Blobby cubes, spheres, and cows.

After downloading camstudio I thought I’d capture some videos of the work I’ve been doing lately.

My research involves the idea that the combination of physics and generative systems can produce complex and “organic” structures. My primary focus is on “real world” physics and generative systems that are based on biological developmental systems. A first step in this direction was to implement some physical simulation environments.

The current environment I am working on considers objects as being decomposed into discrete tetrahedral elements. The physics is locally volume-conserving, and uses the ideas in “A Versatile and Robust Model for Geometrically Complex Deformable Solids” (Teschner et al. 2004). The rationale for selecting this model is that it is conceptually simple and is fairly fast. The following videos demonstrate some experiments I’ve done with my implementation of the ideas.

This video shows some spheres dropping onto the ground and deforming. The video shows a set of different spheres, each with different stiffness/springiness parameters. The program runs in real-time, however the video is sped-up by 4 times.

This video shows a variety of cubes with different stiffnesses (sped-up by 4 times).

And finally, here is a tetrahedralised cow falling over. The view with the spheres shows the discretisation of mass of the model.


Asimo and other robots

I saw Asimo on the weekend. Asimo is Honda’s humanoid robot. The show was very commercial, and generally aimed at entertainment than education, as you can see in my poorly taken video (you can just make out Asimo in the center.) They demonstrated some of Asimo’s capabilities such as running (at 6 km/h) and carrying a tray of drinks — overall I was quite impressed with the speed and stability at which he (/she/it?) could perform the tasks.

Here’s a video I found of Asimo at a show in Japan …Some post-show googling came up with some other interesting humanoid-like robots, such as these dancers (from Sony?) … they have much smoother and quicker motion than Asimo — though I wonder how much of it is programmed and how much is adaptive.

This has to be my favourite clip though, I laugh everytime I see it (especially the end bit with the maracas). It’s intriguing and entertaining to question the research goal of making humanoid robots — in my opinion they could serve no more goal than entertainment. The research, however, is important as it opens a whole can of theory including adaptive and complex systems, bipedal motion and stability, and research into energy conservation and storage.