[Ieee_vis_open_positions] PhD position in character simulation, optimal control, Rennes and Toulouse (France)

Franck Multon franck.multon at irisa.fr
Mon Nov 12 14:56:45 CET 2018

Dear colleagues,

please find below a PhD position co-supervised between MimeTIC team in 
Rennes, and CNRS/LAAS in Toulouse. Would you please forward to potential 
students who could be interested in character simulation and optimal 

The topics is:

*PhD offer: HoBis: simulation of plausible bipedal locomotion of human 
and non-human primate.*


Within the framework of a national collaborative project “HoBis” funded 
by the French ANR agency, the goal of this position is to design a new 
simulation framework aiming at simulating plausible bipedal locomotion 
given an anatomical model. The project gathered experts in 
paleoanthropology, anatomy, biomechanics, computer science and robotics. 
This part of the HoBis project aims at increasing fundamental knowledge 
about bipedal locomotion of disappeared species (Afarensis, 
Neanderthal...) in an evolutionary perspective. To achieve such 
challenge, anatomists and paleoanthropologists from the Museum National 
d’Histoires Naturelles (CNRS) together with a CNRS primatology platform 
will gather a unique collection of anatomical and motion data for 
various species, such as humans and non-human (olive baboons, bonobos…) 
primates. Thus, this PhD project aims at simulating bipedal locomotion 
of living species (primates and humans) first, and then to adapt the 
simulation to disappeared species. MimeTIC Inria team (computer 
sciences, biomechanics and sports sciences) and CNRS-LAAS (robotics and 
biomechanics) will supervise the PhD to address the problem of 
simulating plausible locomotion for such anatomical models. The 
co-supervised PhD position will work on this specific task, in 
collaboration with the two teams involved in the HoBis Project.


*MimeTIC inria*team (team.inria.fr/mimetic/ 
<https://team.inria.fr/mimetic/>) is associated with M2S laboratory 
(Movement, Sport, Health) of the University of Rennes 2 is part of the 
top 200 in the Shanghai ranking of the best universities in the field of 
sports sciences. MimeTIC promotes a multidisciplinary approach based on 
computer simulation and motion analysis, in order to better analyze and 
simulate human motion. MimeTIC can rely on an exceptional ImmerMove 
platform that includes a virtual reality room (12x4x4 m) and a sports 
hall (30x20x10 m) dedicated exclusively to the analysis of human 
movement. This platform includes various human motion capture systems, 
external force evaluation and electromyographic systems. MimeTIC has a 
long experience in human motion simulation using various approaches 
developed in the computer animation domain. MimeTIC also develops an 
expertise in musculoskeletal analysis and simulation using nonlinear 

*CNRS/LAAS* (www.laas.fr). The Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture 
of Systems, LAAS, of Toulouse, has a long experience in human movement 
analysis, humanoid robot motion planning and control. In 2000, it gave 
rise to the start-up Kineo CAM devoted to motion generation for virtual 
prototyping. Gepetto team research aims to model, understand and 
generate anthropomorphic movements for humanoid robots, virtual 
mannequins and human beings. This implies a research at the crossing of 
robotics, automatics and control, biomechanics and neurosciences, 
integrated toward the production of algorithms for motion and action 
modelling. The team is recognized as a world leader of anthropomorphic 
motion generation and humanoid robotics. LAAS has developed HPP and 
Pinocchio, software development tools dedicated to motion planning and 
control for complex redundant robots. Many original results have been 
experimentally validated on the several platforms of the laboratory 
(humanoid robot HRP-2, Romeo and Pyrene). LAAS-Gepetto was engaged in 
several FP7 and H2020 european projects

The PhD will mainly take place in MimeTIC in Rennes, in Inria building. 
The recruited PhD will have a laptop and an office in Inria, with all 
the facilities proposed by this institute. A long stay (one year) in 
CNRS/LAAS in Toulouse is expected during the three years of the PhD to 
practice optimal control and DDP (differential dynamic Programming) . 
The recruited PhD will participate in the meetings and joint works of 
the national HoBis project. A budget is dedicated to travels and 
publication fees to encourage scientific publications all along the PhD.

  Description of the expecting work

The recruited person will have to propose a new framework to simulate 
plausible locomotion based on anatomical descriptions. Previous works in 
computer animation [Multon1999] proposed to address this problem as a 
motion retargeting problem [Gleicher1998, Kulpa2005]: adapting the 
trajectories of a character to another one with different morphologies. 
This approach is mainly based on solving kinematic constraints to ensure 
non-sliding foot contact with the ground, or ensure static balance. 
However, it does not enable to simulate totally new motion that 
correspond to a given anatomical description. To tackle this problem, 
other works proposed to model gait kinematics as a parametric 
mathematical function, and use non-linear optimization to calculate 
plausible locomotion for simplified anatomical models [Nicolas 2008, 
Nicolas2009]. However all these approaches based on computing kinematic 
trajectories fail to ensure the physical realism of the resulting motion.

An alternative consists in modeling bipedal gait as a sequence of states 
(single, double stances…) and to design controller to drive a physical 
model based on the anatomical description, plus masses and inertias 
[Yin2007]. Although the result is physically valid, the decomposition 
into states strongly influence the result, which is a too strong 
constraint for simulating very new gait patterns. At LAAS-CNRS 
[Maldonado 2018, Saab 2011], two ways are actually used to simulate a 
given motion. In a first way named hierarchical control, the motion is 
generated by prioritizing some tasks (i.e: foot position first and 
center of mass trajectory in second for example). In another way [Costes 
2018, Turpin 2017], optimal control leads to determine whole body motion 
by minimizing a given cost functions (i.e: energy expenditure, joint 
torque, …). In this project we will define which way could be used with 
the maximal efficiency to simulate plausible gait.


KK Yin, K Loken, M Van de Panne (2007) Simbicon: Simple biped locomotion 
control. ACM Transactions on Graphics, Volume 26 Issue 3, Article No. 105.

M. Gleicher (1998) Retargetting motion to new characters. Proceedings of 
ACM Siggraph 1998, 33-42.

F Multon, L France, MP Cani‐Gascuel, G Debunne (1999) Computer animation 
of human walking: a survey. The journal of visualization and computer 
animation 10 (1), 39-54

R Kulpa, F Multon, B Arnaldi (2005) Morphology‐independent 
representation of motions for interactive human‐like animation. Computer 
Graphics Forum 24 (3), 343-351

G Nicolas, F Multon, G Berillon, F Marchal (2007) From bone to plausible 
bipedal locomotion using inverse kinematics. Journal of biomechanics 40 
(5), 1048-1057

G Nicolas, F Multon, G Berillon (2009) From bone to plausible bipedal 
locomotion. Part II: Complete motion synthesis for bipedal primates. 
Journal of biomechanics 42 (8), 1127-1133

Saab L., Mansard N., Keith F., Fourquet J-Y, et Soueres P. 2011. « 
Generation of dynamic motion

for anthropomorphic systems under prioritized equality and inequality 
constraints ». Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2011 IEEE International 
Conference on, mai, 1091‑1096.

Spontaneous change from seated to standing cycling position with 
increasing power is associated with a minimization of cost functions. 
Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol. 36(18), pp907-913. Doi : 

TURPIN N., COSTES A., MORETTO P., WATIER B. (2017) Can muscle 
coordination explain the advantage of using the standing position during 
intense cycling? Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Vol 20, pp 
611-616. Doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2016.10.019 

MALDONADO G, SOUERES P., WATIER B. (2019) From biomechanics to robotics. 
STAR book in Biomechanics of Anthropomorphic Systems, Springer. 
10.1007/978-3-319-93870-7_3 <https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93870-7_3>

MALDONADO G, BAILLY F., SOUERES P., WATIER B. (2018) An extension of the 
Uncontrolled Manifold theory to dynamic movements: application to 
take-off and landing motions in parkour. Scientific Report, Vol 20, 
Article number 12219. Doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30681-6 


*Degree: *Master degree or engineer school in computer simulation, 
computer sciences, robotics, or biomechanics

*Technical skills and level required:*

• Computer sciences, and especially computer simulation would be an 
advantage (Matlab, C++, Python)

• Applied mathematics, especially nonlinear optimization

• Skills in (bio)mechanics and physics would be a plus

*Languages :*English with good practice would be an advantage

*Relational skills:*work in a group of scientist, dynamic, curious, 
interested in both simulation, robotics, human motion, software 
development and experimental set-ups.


Franck Multon, MimeTIC, fmulton at irisa.fr <mailto:fmulton at irisa.fr>

Bruno Watier, CNRS-LAAS, bruno.watier at laas.fr <mailto:bruno.watier at laas.fr>


Professor, University of Rennes 2

Leader of MimeTIC team (University of Rennes2, INRIA, ENS Rennes, University of Rennes1, CNRS)

M2S Research Unit
ENS Rennes
Campus de Ker lann, Avenue Robert Schuman, 35170 Bruz - FRANCE
web : http://www.m2slab.com
tel : +33 631646357
fax : +33 299847100
mail : fmulton at irisa.fr

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