Queensland Motion Analysis Centre

The Queensland Motion Analysis Centre (QMAC), based at RBWH,  is working towards using motion analysis to identify the cause of medical problems in burns patients, premature babies and patients with neurological and movement disorders.

Motion analysis is currently only being used in Queensland to help children but Health Research Fellow Dr Robyn Grote from QMAC aims to bring three-dimensional animation technology to all patients across their lifespan.

“The way a patient moves or walks can often reveal their problems to clinicians. But the human eye can only see two-dimensionally. Motion analysis enables a three-dimensional digital model to be created to help pinpoint the root cause.” Dr Grote said.

The team of researchers at QMAC use markers, similar to reflective markers in sports shoes, along with cameras that send out strobe light to construct a model of the human body.  Sensors placed on the muscles, arms and legs evaluate muscle activity and force plates measure anterior and media lateral forces.

Currently, there is no motion analysis of children available in Queensland until they are four years old.  QMAC hopes to develop the first three-dimensional model of a baby internationally.

“In premature babies, there could be a problem early, but there is no facility to identify that at the moment and if they have to wait until they are four it could be too late. If we can identify the problem and teach physio to the mum or other interventions they will do better early – treatment is critical in the early stages.”

Dr Grote said they would also be able to help burns patients recover quicker.

“We need to understand the burns patients’ pathophysiology,” she said.  “No matter where the burn is you get altered gait so it could be a programming problem.”

The benefits of motion analysis to patients of all kinds – accident victims, stroke patients, multiple sclerosis, amputees, haematology, the elderly – are endless.

It will cost around $330,000 to establish the QMAC lab at RWBH. Robert Bird Group is a proud supporter of QMAC and has pledged to sponsor the lab for the next four years. However, further funding is required.