An evaluation of physics engines and their application in haptic virtual assembly environments

Germanico González-Badillo, Hugo Medellin-Castillo, Hui Yu, Theodore Lim, James Millar Ritchie, Samir Garbaya

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


Virtual Reality (VR) applications are employed in engineering situation to simulate real and artificial situations where the user can interact with 3D models in real time. Within these applications the virtual environment must emulate real world
physics such that the system behaviour and interaction are as natural as possible and to support realistic manufacturing applications. As a consequence of this focus, several simulation engines have been developed for various digital applications, including VR, to compute the physical response and body dynamics of objects. However, the performance of these physics engines within haptic-enabled VR applications varies considerably. In this study two third party
physics engines - Bullet and PhysXtm- are evaluated to establish their appropriateness for haptic virtual assembly applications. With this objective in mind five assembly tasks were created with increasing assembly and geometry complexity. Each of these was carried out using the two different physics engines which had been implemented in a haptic-enabled virtual assembly platform specifically developed for this purpose. Several physics-performance parameters were also defined to aid the comparison. This approach and the subsequent
results successfully demonstrated the key strengths, limitations, and weaknesses of the physics engines in haptic virtual assembly environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 37th International MATADOR Conference
EditorsSrichand Hinduja, Lin Li
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4471-4480-9
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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