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Ohio State Think Tank Taps OptiTrack Motion Capture Technology for Spinal Research

Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute opens new state-of-the-art facility featuring an expanded motion capture volume outfitted with 36 OptiTrack Prime 41 cameras and OptiTrack’s Motive software.

CORVALLIS, OR -- The Spine Research Institute (SRI) at Ohio State University (OSU) aims to prevent, evaluate and treat spinal disorders through collaborative research, education and technology development. Led by research pioneer and OSU professor Dr. William Marras, the world-class entity recently relocated its core research engine, known as the Biodynamics Laboratory, to a state-of-the-art facility equipped with advanced technology. Established by Dr. Marras in 1982, the lab now sits in a new 10,000 square foot space and features an expanded motion capture volume outfitted with 36 OptiTrack Prime 41 cameras and OptiTrack’s Motive software.

“Optical motion tracking is an important tool for helping the SRI achieve its mission of improving the way we prevent, evaluate, and treat spine disorders,” explained SRI Research Engineer Jon Dufour. “System dynamics significantly influence forces generated in the spine and other parts of the body; accurately measuring an individual’s kinematics is a critical first step to understanding what forces they are exposed to and determining whether they will be at risk for injury.”

Founded in 2012, the SRI unites experts from OSU’s College of Engineering and College of Medicine with the purpose of reducing the physical, emotional and financial suffering imposed by back pain. The SRI’s core approach focuses on the identification of specific disorder causal pathways. Once these pathways are discovered, the SRI can use gained knowledge to help prevent similar injuries from occurring, improve patient health through safer practices and return healed employees to work.

One of the tools the SRI uses to help discover disorder causal pathways is an advanced, biologically driven dynamic modeling platform. Applications served by this platform range from relatively simple, such as a patented 15-minute video game for patients that can help doctors quantify spine impairment, to complex, like virtual surgery simulation before implementing the procedure in real life. Nearly all of the applications served by the modeling platform use some form of motion capture, and most frequently the SRI employs an OptiTrack system.

“The SRI covers a lot of ground across several industries and applications, and we are often using technologies and software packages in unique ways. Motive’s flexibility as well as its ability to communicate and interface with external software packages such as Matlab allow us to capture the various data required; OptiTrack’s customer support is also integral to the process,” added Dufour. 

Another important tenet of the SRI is an emphasis on Research-Into-Practice. Beyond lab studies, the SRI strives to ensure that the technologies and services it has developed reach the people and companies they are designed to benefit. In the SRI’s ergonomics division, known as SRI-Ergo, Certified Professional Ergonomists (CPE) help industry partners drastically decrease injury rates, which returns employees to the workforce and ultimately strengthens a company’s bottom line.  

Noted Dufour, “Our industry partners generally need cost-effective solutions, and they need them relatively quickly. The flexibility of our OptiTrack systems has allowed us to fully integrate motion capture into our models that are designed to serve this market, meaning we can deliver game-changing solutions faster and at a lower cost.”

Source: OptiTrack