Castlefield Stock Story - Oxford Metrics

By David Gorman

At Castlefield, healthcare and technology are two of our favourite investment areas and we especially like to invest where the two themes overlap. Here, David Gorman introduces Oxford Metrics - a UK based firm that utilises the same innovative motion capture software used in TV and Film production to help treat patients and reduce athlete injury rates. 


At Castlefield, healthcare and technology are two of our investment themes and we especially like to invest in areas where the two themes overlap, hence our shareholdings in companies such as EKF Diagnostics, Inspiration Healthcare and Diaceutics.

Across the world, people are living longer, which means ever-increasing numbers of people who suffer from health problems and mobility issues of various kinds. This presents medical practitioners with an opportunity to use motion measurement technology and data analysis – motion capture - to help treat patients. These days, we tend to associate motion capture (or “mo-cap”) with entertainment – think of the actor Andy Serkis as Gollum or the avatars in the ABBA Voyage[1] show – but mo-cap actually has its roots in healthcare, beginning in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was used as an analytical tool in biomechanics research.

Among the first institutions to develop mo-cap technology was the University of Strathclyde and, today, the University continues to innovate through a long-standing partnership with Vicon, a global leader in motion capture cameras, software and motion capture systems for the entertainment, life science and engineering industries[2]. Vicon ( is part of Oxford Metrics PLC, whose shares we own in our CFP Castlefield Sustainable UK Smaller Companies Fund.

With the adoption of motion measurement technology and the increased use of wearable devices such as smart watches, it is now possible to capture motion data more precisely than ever before.

Medical professionals can use mo-cap data to identify symptoms of musculoskeletal conditions and mobility issues sooner, prescribe the appropriate treatments earlier and give their patients a better chance of avoiding the irreversible development of painful lifelong conditions.

Progress in a patient’s recovery, how effectively rehabilitation exercises are being performed and any deterioration in their mobility no longer need to be estimated based on what a doctor or physiotherapist might see in a standard appointment.

Vicon’s technology is also used by medical researchers to aid gait analysis and improve patient outcomes in areas ranging from the treatment of neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease, to recovering from cruciate ligament reconstruction or the loss of a limb, helping to improve quality of life for thousands of individuals. 

One example of Vicon technology in action is in sports science. For competitive athletes, injuries are an occupational hazard. If the athlete is lucky, the injury will be minor and the recovery time short but for some, serious injuries are the beginning of a lengthy rehabilitation cycle, or even the end of a promising career. What if it didn’t have to be like that? What if athletes could test themselves in order to better understand their individual risks and prevent injuries from happening in the first place?

Researchers at Auburn University in Alabama are looking at the root causes of anterior cruciate ligament (or ACL) injuries, specifically in female athletes playing football and basketball. Each year as many as 200,000 athletes at all levels from recreational to professional suffer ACL damage. Statistically, female athletes are far more likely than men to have ACL problems – in soccer, three to five times as likely; in basketball, two to seven times[3]. To help identify the warning signs of potential injury, researchers needed cameras capable of capturing the most intricate details of athletic movement and this led the team to Vicon, whose high-speed motion capture cameras and inertia sensors help to reduce the inaccuracies associated with movement calculations.

Away from life sciences and healthcare, other applications for Vicon’s technology include entertainment, virtual reality and engineering. In entertainment, one of Vicon’s biggest recent projects was working with George Lucas’ production company Industrial Light and Magic ( on the Star Wars TV production, The Mandalorian[4] and the company recently launched Valkyrie into this market, its next generation motion capture camera[5]. In Virtual Reality, Vicon’s Origin technology is a market leader in location-based VR for gaming and other entertainment purposes[6]. In Engineering, Vicon technology helps manufacturers develop industrial robots and analyse the movement of buildings in earthquake simulators[7].

We have owned shares in Oxford Metrics for several years and are pleased to see how the company has evolved. A major recent milestone was the sale, in May 2022, of its Yotta division to a business called Causeway for £52m. Yotta provides software which helps with the management of infrastructure assets, such as street lighting. The sale proceeds now sit on the company’s balance sheet, ready to be invested into new opportunities.

In July of this year, Oxford Metrics announced that its long-serving Chief Executive, Nick Bolton, is moving on, to be replaced by an internal appointment, Imogen Moorhouse. Imogen has been with the Vicon for 22 years and was CEO of the business for more than a decade[8], so the handover should be seamless.

The board’s plan is to double revenues over the next five years while maintaining (and hopefully improving) operating profit margins of 15%. The company works in some really attractive markets and we look forward to a smooth transition to Imogen’s leadership and exciting times ahead for Oxford Metrics.

Written by David Gorman


[1]ABBA Voyage Official Website - 2023 ABBA Concert in London

[2] How motion capture, VR and gamification could transform physical therapy (

[3] vicon-auburn-acl-97865.pdf (

[4] Vicon in Use | Case Studies | Motion Capture Systems

[5] Valkyrie (

[6] Location Based VR | Fully Immersive Virtual Reality | Origin by Vicon

[7] Engineering - Vicon

[8] CEO Succession (


Image courtesy of Vicon


Information is accurate as at 21.08.2023. Opinions constitute the fund manager’s judgement as of this date and are subject to change without warning. The officers, employees and agents of CIP may have positions in any securities mentioned herein. This material may not be distributed, published or reproduced in whole or in part. With investment, capital is at risk.