Abstract for the October 3, 1997 Robotics Institute Seminar

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Physical Realism for Computer Animation and Virtual Environments

David Baraff
Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

4:15pm, Adamson Wing, Baker Hall

Virtual reality, widely regarded in advance as the next great step forward in computer graphics/interaction, arrived and, almost immediately, departed. More accurately, the concept of ``virtual reality'' quickly acquired a negative connotation in many areas, mostly because initial forays quickly demonstrated just how completely unrealistic an experience virtual reality actually was. In its place, the more descriptive term ``virtual environments'' has emerged and is a better description of what we want: the ability to construct an environment (existing only virtually) that a user can interact with, modify, study, and (hopefully) learn from.

A fundamental requirement for such environments is that they possess physical realism; that is, that objects should behave in a fashion that is at least close to what we would expect in the real world. Modeling this sort of realism is extremely difficult and as yet has only been dealt with on a special-case basis. In this talk, I will discuss my research on physical simulation; this work shows the progress made in transitioning from earlier, non-interactive (i.e. painfully slow) simulation systems to current-day, interactive simulators. Simulation domains include rigid body systems, flexible objects, cloth, and particle systems. The talk will lean heavily toward flashy, eye-catching computer graphics videotapes, with a number of slides thrown in for technical content.

Biographical Sketch:
David Baraff received his Ph.D. from Cornell University, where he was a graduate student in Cornell's Department of Computer Science, and Program of Computer Graphics. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked on a variety of computer graphics projects from 1980--87 at AT&T Bell Laboratories' Computer Technology Research Laboratory, including research on real-time 3D interactive animation and games. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1992, he joined the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University as an Assistant Professor in CMU's Robotics Institute, and School of Computer Science. In 1995, he was named an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator. His research interests include physical simulation and modeling for computer graphics, animation, and robotics.

For appointments, please contact the speaker: baraff@ri.cmu.edu

Last Modified on: Thu Sep 18, 1997

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Martin C. Martin, <mm+@cmu.edu>