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An assessment of fundamental movement skills using the Kinect

Objective measurement of children's Fundamental Movement Skills using an optical sensor camera

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The aim of this research is to obtain objective population level prevalence estimates of 7 to 11 year old children’s movement proficiency using the Microsoft Kinect Sensor. The Kinect Sensor is an off-the-shelf consumer product that holds the potential to radically alter the assessment and monitoring of children’s movement in a rapid and valid way. To achieve our goal we propose to introduce a machine learning approach to train a computer with data captured by the Kinect Sensor to objectively assess four fundamental movement skills (FMS); overarm throw, kick, vertical jump and catching that represent core locomotion and object control proficiency.

We intend to develop a software tool that can interpret movement from video captured by the Kinect Sensor while children perform four FMS. The Kinect Sensor currently costs $150 and can be purchased at local department stores. Even the new Kinect sensor scheduled for release in 2014 will cost approximately $500. The innovation behind the Kinect hinges on advances in skeletal tracking. In computer generated skeletal tracking, a human body is denoted by a number of joints representing body parts, such as the head, neck, shoulders, and arms, each of which is further characterised by its 3D coordinates. The Kinect Sensor captures the positions of 20 body joints every 30 seconds in three-dimensional space, providing an accurate representation of the major body segments. The Kinect Sensor’s skeletal tracking ability is designed to work for every person on the planet, in every household, without any calibration.

The results of this research will produce a rigorously developed and validated objective measurement tool for determining children’s movement proficiency using off-the-shelf hardware and tailored software. The potential to add to the FMS database and assess other skills will be built into the system to allow for other age and population groups.

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