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Best robotics platforms?

Posted by xclusive585 
Best robotics platforms?
February 11, 2013 01:16AM
For simulation and/or firmware/programming purposes what are some of the better softwares out there?
I've just learned of the player-stage combo being very popular.

Any other robotics platforms worth looking into, open-source free or otherwise?
Re: Best robotics platforms?
February 12, 2013 02:34PM
I've decided on The Player Project for my platform. When coupled with Stage and Gazebo, it offers a full environment for testing and software development that allows real-world or simulated control of bots. Once you've designed something in the software environment, it can be placed on a real bot and should work as expected.

I like this solution. Also Player/Stage/Gazebo is used by many serious people doing robotics as a way to demonstrate a new idea to the community. You can run your designed software on a bot on OSs like robodeb etc.

This left me trying to figure out the best way to run the software. You can compile it yourself (blah), or use a pre-compiled OS with Player already installed on it. I found out that Fedora actually supports it in their repositories, and repository packages are the easiest to install (minus the issues with simply picking the latest source to use at the time of Distro testing... gr).
So even though I really dislike Fedora, looks like I'm going to be using it again somewhat. I will try a virtual install of it and hope that the simple 3D used in Gazebo works ok in my virtualbox.

My first project is a 6-degree arm. I plan on doing a simple hardware design very reminiscent of the reprap project, focusing on minimal parts use and ease of building/sourcing parts. Along with some "Toyota" style keeping it simple, i.e. fasteners that hold together whole groups of parts, etc. Definitely won't be a workhorse but I plan on gearing it well for torque and using our beloved Nema17s, Depending on a lot of math I have yet to do, it should be capable of picking at least a couple Lbs (1kilo). I plan on the entire project taking me about 2 years give or take, maybe more. There is a lot for me to learn and I have a busy life/work/family etc.

I will start with learning a bit about player/stage and then once I have a functioning virtual unit I will start on the hardware design of the arm. Once a hardware prototype is built I expect one of the largest hurdles to be deciding on electronics/software method for the Bot itself.

I will update with some tangible details in a new thread in the somewhat distant future.
Re: Best robotics platforms?
February 12, 2013 03:34PM
... I was involved in the c't-bot project: [www.heise.de]

I'ts open source and has a real cpable simulator ... but it's mostly in German and not very active recently confused smiley

Re: Best robotics platforms?
February 18, 2013 02:04AM
I've played some with Player/Stage and found it more to be for groups of robots doing tasks, rather than for kinematics.

Then I stumbled on OpenRAVE which has an emphasis on kinematics.

The GUI simulation portion is bulky but works, and more importantly this software seems to be much more geared towards my (big) little project.

I loaded up an example robot/simulation, and it beats the hell outta my CPU while running, so I can get a feeling for all the computation going on driving this virtual bot.

But this should be a good enough platform to use to script up a virtual arm for myself, so I can have some proof-of-concept and initial scripting to drive this thing.

Like I said, this project could easily take me y e a r s...

Here's a pic of that example arm doing it's thing in a simulation.

Looks like a proper fit for my task, I'd say.
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