Predicting athlete ground reaction forces and moments from motion capture

William R. Johnson, Ajmal Mian, Cyril J. Donnelly, David Lloyd, Jacqueline Alderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


An understanding of athlete ground reaction forces and moments (GRF/Ms) facilitates the biomechanist’s downstream calculation of net joint forces and moments, and associated injury risk. Historically, force platforms used to collect kinetic data are housed within laboratory settings and are not suitable for field-based installation. Given that Newton’s Second Law clearly describes the relationship between a body’s mass, acceleration, and resultant force, is it possible that marker-based motion capture can represent these parameters sufficiently enough to estimate GRF/Ms, and thereby minimize our reliance on surface embedded force platforms? Specifically, can we successfully use partial least squares (PLS) regression to learn the relationship between motion capture and GRF/Ms data? In total, we analyzed 11 PLS methods and achieved average correlation coefficients of 0.9804 for GRFs and 0.9143 for GRMs. Our results demonstrate the feasibility of predicting accurate GRF/Ms from raw motion capture trajectories in real-time, overcoming what has been a significant barrier to non-invasive collection of such data. In applied biomechanics research, this outcome has the potential to revolutionize athlete performance enhancement and injury prevention. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1781-1792
Number of pages12
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


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