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A Synchronised Azure Kinect-based tracking system for the biomechanical Evaluation of Labour (SKEL)

Overview

Childbirth is a multifactorial, complex procedure that involves a dynamic dyadic interaction between the mother and the baby. Complications of labour and delivery can pose life-threatening situations to both mother and child. Each year, complications from pregnancy and childbirth result in about 295,000 maternal deaths, while 1.2 million babies die during labour. In addition, it is reported that following delivery, 7 million women have serious long-term problems and 50 million have negative health outcomes. Thus, it is more than vital to gain a deeper understanding of childbirth and promote maternal and neonatal health and wellbeing.

Childbirth is a natural process which depends on biomechanical changes and procedures, such as maternal and/or baby’s movements and positions. However, little is known about the mechanics of labour. Existing body tracking, and movement analysis techniques are either invasive or cannot be used during labour due to several limitations. Therefore, a method that can record maternal movements, the effect of the adjusted anatomical structures of a parturient woman, as well as provide some initial insights on how specific birth positions may contribute to certain physiological outcomes, is needed.

SKEL is a highly innovative and transdisciplinary project, that uses gaming-based technologies and techniques, to track, record and analyse human body movements during labour and produce biomechanical data (linear and angular quantities) from up to 32 key joints. SKEL can track and record more multiple users simultaneously in a 3D environment in a completely non-invasive, non-contact, and non-intrusive way, while producing non-identifiable outputs ensuring participants privacy.

Example of biomechanical data (linear and angular quantities) as extracted from the 3D skeleton

Biomechanical data

Example of biomechanical data (linear and angular quantities) as extracted from the 3D skeleton.

Woman in a labouring position: 3D human pose generated by data obtained from depth-camera video sequences from the motion capture platform consisting of three Azure DK units and a commercially available software.

Woman in a labouring position

3D human pose generated by data obtained from depth-camera video sequences from the motion capture platform consisting of three Azure DK units and a commercially available software.