Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Collaborative Success Stories: Play it again hands


University of Missouri researchers are studying pianists’ hands to understand repetitive stress injury.

Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are among the nation’s most common occupational health problems. They affect hundreds of thousands of American workers and cost more than $20 billion annually in compensation. Now, University of Missouri experts are coming together to study RSIs from a new angle – literally. Working with pianist Paola Savvidou, MU engineer Marjorie Skubic and MU physical therapist Brad Willis used a Microsoft Kinect device to capture musicians’ hand positions as they played piano. Using the Kinect, rather than mounting devices on the hands, provided unobtrusive data collection without affecting the pianists’ movements. The camera took depth images (photos measuring distance at each pixel), enabling researchers to detect improper form that could lead to tendonitis and other RSIs.

The project could open the door for Kinect-based hand posture studies in additional settings – potentially shedding light on injuries from computer keyboard work and other repetitive activities.

Dr. Marjorie Skubic is a professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering, and Brad Willis is an assistant teaching professor of physical therapy in the School of Health Professions.

Click here to download a PDF of this story.

Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine