On Monday, Aug. 6, University of Southern California Computer Science Professor Jernej Barbič released the world's most comprehensive library of 3D deformable modeling software for free open source download.

The package, called Vega, allows users to simulate and move complex objects, bending, stretching and twisting them in real time. A potentially powerful tool for engineers, Vega is optimized for speed and can animate the motion of any 3D solid object, under any user-specified forces. No other free library offers such a comprehensive range of materials and deformable simulation methods.

Vega's license allows anyone in the world to freely use and modify its over 50,000 lines of software code, for academic research or commercial applications. The package works out of a standard computer system for representing 3D objects, dividing their interiors into pyramids ('tetrahedrons'). In a matter of seconds, Vega can simulate both geometrically simple objects as well as complex objects made up of hundreds of thousands of tetrahedra. While portions of Vega have been in use in various forms for years, Barbič has carefully edited and optimized the current package, which he will consistently update.

"A lot of this kind of research code goes up on the web, but the software is often either too specific, or too complex and inter-tangled," Barbič said. "Vega is now general purpose, well documented, and highly modular, with its components independently reusable. The code also intentionally avoids advanced C/C++ language constructs, so that it is accessible to a wide range of programmers."

Barbič also hopes to use Vega in surgical simulations, using the system's ability to move, but not cut, its subjects.