Toward accurate clinical spasticity assessment: validation of movement speed and joint angle assessments using smartphones and camera tracking Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To investigate whether a three-dimensional (3-D) camera (Microsoft Kinect) and a smartphone can be used to accurately quantify the joint angular velocity and range of motion (ROM) compared to a criterion-standard 3-D motion analysis system during a lower limb spasticity assessment. DESIGN:Observational, criterion-standard comparison study. SETTING:Large rehabilitation center. PARTICIPANTS:A convenience sample of 35 controls, 35 patients with a neurologic condition, and 34 rehabilitation professionals (physiotherapists and rehabilitation doctors) participated (N=104). INTERVENTIONS:Not applicable. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:The Modified Tardieu Scale was used to assess spasticity of the quadriceps, hamstrings, soleus, and gastrocnemius. Data for each trial were collected concurrently using the criterion-standard Optitrack 3-D motion analysis (3DMA) system, Microsoft Kinect, and a smartphone. Each healthy control participant was assessed by 1 health professional and each patient with a neurological condition was assessed by 3 health professionals. Spearman correlation coefficient and intraclass correlation coefficient with 95% confidence intervals were used to report the strength of the relationships investigated. RESULTS:The smartphone and Microsoft Kinect demonstrated excellent concurrent validity with the 3DMA system. Overall, 74.8% of the relationships investigated demonstrated a very strong (≥0.80) correlation across all of the testing parameters. The Microsoft Kinect was superior to the smartphone for measuring joint start and end angle, the smartphone was superior for measuring joint angular velocity, and the 2 systems were comparable for measuring total joint ROM. CONCLUSIONS:These findings provide preliminary evidence that user-friendly, low-cost technologies can be used to facilitate accurate measurements of joint angular velocity and angles during a lower limb spasticity assessment in a clinical setting.

publication date

  • 2019