Collision theory

By , last updated February 18, 2016

What is computer physics?

Computer physics is the art of simulating a world inside a computer. The world doesn’t have to be real or resemble anything like our own planet. In a simulation, you can “invent” anti-gravity and see what happens when everything repulses all other objects. There are also some technical limitations when determining what kind of simulation you want to simulate. If you want to simulate how galaxies interact with each other, there is no point in simulating every star and planet in every galaxy. And, simulating every atom in every star and planet is certainly not feasible. A simulation is in most cases a simplification of a real world problem.

Collision detection and response

Collision detection is fundamental to all physics based applications, including computer games, physically based simulations, robotics, virtual prototyping, and engineering simulations. In computer games, collision detection simulates a real world (or a fantasy world) where things cannot go through each other. In computer animations, collision detections is used, for example, to constrain simulation of cloth, ensuring that clothing don’t slide off a character. In robotics, collision detection is used for path planning and ensuring that robots steer away from obstacles.

Collision detection in computer science is a computational problem of detecting a contact between objects. When two object collide a response needs to be calculated as well. Here is an example of how Collision detection can be used in practice in computer simulations.

Basics of Collision detection or the core of it in computer simulations and animations is testing of primitives. The simpler the primitive the faster a collision detection is calculated.

Basic primitives

Testing box against box

Testing sphere against sphere simple and advanced

Testing box against sphere

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