About this online course


Learn to analyze and interpret human motion capture (MOCAP) data of body segments for more anatomically accurate results and better interventions in clinical and sports applications.

This course is intended for those working with biomechanical movement analysis in sports, rehabilitation, orthopedics or physical therapy, who use kinematics to quantitatively evaluate human motion in 2D or 3D.

Quantitative human movement analysis is fast becoming a standard tool in clinics and sports labs. However, many of the available tools yield generic reporting without clear information on the underlying data processing principles. This can lead to misinterpretations which could result in incorrect advice regarding training, correction, or even surgical intervention.

The knowledge offered in this course will help you give better guidance based on quantitative data analysis.

You will gain insight in, and program, the algorithms behind commonly presented movement data results. You will recognize the pitfalls of the procedures and become aware of misinterpretation of data and be able to differentiate between “real” joint motion and “analysis-induced” joint motion results.

After taking this course you will be able to perform your own analysis and interpret your own results or those produced by others, including automated systems (such as Vicon Plug-in Gait).

Visualization Tools
You will have access to tools to do your own analysis. As shown in this example, you will be able to visualize data with course-specific visualizers.

What You'll Learn:

After completing this course you will be able to: 

  • define and calculate local joint coordinate systems  
  • use and understand different calibration methods and their limitations  
  • translate technical motion descriptions into clinical terminology  
  • perform your own analysis 
  • recognize pitfalls and misinterpretations in kinematic analysis results 

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The interpretation of human 3D motion data is not straightforward. This is because 1) the calculus behind the analysis is complex; 2) there is no good model for the translation of technical calculation results into conventional kinesiological terminology; and 3) the interpretation of data requires a continuous link between results and human anatomy.

This course will take you through the steps of calculating joint and segment motion, making you aware of all the assumptions and model decisions that influence the final results.

You will compare your results with those of others and data from the literature, helping you to understand how to “read” your results and interpret them in the light of the underlying research question: Are your results the representation of an existing joint (mal)function, a calculation error, or simply a reflection of your model assumptions?

After you finish this course you will find it easier to read and critically interpret the literature and to analyze and correctly interpret your own data. When needed, you will have the tools to do your own analysis in Python (used in this course) or MATLAB.

Course Syllabus

The course consists of five modules:

1. The pose of a Rigid Body

  • Pose = position and orientation: the 2D case
  • Using a local coordinate frame in 2D
  • Defining a local coordinate frame in 3D

2. Rotations in 3D

  • Creating rotation matrices in time series from marker trajectories
  • Do Cardanic or Eulerian angular decomposition
  • Understand that sequence matters and why

3. Two body segments in 3D

  • Calculation of joint angles of upper body segments
  • Anatomical (bony) references
  • Easy referencing using a standard position  

4. Recap and Workflow

  • Gait analysis of lower extremity
  • Workflow
  • Motion capture with markers

5. Calibration methods

  • Anatomical, technical, reference position
  • Functional coordinate systems
  • Helical axis


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Do I need to be an expert in Python? 
You will be doing your own programming but will be given specific modules for some of the necessary calculations. Experience in programming is therefore needed, but you do not need to be an expert.

How much detail should I know about human anatomy? 
We expect you to know the terminology and the structure of the extremities at the level of first year sports sciences, physical therapy or medicine. Passive knowledge is sufficient.

Do I have to collect data myself? 
No, we will provide real data collected using an optical-electronic system (Vicon) that you can use to do all the exercises. 



If you successfully complete this course you will earn a professional education certificate and you are eligible to receive 3.0 Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

View sample certificate


This course is primarily geared towards working professionals.


  • Basic knowledge of linear algebra 
  • Knowledge of the human skeletal anatomy 
  • Basic knowledge of programming 


If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please visit our Help & Support page.

Enroll now Enroll with STAP

  • Starts: Oct 02, 2024
  • Fee: €495
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Enrollment open until: Sep 25, 2024
  • Length: 6 weeks
  • Effort: 4 - 6 hours per week

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