3D object representation for physics simulation engines and its effect on virtual assembly tasks

Germanico Gonzalez, Hugo I. Medellin, Theodore Lim, James M. Ritchie, Raymond C. W. Sung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Citations (Scopus)


Physical based modelling (PBM) uses physics simulation engines (PSE) to provide the dynamic behaviour and collision detection of virtual objects in virtual environments emulating the real world. There exists a variety of PSEs, each one with pros and cons according to the application in which they are employed. Each physics engine uses its proprietary collision detection algorithm. Collision detection is a key aspect of assembly tasks and its performance is dependent on the way virtual objects are represented. In general, objects can be divided into two groups: convex and concave, the latter being the most common and challenging for collision detection algorithms. This study reports on three different methods to represent concave objects. GIMPACT, Hierarchical Approximate Convex Decomposition (HACD) and Approximate Convex Decomposition (ACD), which are evaluated and compared based on their collision detection performances. An exact convex decomposition algorithm, named as ConvexFT, is also proposed and analyzed in this paper. Finally the performance of the three existing methods and the ConvexFT proposed approach are compared in order to assess which model representation algorithm is best suited for haptic-virtual assembly tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9780791845011
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2012


  • Haptics
  • Model representation
  • Physics simulation engines
  • Virtual assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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