DARI Motion

A person’s motion is tested using “DARI Motion” technology. OrthoAspen, in coordination with the Hospital for Special Surgery, will showcase the system in Aspen this weekend.

Is your left arm stronger than your right arm? Can your knees withstand the punishment that Aspen Mountain dishes out every winter? And how are those legs doing?

Those questions may be answered this weekend when OrthoAspen — Aspen Valley Hospital’s group of orthopedic specialists — erects a pop-up tent at Gondola Plaza on Saturday and outside of the hospital on Sunday and Monday to unveil what’s considered to be groundbreaking computer-vision technology called “DARI Motion.”

“DARI” stands for Dynamic Athletic Research Institute, the company that initially created the high-tech system, which is designed to improve a person’s musculoskeletal health. In late 2017, DARI’s assets were acquired by Scientific Analytics Inc., which is now working with the Hospital for Special Surgery, a New York City-based health-care provider, to bring orthopedic expertise to the technology and fine tune the system for possible use in the marketplace.

HSS formed a strategic collaboration with AVH last August, and that’s why the DARI technology will be offered in Aspen this weekend. Acronyms and corporate alliances aside, there’s no cost for taking advantage of the technology to find out what’s up with your bones, muscles and the way you use them.

“It’s a fast and new high-tech way to assess musculoskeletal health,” said Jennifer Slaughter, director of community relations for AVH. “We have a pop-up space we’re creating that participants can step into, and their movements can be captured and evaluated in real time using cameras and sensors inside the tent cube.”

An eight-minute physical test (utilizing the technology) and a brief results assessment from a specialist will be available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, and also by appointment. Saturday hours at the plaza run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; to participate at the hospital, the pop-up’s Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The entire “experience” — the test and a specialist’s explanation of the results — should take about 15 minutes per person, according to Slaughter. Appointments can be made by emailing hkeating@aspenhospital.org.

The DARI technology “seamlessly assesses aspects of an individual’s musculoskeletal health, measuring mobility, symmetry, strength and alignment,” an AVH news release says. Comparisons with peer groups and guidance on general wellness benchmarks will be provided in the personal-mobility assessment that follows the test.

The experience relies on a “markerless motion-capture system,” which means the subject is not encumbered by high-tech accessories placed on the body to relay the information, as other motion-capture systems do.

Further, the DARI system is refined “by more than 425 billion data points of human motion” that have been gathered across the spectrum of athletics, the military and health care.

Just last week, the Food and Drug Administration awarded its “510K medical device designation” to the technology — in other words, DARI Motion has FDA approval.

“No matter a person’s physical activity level or overall health status, anyone can have fun with the pop-up experience and benefit from the information they receive,” the news release adds.

Slaughter pointed out that the experience is for general educational purposes only and should not be viewed as medical advice. Participants will be directed to speak with their health-care provider if they have questions related to their own health.

“What the participant can do is take that information and use it for understanding how your body moves. If you want to strengthen certain parts of your body — for a higher performance in sports, for example — it may inform you better,” she said.

Slaughter said this weekend’s use of the technology is meant to be enjoyable as well as informative. She said no decisions have been made about bringing a DARI system to OrthoAspen and Aspen Valley Hospital for long-term practical use.

Andre is a reporter for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at andre@aspendailynews.com.