On this page I will distill my insights from taking robot lab, so that you might be able to much more quickly make your way to where I am now in terms of understanding robotics simulation. While taking robot lab I focused entirely on the simulation side of the subject.Robotics Simulators can be sepereted into two groups based on their software licence. Currently the most developed and widely used open source simulator is player/stage/gazebo.indeed in general the player/stage/gazebo software package is considered by many to be the most widely used robotics simulation software on the market. While there are other simulators available few compare.
Summary of work
I spent the first three or four weeks trying to install player, stage, and gazebo as well as looking at some of the other options available to students for simulation of robotics. Once I installed and learned to use ROS i found that it was not necessary to install player, stage, and gazebo if your going to use ros because ros will do the work for you. After I had gazebo working with ros i spent two weeks working on learning urdf to make a simulated robot and then learning xacro to make it easier to alter and add to that simulated robot. After that I spent a week trying to learn how to control a robot in gazebo through ros but my efforts did not find any results so i began learning how to do so through player. As a result of that I learned how to define a world in stage. My last task was to learn to use player to control robots.
Before you can even consider using player/stage/gazebo, whether it be with or without ros, at this point it is very unlikely that you will be able to get it to work on any other operating system other than ubuntu. Luckly for you even if you have a computer running windows or mac os x, you can have a virtulization of ubuntu which will be good enough provided you are not using gazebo.
Player, stage, gazebo Section
Installing Player/stage/gazebo standalone
If you are going to use stage or gazebo you must first install player. Player is essentially software which allows your computer to communicate with your robot, interoperate its sensor output, and give it commands to move. When used with stage or gazebo it allows you to
Installing Player/Stage/gazebo with ros
- install player in ros
- install stage in ros
- install gazebo in ros
Defining a robot
- for Stage
- for Gazebo
- building robots with URDF
- building robots with XACRO
Programing a Robot for use with Player
Other simulators to look at
In this section I will talk briefly about three other simulators I was able to look at.