The selection of body segment parameters (BSPs) is a difficult yet essential task in many biomechanical studies. The methods used to date—cadaver, reaction board, mathematical modeling, gamma scanning, and kinematics—all have a number of drawbacks. The purpose of the present paper is to present an alternative method, based on kinematic data and optimization theory, for selecting BSPs. The design variables are the BSPs and the objective function to be minimized is based on the difference between calculated and measured distal extremity kinetics, while the equality constraints are based on Newtonian principles as well as bilateral symmetry of the BSPs. Three different activities are used to generate “optimal” sets of BSPs and these values are different, but not markedly so, from cadaver values. Further detailed investigation appears warranted.

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