Panda3d Models - Noob Question

I’m trying to develop a simulator to use neural networks to control bodies. For starters, I intend to control a hand (palm and fingers). I realize that I need 3D models for the bodies first. If so, can I directly use a model freely available online? (for example -; licensing probably would not be an issue as my work is purely academic.) Do I have to do convert it to some other format to get it working in Panda3D?
At the end of the day, I’d like to be able to obtain (relative) angular velocities, angular displacements, linear velocities and linear displacements from each joint in the model. Can anyone link me to some sample code, tutorial(s) or relevant documentation that could help me get started?

If you use blender models you can easily convert them to .EGG using chicken ( … om_Blender), later on you would like to export them to .BAM to save loading time.

To manage the physics part I recommend Bullet, here you can find some tutorials: … th_Panda3D