Keywords: System Identification, Neural Radiance Fields, Differentiable Physics, Material Point Method
Abstract: Existing approaches to system identification (estimating the physical parameters of an object) from videos assume known object geometries. This precludes their applicability in a vast majority of scenes where object geometries are complex or unknown. In this work, we aim to identify parameters characterizing a physical system from a set of multi-view videos without any assumption on object geometry or topology. To this end, we propose "Physics Augmented Continuum Neural Radiance Fields" (PAC-NeRF), to estimate both the unknown geometry and physical parameters of highly dynamic objects from multi-view videos. We design PAC-NeRF to only ever produce physically plausible states by enforcing the neural radiance field to follow the conservation laws of continuum mechanics. For this, we design a hybrid Eulerian-Lagrangian representation of the neural radiance field, i.e., we use the Eulerian grid representation for NeRF density and color fields, while advecting the neural radiance fields via Lagrangian particles. This hybrid Eulerian-Lagrangian representation seamlessly blends efficient neural rendering with the material point method (MPM) for robust differentiable physics simulation. We validate the effectiveness of our proposed framework on geometry and physical parameter estimation over a vast range of materials, including elastic bodies, plasticine, sand, Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, and demonstrate significant performance gain on most tasks.
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