PCA of waveforms and functional PCA: A primer for biomechanics


Principal components analysis (PCA) of waveforms and functional PCA (fPCA) are statistical approaches used to explore patterns of variability in biomechanical curve data, with fPCA being an accepted statistical method grounded within the functional data analysis (FDA) statistical framework. This technical note demonstrates that PCA of waveforms is the most rudimentary form of FDA, and consequently can be rationalised within the FDA framework of statistical processes. Mathematical proofing applied demonstrations of both techniques, and an example of when fPCA may be of greater benefit to control over smoothing of functional principal components is provided using an open access motion sickness dataset. Finally, open access software is provided with this paper as means of priming the biomechanics community for using these methods as a part of future functional data explorations.

Journal of Biomechanics