[ros-users] Fuerte SIG 2.10: Efficient Simulation/Control of Articulated Robots

Mike Stilman mstilman at cc.gatech.edu
Wed Sep 14 05:40:21 UTC 2011

Dear ROS Users,

In a continued effort to contribute robust and useful tools to the ROS 
community, please check out ROS Fuerte Planning SIG 2.10. and consider 
joining the effort if you agree that it will be valuable to the community.

SIG 2.10: Efficient Simulation and Control of Articulated Robots
The goal is to develop and integrate a unified dynamic simulation/control 
infrastructure with efficient representation, efficient computation of 
articulated body dynamics in generalized coordinates, contact handling and 
its link to planning, trajectory generation and rapid motion.

Currently ROS users link numerous data structures and packages to achieve 
dynamic simulation for control and controller validation. For instance, 
URDF data structures are copied to KDL ones to use kinematic solvers and 
then again to ODE or Bullet for dynamic simulation and contact resolution. 
This can be computationally inefficient and difficult to master for 
end-users. Furthermore, the use of ODE/Bullet for articulated body 
simulation can also cause instability and inefficiency. These simulators 
are designed to handle individual bodies with iterative (penalty) 
resolution of constraints. This SIG would focus on the development of a 
single data structure that can handle arbitrary rigid and articulated 
bodies through featherstone-like dynamics solvers for handling articulated 
dynamics in generalized (minimal) coordinates.

We also aim to have the SIG consider broadening the library with a suite 
of algorithms based on forward and inverse kinematics and dynamics such as 
robot control, animation and planning.

Prof. Karen Liu and I of the Graphics and Humanoid Robotics Labs at GT are 
already well into the development of a data structure and simulator that 
satisfies these needs. The missing link was collision detection and 
conveniently, Jia Pan, Sachin and Dinesh Manocha have just created an 
efficient BSD collision detection library in ROS! We are now using this 
library to implement LCP-based contact handling which will complete the 
first beta of the new simulator to be released open source (BSD) to the 
ROS community in a few weeks.

The goal of this SIG would be to jointly develop this library, integrate 
it with Gazebo simulation as well as motion planners, controllers and 
optimal motion generation algorithms. We think this will be a fantastic 
resource that will spur collaboration between different groups that 
require a single highly efficient solution to robot kinematics and 
dynamics including contact between robots, objects and enviroments.

If you are interested, please shoot us an email:
(mstilman at cc.gatech.edu, karenliu at cc.gatech.edu)

And sign up for SIG 2.10 at:



Mike Stilman
Assistant Professor
Director: Humanoid Robotics Lab
Robotics and Intelligent Machines
Georgia Institute of Technology
email: mstilman at cc.gatech.edu
cell:  (650)283-4284

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