Tipsy Turvy


Image(s): 640*480

Jpeg Image (49 Ko) Jpeg Image (46 Ko)



  • IBM T. J. Watson Research Center

Video(s) and extracted images: 320*240

Video QuickTime -> Film/Video (3.4 Mo)
Jpeg Images -> (15 Ko) (11 Ko)

Video QuickTime -> Film/Video (4.8 Mo)
Jpeg Images -> (11 Ko) (9 Ko)


At the start of the animation, the Utah teapot is suffering from a hangover. It hiccups twice, bouncing its lid into the air, startling nearby glassware. Then the teapot sneezes violently, propelling itself and its lid into the air.
When the teapot falls back to the table it lands on its spout, and the pot smashes into thousands of pieces. Teapot fragments ricochet off the other occupants of the table, knocking vases and bottles aside.
By the time the teapot lid lands, the table has been cleared by the teapot's crash.

Technical Information

All of the behaviors displayed in the animation are the consequence of computer simulation. The "hiccups" were obtained by altering the force of gravity applied to the teapot. The teapot was made to sneeze by briefly softening the ceramic material, then stiffining it again abruptly.

All objects were constructed from a mathematical model that simulates networks of masses and springs. The internal dynamics results from the contraction and expansion of damped springs.
Interaction between objects results from response forces being applied after collision detection. The physical simulation is performed by applying Eulerian integration to Newtonian dynamics.

The stiffness of the teapot was limited by the computation required for a stiff system of differential equations. Breakage is modelled by introducing a threshold value to the springs that hold the teapot together.
The teapot was seeded with random variations in the breakage threshold to create the effect of random defects in the material.

More Information...

  • Some internal links :

    (oo) Same Institute
    (ooo)Humming Along
  • Some more Comments :

    second INA Pixel Prize, Research Category

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