Soft Body Locomotion

"Soft Body Locomotion"
Jie Tan, Yuting Gu, Greg Turk and C. Karen Liu
Full Paper (PDF, 2.7 Mbytes).


We present a physically-based system to simulate and control the locomotion of soft body characters without skeletons. We use the finite element method to simulate the deformation of the soft body, and we instrument a character with muscle fibers to allow it to ac- tively control its shape. To perform locomotion, we use a variety of intuitive controls such as moving a point on the character, specify- ing the center of mass or the angular momentum, and maintaining balance. These controllers yield an objective function that is passed to our optimization solver, which handles convex quadratic program with linear complementarity constraints. This solver determines the new muscle fiber lengths, and moreover it determines whether each point of contact should remain static, slide, or lift away from the floor. Our system can automatically find an appropriate combina- tion of muscle contractions that enables a soft character to fulfill various locomotion tasks, including walking, jumping, crawling, rolling and balancing.

Four alphabetic soft body characters perform different forms of locomotion.

This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants CCF-811485 and IIS-11130934. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Go to Greg Turk's Home Page.