GSoC 2017 at MBDyn

This is my second time applying to the Google Summer of Code program, and I am happy to say I got in this time.

This was especially a pleasant surprise for me, as I do not come from a computing background (I’m a Mechanical Engineering major), and programming has been always a hobby for me.

To anyone in the same situation as me, thinking about applying to GSoC, the only advice I can give apart from the plethora of other blogs, is to play to your strengths. You are probably not going to outperform CS majors at their own game, so try to shine where you can (mine was Science related organisations).

Now, MBDyn, is an open source, general purpose Multibody Dynamics analysis software, and possibly the only free one, developed at the Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali, Politecnico di Milano.

The results of an MBDyn simulation are in either text form, or in binary (specifically, netCDF format). Users can use these results files, and plot data with their favorite tools (Matplotlib, MATLAB, etc). But plotting linear coordinates/Euler angles on a 2D plot is not intuitive.

This is where Blendyn comes in. Blendyn is an MBDyn addon for Blender, the most popular open source 3D animation software, where users can import results files generated by MBDyn, and animate them in 3D, and even render videos from these animations.

My project this summer is to add some much needed features to Blendyn, to make it more user-friendly and capable to utilize the full capabilities of MBDyn. Some of the major features I will be working on is

  • Visualization of internal forces and stress/strain fields of deformable components during animation
  • Live animation, where animation in Blender occurs in sync with each of MBDyn simulation.

among a lot of other stuff.

I hope I will be posting more updates in my project as the summer progresses.