., an optical encoder) approach to measure body angles through experimental testing. Specifically, measured body angles from these approaches were compared with the ones obtained from a marker-based motion capture system that has less than 0.1 mm of errors. The results showed that vision-based approaches have about 5–10 degrees of error in body angles, while an angular measurement sensor-based approach measured body angles with about 3 degrees of error during diverse tasks. The results indicate that, in general, these approaches can be applicable for diverse ergonomic methods to identify potential safety and health risks, such as rough postural assessment, time and motion study or trajectory analysis where some errors in motion data would not significantly sacrifice their reliability. Combined with relatively accurate angular measurement sensors, vision-based motion capture approaches also have great potential to enable us to perform in-depth physical demand analysis such as biomechanical analysis that requires full-body motion data, even though further improvement of accuracy is necessary. Additionally, understanding of body kinematics of workers would enable ergonomic mechanical design for automated machines and assistive robots that helps to reduce physical demands while supporting workers' capabilities.

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