Assessing the moving human

Document Type



School of Communications and Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia


Presented at the The Social Life of Big Data 2015 symposium, Perth Zoo Convention Centre, Perth, Western Australia, 2nd June, 2015.


Human movement is a highly complex biological phenomenon. Expert human movement is revered in society through sporting and artistic pursuits, whereas clinical conditions affecting human movement can severely limit functions of daily living. As such, the assessment of human movement has attracted interest for centuries and continues to be the focus of modern research spanning the sciences and humanities. Technological advances have greatly contributed to the progression of human movement assessment. These advances include the work of the early 19thcentury pioneers of videography through to modern 3D motion capture and computational modelling. Modern methods can comprehensively quantify human movement and as such, the complexity of human movement is now reflected by the ‘big data’ now produced in human movement analyses. Thousands of data points can be produced which depict human movement across just a fraction of a section. Therefore extracting and representing meaningful information from these large data sets is a difficult task for modern human movement researchers. This presentation will provide a short history of human movement assessment outlining how the discipline has developed into the ‘big data’ field it is today and the challenges associated with modern data analyses.

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