SIMBICON: Simple Biped Locomotion Control

ACM Transaction on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2007)

KangKang Yin   Kevin Loken    Michiel van de Panne

University of British Columbia

Real-time physics-based character simulation with our framework. (top) A single controller for a planar biped responds to unanticipated changes in terrain. (bottom) A walk controller reconstructed from motion capture data responds to a 350N;0.2s diagonal push to the torso.


Physics-based simulation and control of biped locomotion is difficult because bipeds are unstable, underactuated, high-dimensional dynamical systems. We develop a simple control strategy that can be used to generate a large variety of gaits and styles in real-time, including walking in all directions (forwards, backwards, sideways, turning), running, skipping, and hopping. Controllers can be developed using motion capture data or can be authored using a small number of parameters. The controllers are applied to 2D and 3D physically-simulated character models. Their robustness is demonstrated with respect to pushes in all directions, unexpected steps and slopes, and unexpected variations in kinematic and dynamic parameters. Direct transitions between controllers are demonstrated as well as parameterized control of changes in direction and speed. Feedback-error learning is applied to learn predictive torque models, which allows for the low-gain control that typifies many natural motions as well as producing smoother simulated motion.


    PDF (0.8M)

    QuickTime Video (61M)

   Java Applet for a planar 7-link biped
Java code (




                                      Hill Slip (0.7M)
     2D                            Hills (2.3M)
                                      High-to-Low gravity (1.8M)


                                      Drunk Walk (10.5M)
                                      Box Trip (2.4M)
     3D                            Spin Walk (16.7M)
                                      Limping (3.8M)
                                      Downhill (1.8M)
                                      Different Friction (9.5M)
    author = {KangKang Yin and Kevin Loken and Michiel van de Panne},
    title = {SIMBICON: Simple Biped Locomotion Control},
    journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
    year = {2007},
    volume = {26},
    number = {3},
    pages = {Article 105}
Code for SIMBICON controller editor and simulation
   NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada)
   Dana Sharon, Joe Laszlo, Peng Zhao, and anonymous reviewers