Exploratory visualization of animal kinematics using instantaneous helical axes

D. F. Keefe, T. M. O'Brien, D. B. Baier, S. M. Gatesy, E. L. Brainerd, D. H. Laidlaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We present novel visual and interactive techniques for exploratory visualization of animal kinematics using instantaneous helical axes (IHAs). The helical axis has been used in orthopedics, biomechanics, and structural mechanics as a construct for describing rigid body motion. Within biomechanics, recent imaging advances have made possible accurate high-speed measurements of individual bone positions and orientations during experiments. From this high-speed data, instantaneous helical axes of motion may be calculated. We address questions of effective interactive, exploratory visualization of this high-speed 3D motion data. A 3D glyph that encodes all parameters of the IHA in visual form is presented. Interactive controls are used to examine the change in the IHA over time and relate the IHA to anatomical features of interest selected by a user. The techniques developed are applied to a stereoscopic, interactive visualization of the mechanics of pig mastication and assessed by a team of evolutionary biologists who found interactive IHA-based analysis a useful addition to more traditional motion analysis techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-870
Number of pages8
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2008


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