Mathematical modeling and computer simulation play an increasingly important role in the search for answers to questions that cannot be addressed experimentally. One of the biggest challenges in forward simulation of the movements of the musculoskeletal system is finding an optimal control strategy. It is not uncommon for this type of optimization problem that the segment dynamics need to be calculated millions of times. In addition, these calculations typically consume a large part of the CPU time during forward movement simulations. As numerous human movements are two-dimensional (2-D) to a reasonable approximation, it is extremely convenient to have a dedicated, computational efficient method for 2-D movements. In this paper we shall present such a method. The main goal is to show that a systematic approach can be adopted which allows for both automatic formulation and solution of the equations of kinematics and dynamics, and to provide some fundamental insight in the mechanical theory behind forward dynamics problems in general. To illustrate matters, we provide for download an example implementation of the main segment dynamics algorithm, as well as a complete implementation of a model of human sprint cycling.
The authors are with the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Van der Boechorststraat 9, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.