IRIM Seminar: Karen Liu

12:00 PM-1:00 PM on November 12, 2014

Location: Marcus Nanotechnology Building 1116

Title: DART: Dynamic Animation and Robotics Toolkit



Designing control algorithms for complex dynamic systems is a challenging and time consuming process. It often requires deriving nonlinear differential equations, formulating optimization problems, and solving numerous small but tedious problems, such as inverse kinematics, forward simulation, inverse dynamics, or Jacobian matrix computation. To streamline the process of controller design, we introduced an open-source, cross-platform toolkit, called DART, for rapid development of kinematics and dynamics applications in computer animation and robotics. DART (Dynamic Animation and Robotics Toolkit), one of the default physics engines in Gazebo, provides seamless integration with robotic simulators in ROS environment. In contrast to many popular physics engines which view the simulator as a black box, DART gives full access to internal kinematic and dynamic quantities, such as the mass matrix, Coriolis and centrifugal forces, transformation matrices and their derivatives. DART also provides efficient computation of Jacobian matrices for arbitrary body points and coordinate frames. In this talk, I will give an introduction of DART and demonstrate how complicated problems can be implemented using only a few lines of code in DART. I will also show how we use DART to make an Atlas robot walk, a Shadow Hand manipulate objects in hand, a virtual human learn gymnastics, and a variety of aquatic creatures swim in simulated fluid.



C. Karen Liu is an associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. She received her Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 2005. Liu's research interests are in computer graphics and animation, including physics-based animation, character animation, numerical methods, robotics and computational biomechanics. Liu received National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and was named Young Innovators Under 35 by Technology Review. In 2012, Liu received the ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award for her contribution in the field of computer graphics.