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Estimating Body Segment Parameters from Three-dimensional Human Body Scans

Date created
Body segment parameters are inputs for a range of applications. Participant-specific estimates of body segment parameters are desirable as this requires fewer prior assumptions and can reduce outcome measurement errors. Commonly used methods for estimating participant-specific body segment parameters are either expensive and out of reach (medical imaging), have many underlying assumptions (geometrical modelling) or are based on a specific subset of a population (regression models). Our objective was to develop a participant-specific 3D scanning and body segmentation method that estimates body segment parameters without any assumptions about the geometry of the body, ethnic background, and gender, is low-cost, fast, and can be readily available. Using a Microsoft Kinect Version 2 camera, we developed a 3D surface scanning protocol that enabled the estimation of participant-specific body segment parameters. To evaluate our system, we performed repeated 3D scans of 21 healthy participants (10 male, 11 female). We used open source tools to segment each body scan into 16 segments (head, torso, abdomen, pelvis, left and right hand, forearm, upper arm, foot, shank and thigh) and wrote custom software to estimate each segment's mass, mass moment of inertia in the three principal orthogonal axes relevant to the center of the segment, longitudinal length, and center of mass. We compared our body segment parameter estimates to those obtained using two comparison methods and found that our system was consistent in estimating total body volume between repeated scans (male p = 0.1194, female p = 0.2240), estimated total body mass without significant differences when compared to our comparison method and a medical scale (male p = 0.8529, female p = 0.6339), and generated consistent and comparable estimates across a range of the body segment parameters of interest. Our work here outlines and provides the code for an inexpensive 3D surface scanning method for estimating a range of participant-specific body segment parameters.
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