The Q Lab is a mobile biomechanics laboratory that performs scientific research outside the four walls of a standard motion capture laboratory. We use a wide range of motion and force measurement tools to quantify an athlete's movement quality, performance and workload in a competitive context.
The Q Lab's research theme is focused on movement quality because athletic performance and injury risk are on the opposite ends of a movement quality continuum. Low movement quality and poor performance on one side of the movement quality continuum is related to high injury risk, whereas high movement quality and superior performance is related to low injury risk on the other side.
Movement quality is often replaced in training and conditioning programs with the basic components of fitness such as strength, agility, endurance, power and speed. However, focusing soley on measures of athleticism during training and conditioning can lead to a "performance paradox," whereby an individual can demonstrate extreme levels of athleticism but still display significant movement dysfunctions that influence injury risk. This concept is demonstrated as an iceberg effect where performance, represented by the tip of the iceberg, is built upon movement quality, the functional determinants of movement, hidden beneath the water line.
The RMCSR engages in scientific research that measures, evaluates and improves movement quality because performance and injury risk are on the opposite ends of a movement quality continuum. Low movement quality and poor performance on one side of the continuum is related to high injury risk, whereas high movement quality and superior performance is related to low injury risk on the other side. This core perspective is highlighted throughout the RMCSR's four main areas of research and development.
1) Movement Science. Movement is complex. Basic movement science research is the foundation of determining the factors that influence body segment motions and how these motions are coordinated to maximize movement performance and safety.
2) Movement Technology. Movement is quantifiable. The design and development of accurate, field-based motion capture devices or systems are needed to rapidly evaluate movement quality during training, practice or competition.
3) Training and Evaluation. Movement can always be improved. Movement science research provides a road map for creating actionable insights with novel training programs. Measuring movement quality before and after training affords the opportunity to determine the effectiveness of the program and the necessary, client-specific training modifications.
4) Sports Medicine. Injuries happen. The most common injury risk factor is a previous injury. This somewhat obvious concept supports the notion that movement quality is reduced after an injury. The research areas above are extended to patient populations to ultimately maximize performance and safety when returning to competition, exercise or activities of daily life.
Custom markerless motion capture system to measure three-dimensional joint motions.
(Picture, joint locations (red dots), body segments (yellow lines))
Low profile, flexible and waterproof inertial measurement units (IMU) are attached to the body with adhesive to measure motion without the need for video cameras.
(Picture, MC10 Biostamp IMU)
Wireless and portable force measuring insoles are used to capture ground reaction force and the point of force application.
(Picture, Moticon pressure insole)
Miniature global positioning system (GPS) sensor is used to identify an individual's position and the change in position to track their outdoor motion path.
(Picture, GPS sensor)
Wireless surface electrodes are placed over muscles to provide a relative measure of electromyographic (EMG) activation.
(Picture, Delsys EMG electrode)