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Algorithms & Applications Group
Interactive Dynamic Simulation

Project Personnel:Nancy Amato

Most existing dynamic simulators are for specific types of environments, being able to simulate motions of either robot manipulators or interactions between the robot (with fixed-base)/free body and environment. Therefore, their applications to more complex structures which have multi-branch linkage and moveable-base have been very limited, and this is mainly due to its limited design principle. Those limitations force the programmer to go through substantial reimplementation when the simulators need to accommodate simulations of very general environments. Also, it is almost impossible to extend their functions to be able to perform simulations of different paradigms due to their lack of flexibility in its design principle for accommodating different types of simulations. These simulations include, but not limited to, walking robots (e.g., biped, quadped, hexaped, etc) or human models which are walking, running, and bicycling, etc.

The purpose of this work is to design and implement an interactive dynamic simulator for simulating motions of systems of rigid bodies in virtual  environments.  The simulator should accommodate various systems of rigid bodies, ranging from a single free flying rigid object to complex linkages such as those needed for robotic systems or human body simulation. Moreover, the simulator should easily incorporate user-input for the the on-line editing and modification of trajectories. Our design goal of accommodating environments containing multiple, and; various, systems of rigid bodies readily lends itself to an object-oriented design. In particular, we provide a generic framework for representing various types of rigid body systems, and exploit virtual functions to apply common kinematic and dynamic functionalities to them.

Our prototype implementation of I-GMS (Interactive Generalized Motion Simulator) enables one to model various types of body systems, ranging from a single free body, to any robotic manipulator, to a 34-dof simple humanoid model. The trajectories of the bodies can be modified in real-time using a PHANToM haptic device, which is fully integrated in I-GMS. This user-interaction capability which enables one to modify a planned trajectory or create a new trajectory for various, and complex models, in real-time is a novel feature of I-GMS. This capability has multiple applications, which include such possibilities as stabilizing the movement, such as walking, of a human body model.  This represents an alternative to the usual approach where an appropriate control scheme is used to achieve stabilization.

6-dof robot manipulator 
34-dof human body model 

Our work with several types of systems of rigid bodies illustrates the promise of I-GMS as a general dynamic simulator. Indeed, the underlying system architecture is shown to support dynamic simulations of complex body systems, and the user-interaction capability of I-GMS is shown to allow the user to adjust the system's behavior in real-time. This latter feature has several promising applications, ranging from on-line path creation to its use as a tool to aid system stabilization, such as the walking motion of a human body model.

Hybrid Dynamic Simulation of Rigid-Body Contact with Coulomb Friction, Wookho Son, Jeffrey C. Trinkle, Nancy M. Amato, In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom. (ICRA), pp. 1376-1381, May 2001.
Proceedings(ps, pdf, abstract)

Interactive Dynamic Simulation using Haptic Interaction, Wookho Son, Kyunghwan Kim, Nancy M. Amato, Jeffrey C. Trinkle, In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Intel. Rob. Syst. (IROS), pp. 145-150, Nov 2000.
Proceedings(ps, pdf, abstract)

An Interactive Generalized Motion Simulator (GMS) in an Object-Oriented Framework, Wookho Son, Kyunghwan Kim, Nancy M. Amato, In Proc. of Computer Animation (CA), pp. 176-181, May 2000.
Proceedings(ps, pdf, abstract)

Supported by NSF, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Project Alumni:Kyunghwan Kim,Wookho Son,Jeffrey Trinkle

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