Human movement has been observed ever since humans have been on earth, but its systematic study only began during the Renaissance. In Victorian times there were major advances, thanks to the invention of photography. In the 20th Century, the use of television cameras, linked to computers, advanced the field of study in many different directions. Professor Michael Whittle pioneered the use of three dimensional television/computer technology to study human walking. The main application was to assess children with cerebral palsy, prior to treatment. It is now used in ergonomics, police investigations, sports training and the entertainment industry.
Professor Whittle trained as a doctor at St. George's Hospital, London. After completing his house jobs, he went into full-time research and teaching. He studied for a Masters in Biomechanics at Surrey University and was then recruited by the RAF to conduct aviation medicine research at Farnborough. They lent him to NASA, where he spent 3 years supervising 6 experiments on the Skylab space station. Back in England he studied for a PhD and then joined Oxford University, where he spent 10 years developing methods for studying human movement until they lost their funding. He then accepted a post teaching medical science at the University of Tennessee, retiring back in England in 2005.