IEEE Transactions on Haptics

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From the July-September 2016 issue

Adaptive 6-DoF Haptic Contact Stiffness Using the Gauss Map

By Hongyi Xu and Jernej Barbic

Free Featured ArticleThe penalty method is a popular approach to resolving contact in haptic rendering. In simulations involving complex distributed contact, there are, however, many simultaneous individual contacts. These contacts have normals pointing in several directions, many of which may be parallel, causing the stiffness to effectively accumulate in a temporally highly-varying and unpredictable way. Consequently, penalty-based simulation suffers from stability problems. Previous methods tackled this problem using implicit integration, or by scaling the stiffness down globally by the number of contacts. Although this provides some control over the net stiffness, it leads to large penetrations, as small contacts are effectively ignored when compared to larger contacts. We propose an adaptive stiffness method that employs the Gauss map of contact normals to ensure a spatially uniform and controllable stiffness in all contact directions. Combined with virtual coupling saturation, penetration can be kept shallow and simulation remains stable, even for complex geometry in distributed contact. Our method is fast and can be applied to any penalty-based formulation between rigid objects. While used primarily for rigid objects, we also apply our method to reduced deformable objects. We demonstrate our approach on several challenging 6-DoF haptic rendering scenarios, such as car engine and landing gear virtual assembly.

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