Space Age Sport Space
High-tech tool helps Missouri Orthopaedic Institute treat athletes.
In a room lined with what looks like the shell of a space shuttle lit with laser beams, the high-tech DARI motion-sensor system stealthily analyzes athletic movement.
Named for the company that designed it, Dynamic Athletic Research Institute in Lenexa, Kan., the DARI’s 14 infrared cameras gather data about subjects as they perform a battery of movements in the 15-foot-by-30-foot area. The actions, tracked on a computer program, provide a baseline of the athletes’ ranges of motion for reference, should the player become a patient recovering from an injury.
“Systems in the past relied on a diode system where you had to put little metallic balls on joints,” says Brett Hayes, therapy manager at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute, which houses the machine. “It took 45 minutes just to set up one patient, and it made the research numbers low because you couldn’t run a lot of subjects through. This is the first markerless motion-capture system, so you and I dressed the way we are can walk right in there.”
However, it wasn’t that simple for the Mizzou men’s basketball team.
“We noticed the players could literally go through the roof during the drills,” Hayes says. “To allow good, double-armed jumps, we had to raise the ceiling.”