The aim of this study was to evaluate eight methods for aligning the orientation of two different local coordinate systems. Alignment is very important when combining two different systems of motion analysis. Two of the methods were developed specifically for biomechanical studies, and because there have been at least three decades of algorithm development in robotics, it was decided to include six methods from this field. To compare these methods, an Xsens sensor and two Optotrak clusters were attached to a Plexiglas plate. The first optical marker cluster was fixed on the sensor and 20 trials were recorded. The error of alignment was calculated for each trial, and the mean, the standard deviation, and the maximum values of this error over all trials were reported. One-way repeated measures analysis of variance revealed that the alignment error differed significantly across the eight methods. Post-hoc tests showed that the alignment error from the methods based on angular velocities was significantly lower than for the other methods. The method using angular velocities performed the best, with an average error of 0.17 ± 0.08 deg. We therefore recommend this method, which is easy to perform and provides accurate alignment.

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