Background: Investigations into the possible associations between early in life motor function and later in life musculoskeletal health, will require easily obtainable, valid, and reliable measures of gross motor function and kinematics. Marker-based motion capture systems provide reasonably valid and reliable measures, but recordings are restricted to expensive lab environments. Markerless motion capture systems can provide measures of gross motor function and kinematics outside of lab environments and with minimal interference to the subjects being investigated. It is, however, unknown if these measures are sufficiently valid and reliable in young children to warrant further use. This study aims to document the concurrent validity of a markerless motion capture system: "The Captury."
Method: Measures of gross motor function and lower extremity kinematics from 14 preschool children (age between three and 6 years) performing a series of squats and standing broad jumps were recorded by a marker-based (Vicon) and a markerless (The Captury) motion capture system simultaneously, in December 2015. Measurement differences between the two systems were examined for the following variables: jump length, jump height, hip flexion, knee flexion, ankle dorsi flexion, knee varus, knee to hip separation distance ratio (KHR), ankle to hip separation distance ratio (AHR), frontal plane projection angle, frontal plane knee angle (FPKA), and frontal plane knee deviation (FPKD). Measurement differences between the systems were expressed in terms of root mean square errors, mean differences, limits of agreement (LOA), and intraclass correlations of absolute agreement (ICC (2,1) A) and consistency of agreement.
Results: Measurement differences between the two systems varied depending on the variables. Agreement and reliability ranged from acceptable for e.g. jump height [LOA: - 3.8 cm to 2.2 cm; ICC (2,1) A: 0.91] to unacceptable for knee varus [LOA: - 33° to 19°; ICC (2,1) A: 0.29].
Conclusions: The measurements by the markerless motion capture system "The Captury" cannot be considered interchangeable with the Vicon measures, but our results suggest that this system can produce estimates of jump length, jump height, KHR, AHR, knee flexion, FPKA, and FPKD, with acceptable levels of agreement and reliability. These variables are promising for use in future research but require further investigation of their clinimetric properties.