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Vortex is a high-fidelity, realtime physics engine developed by CMLabs Simulations that simulates rigid body dynamics, collision detection, contact determination, and dynamic reactions. Vortex adds accurate physical motion and interactions to objects in visual-simulation applications for operator training, mission planning, product concept validation, vehicle and robotics testing, haptics devices, immersive and virtual reality (VR) environments.
The Vortex C++ SDK has several modules that simulate physics-based particles, sensors, floating bodies, cable systems, grasping, and wheeled and tracked vehicles. Developers integrate their projects into 3D visualization frameworks such as OpenSceneGraph (OSG) and Vega Prime, and deploy them in environments that contain software-in-the-loop (SIL), MATLAB, hardware-in-the-loop (HIL), and motion platform components.
|Stable release||Vortex 5.0.4 / October 26, 2011|
|Operating system||Windows, Linux|
Vortex is developed by CMLabs Simulations Inc., a private company established in Montreal in 2001. CMLabs was created when the management of MathEngine Canada Inc. purchased a portion of the business from MathEngine PLC, the parent company in the UK. MathEngine Canada Inc. was originally the research and development team responsible for creating the Karma physics simulation engine for computer games.
CMLabs shifted its focus away from gaming to the visual simulation for training (VST) market, targeting Vortex at robotics and heavy-equipment operator training in both commercial and military applications.
The initial version of Vortex was launched in 2001. In April 2011, CMLabs released Version 5.0
Vortex has been employed in a wide range of commercial, military, and academic projects. To date, it has been used to simulate vehicles, robotics, and heavy equipment in hundreds of construction, mining, forestry, marine, subsea, planetary, academic, and military environments. It has also been used to simulate the movements and behaviour of animals and insects for scientific purposes. Sample examples are:
• The tEODor Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robot simulator developed by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) for training purposes. EADS uses Vortex to model the physical behaviour of the robot as it maneuvers in its simulated environment, interacting with other objects while processing user commands.
• A driverless vehicle designed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Red Team Racing for the DARPA Grand Challenge that uses Vortex for preplanning and onboard navigation to “accurately simulate the vehicle as it navigates the terrain, including both local area constraints and global path planning objectives.”
• Heavy-equipment operator training simulators such as tower crane, mobile crane, crawler crane, and concrete pump for the Operating Engineers Training Institute of Ontario and the International Union of Operating Engineers – Local 721. These simulators are used to prepare operators for proper equipment use and accident avoidance.
• Georgia State University’s AnimatLab project, which is a simulation software environment that models how the body and nervous system dynamically interact in a Vortex-governed virtual physical world where relevant neural and physical parameters can be observed and manipulated.
- David M. Bourg, Physics for Game Developers. O’Reilly, 2001.
- Murilo G. Coutinho, Dynamic Simulations of Multibody Systems. Springer-Verlag, 2001.
- Jack B. Kuipers, Quaternions and Rotation Sequences. Princeton University Press, 1998.
- Cornelius Lanczos, The Variational Principles of Mechanics. Dover Books, 1986.
- Vortex home page
- A Virtual Highway for Road Warriors, MT2 2008 Volume 13, Issue 6
- Dimajix Developer Blog
- The Daily Commercial News, May 12, 2008
- Visual Interactive Simulation Lecture, Spring 2005, Physics Engines