Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

H. Michael Lacker

Second Advisor

William Corson Hunter

Third Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Fourth Advisor

R. P. Narcessian


The use of mathematical models to investigate the dynamics of human movement relies on two approaches: forward dynamics and inverse dynamics. In this investigation a new modeling approach called the Boundary Method is outlined. This method addresses some of the disadvantages of both the forward and the inverse approach. The method yields as output both a set of potential movement solutions to a given motor task and the net muscular impulses required to produce those movements. The input to the boundary method is a finite and adjustable number of critical target body configurations. In each phase of the motion that occurs between two contiguous target configurations the equations of motion are solved in the forward direction as a two point ballistic boundary value problem. In the limit as the number of specified target configurations increases the boundary method approaches a stable algorithm for doing inverse dynamics.

A 3-Dimensional, multi-segment coupled pendulum system, that mathematically models human motion, will be presented along with a derivation of a generalized formula that constructs the equations of motion for this model. The suggested model is developed to utilize the boundary method. The model developed in this thesis will lead to a long rang goal, which is the development of a diagnostic tool for any motion analysis laboratory that will answer the question of finding optimal movement patterns, to prevent injury and improve performance in human subjects.