In a quest to make virtual characters more realistic, engineers have been working on ways to make their skeletal structures and muscles more like those found in living beings. Recently, a technology was shown off which takes those simulated biological components to the next level.
Engineers Seunghwan Lee, Kyoungmin Lee, Moonseok Park, and Jehee Lee published the paper Scalable Muscle-actuated Human Simulation and Control, which includes a humanoid digital model with a full skeleton and 346 muscles The digital characters can even learn to kick, jump, run, and even lift weights. Two Minute Papers provides a brief explanation of the tech in the video below:
The simulation technology also has real promise for helping to learn about people with disabilities, how factors like bone deformity, muscle weakness, contracture, and even the use of a prosthesis affect their gait, and possibly to help doctors predict what sort of prosthetics or even surgeries might improve their movements.
Code for the project, dubbed MASS (Muscle-Actuated Skeletal System) has been released on GitHub.