This page is provided for historical and archival purposes only. While the seminar dates are correct, we offer no guarantee of informational accuracy or link validity. Contact information for the speakers, hosts and seminar committee are certainly out of date.
Traditional techniques for computer animation of people, animals, and robots often produce motions that appear unnatural. We are exploring one possible solution to this problem: applying robot control algorithms to physically realistic models of the systems that we would like to animate. We simulate rigid body models of humans performing dynamic behaviors using control algorithms that cause the model to perform the desired maneuver. For example, the control algorithms allow the simulated humans to maintain balance while moving their upper body, to run or bicycle at a variety of speeds, and to perform a handspring vault and several platform dives. Algorithms for group behaviors allow a number of simulated bicyclists and simulated robots to move as a group while avoiding simple patterns of obstacles. We add secondary motion to the animations with simulations of clothing and splashing water that are driven by the rigid-body motion of the simulated human. Because our goal is natural looking motion, we compare the computed motion for each simulation to that of humans performing similar maneuvers both qualitatively through the comparison of real and simulated video images and quantitatively through the comparison of simulated and biomechanical data.
Jessica Hodgins is an Assistant Professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1989 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Her graduate research involved programming a two-legged laboratory robot to run, accurately place its foot to avoid obstacles, climb stairs, and perform gymnastic maneuvers. Her current research focuses on the coordination and control of dynamic physical systems, both natural and human-made and explores techniques that may someday allow robots and animated creatures to plan and control their actions in complex and unpredictable environments. She has received a NSF Young Investigator Award, a Packard Fellowship, and a Sloan Fellowship.