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Everything you need to know about 3D pose estimation: A real-life application

3D pose estimation uses specific points on the human body like the wrists, ankles, and a whole lot more.

3d pose

Are you a physical therapist or biokinetics specialist? Or, are you perhaps a software developer interested in developing application software for a physical therapy practice? What do physical therapy and Artificial Intelligence have to do with each other? 

By answering these questions, let’s consider the following discussion. 

At the outset of this conversation, it is essential to note that the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has forced the world to consider new ways of doing things. This concept is espoused in the phrase, “The New Normal.” 

And, one of the driving forces behind the New Normal is the fact that the only way to control and prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading is through social distancing measures. Consequently, most businesses have had to pivot their operations or workflows online in a very short space of time, leading to an increase in technological advances to facilitate this mainstream virtual adoption. 

What is a 3D pose estimation? 

Therefore, before we look at a real-life use case, let’s consider a simplistic definition of 3D human body pose estimation, for understanding attracts enlightenment. defines 3D pose estimation as the “process of predicting the transformation of an object from a user-defined reference pose, given an image or a 3D scan.” It is used in robotics and computer vision applications when the pose of an object is needed for the “alignment of a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) model, identification, grasping, or manipulation of the object.”

3D pose estimation uses specific points on the human body like the wrists, ankles, eyes, ears, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees to determine the body’s position in space. 

3D pose estimation: A use case

Possibly the best way to describe the form and function of 3D pose estimation is to consider the following scenario. 

Let’s assume that you are a biokinetic specialist who practices in rehabilitation exercises for post-accident and post-surgery conditions. You do not need one-on-one interaction at this stage because your patients can manage their exercises on their own. However, you need to demonstrate the correct way to complete an exercise. And, you need to monitor your patient’s body position and movement to ensure that the exercises are being done correctly for complete healing to take place.

3D pose estimation is an ideal technology to use to monitor movements during exercise. You could interact virtually with your patients, using this technology to demonstrate a particular movement and monitor your patient’s body posture and movement. This photo shows the quintessential nature of using 3D pose estimation to monitor body posture and movements during an exercise.

The red dots and the yellow lines are drawn by the Artificial Intelligence algorithms that are responsible for monitoring movement. In the same way, you could essentially turn the model around when demonstrating the correct way to move during an exercise so that the red dots and yellow lines are visible on your body.

Final thoughts 

The development in Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, and robotics is still in its infancy. If the current state of technological developments are already able to accurately measure the human body in space and assist in improving the lives of people constrained by injuries and illness, can you imagine what this technology will be like in 5 years?

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