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AMTI Force Plate Setup


Main PageAMTI Force Plate Setup

Scope

This page provides instructions on integrating an AMTI Force plate system with an OptiTrack motion capture system.

Overview

When a motion capture system is used in conjunction with force plates, they work together as a powerful tool for various research applications including biomechanical analysis, clinical gait analysis, physiology research, sports performance research, and many more. An OptiTrack motion capture system can synchronize with force plates to obtain both kinematic and kinetic measurements. Note that force plate integration is supported only with a Prime camera system using the eSync synchronization hub. This page provides quick guidelines for setting up and configuring force plates — with digital outputs — along with the OptiTrack motion capture system.

For detailed information on specifications and configurations on the force plates, refer to the documentation provided by the force plate manufacturer.

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  • Analog Platforms: Analog force plate devices can only be implemented via NI-DAQ devices. Incoming voltage signals can be detected through NI-DAQ devices, but the force plate related software features (vectors, position calibration, etc.) will not be supported in Motive. Refer to the NI-DAQ Setup page for detailed instructions on integrating analog devices.

Required Components

  • Supported Amplifier Models: AMTI Gen 5, AMTI Optima.
  • Force platforms that are compatible with the above amplifier models.
  • Prime series Ethernet camera system with the eSync synchronization hub.
  • Motive 1.9 or above.


Hardware Setup


Component Wiring (AMTI)

AMTI Force Plate System Setup

Connect each force plate into the host PC. For force plate systems with external amplifiers, the platform must be connected to the amplifier which uplinks to the host computer. For detailed instructions on setting up the Force Plate system with a host PC, refer to the AMTI documentation.

Camera System Setup

Setup the OptiTrack camera system and place the force plate(s) at the desired location(s); ideally, near the center of the volume. See Quick Start Guide or Hardware Setup page for details.

Wiring the eSync with the Gen 5 Amplifier

For accurate synchronizations, the eSync 2 synchronization hub must be used. The eSync 2 has signal output ports that are used to send out synchronization signals to slave devices. Connect the BNC output ports of the eSync to sync input ports (Genlock/Trigger Input) of force plate amplifiers.
If force plate systems have RCA sync ports, use RCA cables along with the 50 Ohm BNC Male to 75 Ohm RCA Jack Adapters included with the eSync 2 to connect the amplifiers. The above wiring diagram shows how force plate systems need to be connected to an Ethernet camera system through the eSync 2.

Multiple Devices Sync

There are total four output ports on the eSync 2, and multiple force plates and external devices can be integrated if needed. Consult our Engineers for multiple force plate synchronizations.

Hot Plugging

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Hot plugging is not supported with the integration. When a new device is connected to the system, you must re-start Motive to instantiate it.


  • Diagram for Prime Camera System with integrated force plates.
    Diagram for Prime Camera System with integrated force plates. (*) Some force plates don't have external amplifiers, but instead, have their amplifiers integrated within the platform. In this case, connect sync cables and the USB cables directly to the host PC.
  • The eSync 2 output and input ports
  • Software Setup


    AMTI Software Setup

    Before setting up the force plates in Motive, make sure software components required by the force plate system is installed on the computer. AMTI's software (e.g. AMTINetForce) must be able to detect and initialize the connected devices in order for the force plates to be properly initialized and used in Motive. Once this has been confirmed working, start setting up Motive. Please refer to manufacturer documentation for more information.

    Optima amplifier detected in the NetForce software.

    Peripheral Device Module

    In order to integrate force plate systems with Motive, you will need to setup the required drivers and plugins. Motive installer is packaged with the Peripheral Device module which can be added during the Motive installation process. This module includes all necessary drivers and plugins for integrating external devices including force plates (AMTI and Bertec) in Motive. During the Motive installation, a list of program features will be shown in the Custom Setup section. Here, change the setting for the Peripheral Device module, as shown in the below image, so that the module is installed along with Motive Files.

    Info2.png

    Note : Even if you are not using NI-DAQ, it is still necessary to install NI-DAQmx drivers that come up next in the installer.

    Installing OptiTrack Peripheral Module. DAQmxInstall.gif


    Force Plate Setup in Motive

    1. Start Motive

    If the hardware and software for the force plates are configured and successfully recognized, Motive will list out the detected force plates with number labels (1, 2, etc..). Motive will notify you of incorrect or nonexistent force plate calibration files. When the devices are properly instantiated in Motive, the following status messages will be shown under that Status Log.
    • Initial view in Motive after setting up force plates.
      Motive with force plates.

    2. Calibrate Cameras

    Calibrate the capture volume as normal to get the orientation of the cameras (see the Quick Start Guide or Calibration page for more information). The position of the force plate is about the center of the volume, and when you recalibrate or reset the ground plane, you will need to also realign the position of your force plates for best results.
    Motive after setting up force plates and calibration.
    Motive with force plates and camera calibration.


    3. Setup CS-400

    On the CS-400 calibration square, pull the force plate alignment tabs out and put the force plate leveling jigs at the bottom. The leveling jigs align the calibration square to the surface of your force plate. The alignment tabs allow you to put the CS-400 flush against the sides of your force plate giving the most accurate alignment.
    CS-400 calibration square with force plate force plate parts.
    CS-400 calibration square with force plate force plate parts.


    4. Place CS-400 on force plate

    Place the calibration wand on the force plate so that vertex of the wand is located at the right-hand corner of the side where the cable input is located (as shown in the image below). A correct placement of the calibration square is important because it determines the orientation of the force plate and its local coordinate axis within the global system. The coordinate systems for force plates are independent of the system used Motive.

    Info2.png

    AMTI Force Plates

    AMTI force plates use the right-hand system. The long arm of CS-400 will define the Y axis, and the short arm will define the X axis of the force plate. Accordingly, Z axis is directed downwards for measuring the vertical force.

  • Force plate with CS-400 aligned properly.
    Force plate with CS-400 aligned properly.
  • Calibrated force plate position and orientation. X and Y axis is shown.
  • 5. Set force plate position in Motive.

    After placing the calibration square on the force plate, select the CS-400 markers in Motive. Right click on the force plate you want to locate, and click Set Position. When there are multiple force plates in a volume, you may need to step on the force plate to find which platform the calibration square is on. In Motive, uncalibrated force plates will light up in green and a force vector will appear when you step on the plate. Repeat step 4 and 5 for other force plates as necessary.
    Referencing to the markers on the calibration square, Motive defines the location of the force plate coordinate system within the global coordinate system.
    Motive uses manufacturer defined X, Y, and Z mechanical-to-electrical center offset when calculating the force vector and the center of pressure. For digital based plates, this information is available from the SDK and also stored in the plate's on-board calibration data.
    Setting the position of a force plate in Motive.
    Setting the position of a force plate in Motive. The number label on the force plate is inverted because the force plate position and orientation has not been calibrated yet.

    6. Zero force plates.

    After you have calibrated each of your force plates, remove the CS-400 from the volume. Right click one of your force plates in Motive and click Zero (all). This will tare the scale and set the current force on the plate data to 0. This will account for a small constant amount of measurement offset from the force plate. Remember that it zeros all of the force plates at once. So make sure there are no objects on any of the force plates.
    Set the force plate data to zero for more accurate data.
    Set the force plate data to zero for more accurate data.

    7. Set sampling rate

    Configuring force plate sampling rate from Devices pane.

    Sampling rate of force plates is configured through the synchronization settings, which will be covered in the following section. Please note that only specific sampling rates may be supported depending on the amplifier models.

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    Supported force plate sampling rates:

    For AMTI force plates support the following sampling rates depending on the amplifier used. For the most up-to-date information, consult their documentation. The supported sampling rates (Hz) are the following:

    • AMTI Gen 5 Amplifier: 2000, 1800, 1500, 1200, 1000, 900, 800, 600, 500, 450, 400, 360, 300, etc...
    • AMTI Optima Amplifier: 1000, 600, 500, 300, 250, 200, 150, 125, 120, 100, 60, 50, 30, 25, 15, 10.

    Synchronization Configuration


    When synchronizing through the eSync, use the following steps to configure the sync settings in Motive. This will allow both systems to be triggered simultaneously with reference to the master synchronization device, the eSync.

    Sync Configuration Steps: eSync & AMTI Force Plate

    Example settings in the cameras and synchronization panes for eSync.
    Example external clock sync settings.

    External Clock Sync (Recommended)

    1. Open the Devices pane and the Synchronization pane.
    2. In the Synchronization pane, select the Custom Synchronization mode from the dropdown menu.
    3. Set the Sync Input → Source to Internal Clock. This is the frequency that the frame rate of the camera system will be set to.
    4. Set the Sync Input → Clock Freq to 1000 Hz, and set the Sync Input → Input divider to 10. The clock frequency sets the sampling rate of the force plates, and the final framerate for the camera system is determined after the given divider/multiplier has been applied.
    5. Set the Sync Output 1-4 → Type to Gated Internal Clock
    6. Click Apply from the Synchronization pane.
    7. In the Devices pane, select the force plates and set the following:
    • Record Trigger → False
    • Use External Clock → True
    • eSync Output Channel → output port used on the eSync.

    Info2.png

    • There is a known issue where force plate data is not visible in Live mode when two systems are synchronized through External Clock signal.
    • Force plate data may become unstable at 2000 Hz external clock signal.

    Triggered Sync

    1. Open the Devices pane and the Synchronization pane.
    2. In the Synchronization pane, select the Custom Synchronization mode from the dropdown menu.
    3. Set the Sync Input → Source to Internal Clock.
    4. Set the Sync Input → Clock Freq to 1000 Hz, and set the Sync Input → Input divider to 10. The clock frequency sets the sampling rate of the force plates, and the final framerate for the camera system is determined after the given divider/multiplier has been applied.
    5. Set the Sync Output 1-4 → Type to Record Start/Stop Pulse or Recording Gate triggered sync.
    6. Click Apply from the Synchronization pane.
    7. In the Devices pane, select the force plates and set the following:
    • Record Trigger → True
    • Use External Clock → False
    • eSync Output Channel → output port used on the eSync.

    Info2.png

    For free run sync setups, sampling rates of force plates can be set from the Devices pane, but the sampling rate of force plates must be configured to a whole multiple of the camera system's framerate. By adjusting the Rate Multiplier values in the Devices pane, sampling rates of the force plates can be modified. First, pick a frame rate of the camera system and then adjust the rate multiplier values to set force plates to the desired sampling rate.

    How to Validate your Synchronization

    Before you start recording, you may want to validate that the camera and force plate data are in sync. There are some tests you can do to examine this.

    The first method is to record dropping a retroreflective ball/marker onto the platform few times. The bouncing ball produces a sharp transition when it hits the surface of the platform, and it makes the data more obvious for validating the synchronization. Alternately, you can attach a marker on a tip of the foot and step on and off the force plate. Make sure that your toe — closest to the marker — strikes the platform first, otherwise the data will seem off even when it is not. You can then monitor the precise timing of the ball or the foot impacting the force plate and compare them between the mocap data and the force plate data.

    The following is an example of validating good synchronization outcomes:

    Good synchronization

    ReSynch

    Re-aligning initial sampling timing of the force plate.

    When two systems are synchronized by recording trigger signals (Recording Gate or Recording Pulse), both systems are in Free Run Mode. This means that the recording of both the mocap system and the force plate system are triggered simultaneously at the same time and each system runs at its own rate.

    Two systems, however, are synchronized at the recording trigger but not by per frame basis. For this reason, alignment of the mocap data and the force plate data may gradually drift from each other for longer captures. But this is not a problem since the sync chain will always be re-synchronized each time recording in Motive is triggered. Furthermore, Takes in general do not last too long for this drift to take effect on the data.

    However, this could be an issue when live-streaming the data since recording is never initiated and two systems will be synchronized only when Motive first launches. To zero out the drift, the ReSynch feature can be used. Right-click on force plates from either the Devices pane or the perspective view, and select Resynch from the context menu to realign the sampling timing of both systems.

    Device Settings Profile



    New in Motive 2.0

    Starting from Motive 2.0, configurations on external devices (e.g. Force Plates and NI-DAQ devices) are persisted between different launches of Motive.

    All of the configured device settings, including the calibration, get saved on Device Profile XML files. When you exit out of Motive, updated device profiles will be saved under the program data directory (C:\ProgramData\OptiTrack\Motive\DeviceProfiles), and this file gets loaded again when you restart Motive. The persistent settings folder can be accessed through Help → Application Folders → Persistent Setting. This XML file ensures that all of the device settings are persisted each time you close and restart Motive.

    Direct access to the persistent settings folder. In this folder, license files as well as XML files for persistent configurations are stored.


    Force Plate Data in Motive


    Force plate data can be monitored from the Graph View pane. You will need to configure a custom graph layouts to show force plate data. As shown in the images, make sure the desired force plate data channels (Fx, Fy, Fz, Mx, My, or Mz) are selected to be plotted. Then, when you select a force plate in Motive, and the data from the corresponding channels will be plotted on the graphs. When both reconstructed markers and force plate channels are selected, the force plot will be sub-sampled in order to be plotted along with trajectory data. For more information about how to configure graph layouts, read through the Graph View pane page.

    Live Force Plate Data

    For plotting live force plate data, the graph View Style of the corresponding graph must be configured to Live.

    Info2.png

    Notes

    • The force and moment data reflects the coordinate system defined by the force plate manufacturer, which is typically the Z-down right-handed coordinate system. Note: This convention is independent of the global coordinate system used in Motive. Thus, the Fz components represent the vertical force. For more in-depth information, refer to the force plate specifications.
    • Graph of live force plate data.
      Graph of live force plate data.
    • Layout configuration.
      Graph view pane layout configuration.

    Data Export


    We recommend the following programs for analyzing exported data in biomechanics applications:

    C3D Export

    Motive exports tracking data and force plate data into C3D files. Exported C3D files can then be imported into a biomechanics analysis and visualization software for further processing. See the Data Export or Data Export: C3D page for more information about C3D export in Motive. Note that the coordinate system used in Motive (y-up right-handed) may be different from the convention used in the biomechanics analysis software.

    C3D Axes

    Common Biomechanics Convention

    C3D export setting for applications using z-up right-handed coordinate systems.

    Since Motive uses a different coordinate system than the system used in common biomechanics applications, it is necessary to modify the coordinate axis to a compatible convention in the C3D exporter settings. For biomechanics applications using z-up right-handed convention (e.g. Visual3D), the following changes must be made under the custom axis.

    • X axis in Motive should be configured to positive X
    • Y axis in Motive should be configured to negative Z
    • Z axis in Motive should be configured to positive Y.

    This will convert the coordinate axis of the exported data so that the x-axis represents the anteroposterior axis (left/right), the y-axis represents the mediolateral axis (front/back), and the z-axis represents the longitudinal axis (up/down).

    CSV Export

    Force plate data and the tracking data can be exported into CSV files as well. When a Take file is exported into a CSV file. Separate CSV files will be save for each force plate and it will contain the force, moment, and center of pressure data. Exported CSV file can be imported for analysis.

    Data Streaming

    To stream tracking data along with the force plate data, open the Data Streaming Pane and check the Broadcast Frame Data, and make sure that you are not streaming over the camera network. Read more about streaming from the Data Streaming workflow page.
    Motive can stream the tracking data and the force plate data into various applications — including Matlab — using NatNet Streaming protocol. Find more about NatNet streaming from the User's Guide included in the download.