In order to analyze the kinematics or model the dynamics of human motion, one must be able to abstract from the intricate anatomy of the body the mechanical linkages and kinematic constraints which best approximate the joints of the body. Given the number and complexity of joints in the human body, this abstraction can be a challenging task, especially for students. While rotations about a single degree of freedom are easy to grasp, rotations about multiple DOF, which occur commonly throughout the body (e.g. shoulder, wrist, ankle, etc.) are anything but trivial. Likewise, the kinematics or dynamics of mechanical linkages such as the upper or lower limb quickly become unwieldy. To deal with these challenges, students learn to use tools from mechanics and robotics (body- and space-fixed reference frames, transformations, generalized coordinates, etc.), but these concepts can themselves be challenging and certainly take time to learn.

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