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Cornell University Program of Computer Graphics
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Collision detection for interactive graphics applications.

Philip M. Hubbard.

IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 1(3):218--230, September 1995.

Collision detection and response are important for interactive graphics applications such as vehicle simulators and virtual reality. Unfortunately, previous collision-detection algorithms are too slow for interactive use. This paper presents a new algorithm for rigid or articulated objects that meets performance goals through a form of time-critical computing. The algorithm supports progressive refinement, detecting collisions between successively tighter approximations to object surfaces as the application allows it more processing time. The algorithm uses simple four-dimensional geometry to approximate motion, and hierarchies of spheres to approximate three-dimensional surfaces at multiple resolutions. In a sample application, the algorithm allows interactive performance that is not possible with a good previous algorithm. In particular, the new algorithm provides acceptable accuracy while maintaining a steady and high frame rate, which in some cases improves on the previous algorithm's rate by more than two orders of magnitude.

This paper is available as a compressed Postscript file (142K).

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