Motion capture technology in industrial applications: A systematic review

Matteo Menolotto*, Dimitrios Sokratis Komaris, Salvatore Tedesco, Brendan O’Flynn, Michael Walsh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The rapid technological advancements of Industry 4.0 have opened up new vectors for novel industrial processes that require advanced sensing solutions for their realization. Motion capture (MoCap) sensors, such as visual cameras and inertial measurement units (IMUs), are frequently adopted in industrial settings to support solutions in robotics, additive manufacturing, teleworking and human safety. This review synthesizes and evaluates studies investigating the use of MoCap technologies in industry-related research. A search was performed in the Embase, Scopus, Web of Science and Google Scholar. Only studies in English, from 2015 onwards, on primary and secondary industrial applications were considered. The quality of the articles was appraised with the AXIS tool. Studies were categorized based on type of used sensors, beneficiary industry sector, and type of application. Study characteristics, key methods and findings were also summarized. In total, 1682 records were identified, and 59 were included in this review. Twenty-one and 38 studies were assessed as being prone to medium and low risks of bias, respectively. Camera-based sensors and IMUs were used in 40% and 70% of the studies, respectively. Construction (30.5%), robotics (15.3%) and automotive (10.2%) were the most researched industry sectors, whilst health and safety (64.4%) and the improvement of industrial processes or products (17%) were the most targeted applications. Inertial sensors were the first choice for industrial MoCap applications. Camera-based MoCap systems performed better in robotic applications, but camera obstructions caused by workers and machinery was the most challenging issue. Advancements in machine learning algorithms have been shown to increase the capabilities of MoCap systems in applications such as activity and fatigue detection as well as tool condition monitoring and object recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5687
Number of pages23
Issue number19
Early online date5 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by Science Foundation Ireland under Grant number 16/RC/3918 (CONFIRM) which is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund. Aspects of this publication have emanated from research conducted with the financial support of Science Foundation Ireland under Grant number 12/RC/2289-P2 (INSIGHT) and 13/RC/2077-CONNECT which are co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund.


  • Health and safety
  • IMU
  • Industry 4.0
  • Motion tracking
  • Robot control
  • Wearable sensors


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