Feasibility of using a magnetic tracking device for measuring carpal kinematics

Jun Ichi Ishikawa, Glen L. Niebur, Shigeharu Uchiyama, Ronald L. Linscheid, Akio Minami, Kiyoshi Kaneda, An Kai-Nan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


While several different methods have been used to measure carpal kinematics, biplanar radiography is generally considered to be the most accurate and popular one. However, biplanar radiography is tedious and so only pseudo-dynamic kinematics can be measured. Recently, magnetic tracking system has been developed for the measurement of joint kinematics which is versatile and easy to use and so the possibility of measuring motions dynamically. In this study, the capability of a magnetic tracking device to accurately measure carpal kinematics was investigated by comparing it with biplanar radiography. The kinematics of the third metacarpal, scaphoid and lunate in five fresh cadaveric specimens were measured using both methods as the wrists were placed in eight positions. The finite screw rotation of each bone with respect to the distal radius during selecting the seven wrist motions was calculated for both measuring techniques and compared. In general, the kinematics for all three bones measured by using either magnetic tracking device or biplanar radiography was identical and showed no statistical difference. The averaged differences ranged from 0.0 to 2.0. These differences were due to the potential effect of the weight of the sensors and the interference of the attaching rod to the surrounding tissue. It is concluded that the application of the magnetic tracking device to carpal kinematics is warranted, if proper technical procedures as suggested are followed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1186
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - 1997


  • Accuracy
  • Biplanar radiography
  • Kinematics
  • Magnetic tracking
  • Wrist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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