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USC technology enables innovative research


6 February 2012

6 February 2012

A visiting Japanese academic is using state-of-the art technology at the University of the Sunshine Coast to conduct new research into human movement under water.

Koichi Kaneda, 31, will use the revolutionary Orca Swim Tracker at USC’s Olympic-sized swimming pool to compare joint angle and acceleration of the human body during walking, chair and stair movements in water and on land.

The camera is the first of its kind in Australia and transmits above and below water images to a screen on the pool deck.

As a Research Fellow of the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science, Dr Kaneda said he believed this type of research had never been done before.

“There are many previous studies investigating the motion characteristics of water walking, but there is no research comparing the movement patterns without normalisation between water and air motions,” he said.

“In addition, there is no research comparing chair and stair motions.”

Dr Kaneda said the research findings could be used by health industry professionals and sports trainers to develop water exercise and rehabilitation programs for the frail and the elderly.

“Water has a specific density which is about 800 times greater than air,” he said.

“What we tend to see is that humans can easily undertake daily activity motions such as walking, chair, and stair motions under water even though they may struggle to do this in their daily life.”

USC Post Doctoral Research Fellow and co-investigator Dr Mark McKean said USC was in a unique position to assist Dr Kaneda in his research.

“There have been a lot of biomechanical studies done on the land because you can take research participants into a motion lab or onto a running track, but it is very difficult to do biomechanical movement analysis in the water,” he said.

“The Orca camera has really allowed us to extend the comparison of different movements from on land to in the water.”

Dr Kaneda, who has a PhD in Health and Sport Sciences from the University of Tsukabais, is calling for volunteers between 18 and 45 years-of-age and over 165cm tall, to participate in the study.

To participate in the research, or for more information, contact Dr Koichi Kaneda on

— Michelle Widdicombe

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