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Movement analysis

The movement laboratory allows for a deeper analysis of the movement and a better understanding of motor disorders.

Research, develop and consulting in the movement laboratory

In our movement laboratory, we analyse movement sequences and muscle activities using state-of-the-art technology to enable us to precisely assess problems such as motion asymmetries and incorrect loading. At the same time, we are increasing our understanding of how therapeutic aids and interventions such as orthotics, shoes, exoskeletons and targeted training affect movement and health. Our team members have expert knowledge of physiotherapy and motion analysis. Together with our partners, we are closing the gap between development and application as we know both the concerns of patients and the needs of medical professionals, who apply new developments so that our clinical partners, researchers, product developers from the medtech industry – and ultimately the patients – can benefit.

Our core competencies: 3D motion analysis and electromyography

In 3D motion analysis, we place reflective markers on specific points on the body, which are recorded by infrared cameras in the room to obtain 3D movement data from biomechanical models. In addition, we can perform electromyography measurements using electrodes attached to the skin.  In this way, we:

  • Calculate joint angles: from the positions of the individual markers we calculate the joint position and thus assess the movement sequence.
  • Measure forces: the magnitude and direction of the forces acting on the body are assessed by force measuring plates.
  • Determine moments: the combination of movement and force measurements makes it possible to determine the moments of the forces on the joints and thus recognise stress peaks and overloads during a movement process.
  • Assess muscle activity: we observe how muscle tension develops during a movement process and how the muscle responds to the forces acting on the body.

Our equipment

  • Force measuring plates and 12 infrared cameras for 3D motion analysis
  • Wireless 16-channel surface electromyography for measuring muscle activity
  • 3D inertial measurement systems for mobile motion analysis
  • Acceleration sensors
  • Mobile carpet for gait analysis
  • Portable devices for capturing physical activity in everyday life

Reference projects

We implement various projects in collaboration with partners from research, clinics and industry. A selection:

XoSoft – adaptable soft-exoskeleton

Development of a soft, adaptive exoskeleton for people with walking impairments. Project partners: Institute for Mechatronic Systems ZHAW, four other European research groups in the areas of robotics, bioengineering, ambient intelligence and design as well as four companies and clinical partners from rehabilitation technology, geriatrics and prosthetics.

“Valedo Movement Lab” portable movement laboratory

Development and validation of “Valedo Movement Lab", a portable system with motion and acceleration sensors and a wireless PC interface with software to quantify the quality of movement in the lumbar spine.

Project partners: Hocoma AG.




Insoles with sensorimotor elements to activate the pelvic floor after birth

The aim of this feasibility study is to identify the external conditions which activate the pelvic floor muscles when walking or standing. On the basis of this information, an insole is developed in a follow-up project, which, in combination with a soft-elastic shoe, has a training effect on the pelvic floor musculature and can therefore serve as a therapy approach for urinary incontinence in postnatal women.

Dynamic office chair

Anyone who works statically while sitting is more likely to suffer from frequent back pain. An office chair developed at ZHAW is intended to relieve the back thanks to its movable seat, thus preventing back pain.

Project partners: Institute of Mechanical Systems ZHAW, Rotavis AG, Hocoma AG.

Movement Laboratory team members