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Tools for Robotics

About This Page

The single most important goal of the Rossum Project is to foster the development and creation of robots and robotic systems. Mastering the Art of Robotics is not easy. The tools presented on this page are intended to help. Here robotics enthusiasts can find links to design utilities and other tools designed expressly for robotics. This software was written by developers who needed a tool to "get the job done" and were willing to share their work with fellow roboticists.

So far, we only have a few modules. We're looking more. Have something you want to share? Need help getting started on a tool you'd like to write? Let us know (see our Project Page for contact information).

In the table below, the numeric link takes you to the referenced page or site
while the [abstract] link moves you down to an item given below.

The Tools
[1.]  [abstract] The Motion Applet – Path modeling for the differential steering system of robot locomotion.
[2.]  [abstract] The Encoder Designer – A design tool for encoder wheel patterns
[3.]  [abstract] RP1 – A mobile-robot simulator
[4.]  [abstract] Map Viewer – A Mapping Tool For Mobile Robotics

The Tools

The Motion Appliet

Author: Michael Gauland and Jing YE
Listed: Jan 2001
System: Java capable web browsers or other Applet viewers

The Motion Applet is an interactive tool for viewing the path of a robot given a particular set of inputs (wheel speed, acceleration, the robot's track width, etc.). As you modify its parameters, the Applet shows the predicted trajectory of the robot based on your inputs. This design tool provides an excellent illustration of the differential steering system for robot locomotion. You may use it to help design your robot's drive system or to predict how an implementation will behave. And it's kind of fun to play with too...

The Motion Applet is a classic example of the open-source tradition. The original version was written by Michael Gauland based on the model presented in a paper written as part of The Rossum Project (see Differential Steering). The fact that it was released as open-source software allowed Jing YE, a second developer, to follow up with a series of improvements... most notably, adding the ability to handle acceleration factors. If you wish, you may also extract the trajectory modeling code from this module to use in your own robotic systems.

Link to The Motion Applet.

Encoder Designer

Author: Scott Boskovich
Listed: July 2002, Updated March 2005
System: Microsoft Windows

The Encoder Designer is a tool that generates the pattern for an incremental encoder wheel (optical or otherwise) based on parameters that you specify. It can handle up to three encoder channels and provides a flexible set of inputs. Designs created using the application can be sent directly to your PC's printer.

Anyone who has ever tried to design an encoder pattern by hand will appreciate how much easier it is to do using this application.

You may obtain the latest version of the Encoder Designer at Scott's Webpage.

The RP1 Robot Simulator

Author: G.W. Lucas
Listed: May 19, 1999
Updated: June 2002
System: All Systems (written in Java)

RP1 is a modest, 2D, mobile-robot simulator intended to assist in the development of software and algorithms for mobile robots. Because it's not coupled to any particular robot platform or hardware, the simulator allows you to model a robot based on your own specifications. The RP1 simulator is written in Java, but a C/C++ API is also provided.

Special Thanks: James Y. Wilson for the creation of the C/C++ API

Link to The RP1 Robot Simulator

Map Viewer – A Mapping Tool for Mobile Robotics

Author: Shane O'Sullivan
Listed: Oct 25, 2004
System: Microsoft Windows

Before the introduction of Map Viewer, the most significant impediment to using RP1 was the difficulty of creating floor plans for the simulated environment. Now, author Shane O'Sullivan has created a CAD-like tool that makes it possible to construct floor plans quickly and easily. The Map Viewer application also includes support for alternate robot simulators such as CARMEN, Saphira, and Player/Stage.

Shane developed Map Viewer to support his own robotics research and many of its features reflect that noble pedigree. For example, he includes functions for generating Voronoi diagrams from occupancy grids, generating a parameterized path using a modified A* algorithm, converting grid maps (images) to vector-based maps, etc.

Link to Map Viewer

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This page Copyright (C) 2002 by G.W. Lucas. All rights reserved.
Copyright for other items as marked by the authors.