Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NXT PhysX

I keep running into new questions when thinking about the Microsoft Robotics Studio. The offical statements by Microsoft have said that they will use Ageia Technologies PhysX engine. So if my robot drives around, and picks something up, the simulation will accurately simulate the stress on the part.

What if my robot picked up a Lego pin, and then pushed the pin into a Lego beam? Would the simulator accurately predict that the pin clicked in place? Is it possible to create a Lego Mindstorms NXT robot that is held together entirely by the laws of physics (as it is in real life), using pins and beams? Could I drive my robot into the wall and break it? Could I study how motors are stressing under particular setups, and how to improve my construction?

I imagine the answer to most of these questions is: not at this time. A robot simulator will really stress test the PhysX chips way beyond the level any videogame can.

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