A visualization tool to study the motion of complex 3D objects in space
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Visualization is the process of mapping numerical values onto perceptual dimensions. Visualization is a way to show results in a manner that is intuitive to humans. Pictures and animations presented properly can be easier to understand than numbers generated by a computer program. Graphical representation of ideas and results allows a larger audience to understand and appreciate them. Motion planning consists of moving an object (robot) from one configuration to another. In motion planning we are concerned with the path a robot takes to reach the goal position. Even in non-robotic applications like protein folding, we are concerned about the path the protein takes to fold to its native fold. Visualization allows us to see the robot interacting with its environment in the process of reaching the goal. This enables us to determine the quality of paths. It also allows humans to "tweak" the computer-generated paths to make them better by adding critical nodes that the computer might have missed. For complex robots and environments, visualization tools can help present the program output in a comprehendible format. The main objective of this project is to create a visualization tool (Vizmo++) to serve as an interface between motion planning algorithms and the researchers who use and design them. Vizmo++ will enable researchers to model their complex robots and environments and to see the results of their motion planning algorithms interactively. The software will simplify the construction of complex environments and will aid in visualizing the "paths" taken by their robot from one configuration to another. Vizmo++ is being designed in a highly extendable fashion to allow easy future expansion. The user interface is being designed so that the software is intuitive to use. Vizmo++ now allows researchers to study the solutions to complex motion planning problems by stepping through animations. It also enables them to save the animation for use in movies and presentations. Scientists can now view the entire path the robot takes to go from the start to the goal position. They can also change the representation of the robot to a point or cube if so desired. Vizmo++ is currently being enhanced to support a wider array of robots. In the future it will be possible to assemble motion planning problem environments in Vizmo++. Ultimately, Vizmo++ will serve to create and present motion-planning problems along with their solutions in an easy to understand fashion.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 26-27).
Sandhu, Bharatinder Singh (2003). A visualization tool to study the motion of complex 3D objects in space. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from