[ODE] how exactly Contact Joints work?

Nguyen Binh ngbinh at gmail.com
Tue Aug 29 14:08:13 MST 2006

ODE contact joint form a complimentarity constraint in the big matrix. The
complimentarity constraint is:
0<= v comp. d >=0, where v is relative normal velocity of the two contact
points and d is penetration depth along the normal.

The stepper in ODE just need to solve the LCP. So if the result is feasible,
then the contacts condition should be satisfied.
Also, there are many ways to solve a LCP...

The base line is: if you view the contact as a methematical condition and
the stepper just try to solve for them then you won't have
to worry about one, double or multiple contacts.

Hope it helps.

On 8/29/06, Roland Plüss <roland at rptd.dnsalias.net> wrote:
> scanning through the documentation i could not really find this one out.
> so far i know that a contact joint composes of a Hit-Point, a Normal and
> a Depth. ode has no knowledge about the shape of the colliding geometry
> hence it only knows the current Body Position, Body Velocity, Body
> Momentum and those three values there. now how exactly does it work with
> the quick step function?
> so let's take an example of a box like this:
>    \
> +--+\
> |  | \   velocity: down-right
> +--+  \
> -------
> there exist hence two contact points: one with the sloped wall and one
> with the floor. this yields two contact joints with two different
> depths. now does ode calculate the force needed to push the object out
> of each contact point once or for every iteration? how does it know when
> to stop? using the current object position compared with the position at
> the start of the function and then comparing with depth?
> how in this situation?
> +------+
> |      |    velocity: down
> +------+
> --+  +--
>   |  |
> the box now rests on a slit in the ground. there are two contact joints.
> calculating the force needed to push the object away from the ground for
> each of the contact results twice the force needed.
> how does ode handle these double-contact situations? i try to figure out
> how i need to use contact joints to obtain a correct result and just
> can't get my head around it.
> --
> Leader and Head Programmer
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Binh Nguyen
Computer Science Department
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, NY, 12180
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