Welcome to Musculoskeletal Modeling by Multibody Dynamics with a Focus on the Knee Joint


This Ph.D. course introduces techniques for modeling of musculoskeletal systems with an emphasis on knee biomechanics based on multibody dynamics. Unlike most courses in the field, this one takes a bottom-up approach beginning with kinematics of open and closed chains and ending with analysis of complex and anatomically realistic models.  The course uses the AnyBody Modeling System throughout and contains an introduction to this system.

The course contents are the following:

1. Kinematics

  1. Degrees of freedom and constraints
  2. Orientations in 3D
  3. Open and closed chains
  4. The Cartesian formulation
  5. Kinematic measures
  6. Defining and analyzing simple kinematic models in AnyBody
  7. Kinematic redundancy
  8. Motion capture
  9. Driving AnyBody models with mocap data
  10. Parameter estimation from kinematics

2. Kinetics and muscle systems

  1. Dynamic equilibrium equations
  2. Forward and inverse dynamics
  3. Statically determinate and indeterminate systems
  4. Muscle models
  5. Optimality principles and physiology
  6. Definition and analysis of muscle systems in AnyBody

3. Knee models

  1. Advanced kinematic measures and constraint combinations
  2. Hinge models
  3. Surface-based models
  4. Force-dependent kinematics models.
  5. Verification and validation

4. Subject-specific models

  1. Anatomical data acquisition methods
  2. Scaling and individualization
  3. Hands-on gait model
  4. Introduction of the assignment

Prerequisites: Basic skills in mechanics, mathematics, physiology and ICT.

Learning objectives:

Knowledge about

  • Multibody dynamics methods for biomechanics
  • Kinematics processing of biomechanical data
  • The biomechanics of muscle systems
  • Joint modeling techniques for the knee joint from simple to advanced

Skills in

  • The AnyBody Modeling System
  • Processing and import of motion capture data
  • Planning of modeling projects

Competencies in

  • Assessment of assumptions and limitations of modeling methods
  • Validation of musculoskeletal models

Teaching methods:

Lectures and hands-on exercises with AnyBody. The students will create their own knee model as a part of the course and as assignment work after the course. The resulting model is returned to the course organizers along with a brief report documenting it.


Participation is free for PhD students and academic staff. The course fee for industrial participants is DKK 4000.

Criteria for assessment:

The students will be graded on the developed model and associated report.

Organizers and lecturers: Professor John Rasmussen, e-mail: jr@m-tech.aau.dk, Associate Professor Michael Skipper Andersen, e-mail: msa@m-tech.aau.dk, Associate Professor Mark de Zee, e-mail: mdz@hst.aau.dk

ECTS: 3.0

Time: September 6-9, 2016

Place: To be decided

Zip code:


Number of seats: 40

Deadline: August 16, 2016

Important information concerning PhD courses We have over some time experienced problems with no-show for both project and general courses. It has now reached a point where we are forced to take action. Therefore, the Doctoral School has decided to introduce a no-show fee of DKK 5,000 for each course where the student does not show up. Cancellations are accepted no later than 2 weeks before start of the course. Registered illness is of course an acceptable reason for not showing up on those days. Furthermore, all courses open for registration approximately three months before start. This can hopefully also provide new students a chance to register for courses during the year. We look forward to your registrations.