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Customizable models simulate robots in 3D

August 04, 2010

Susan Rambo-August 04, 2010

Austin, TX: National Instruments is adding a non-programming interface for 3D modeling of robots to robotSim Pro, an add-on 3D robot simulator. Appropriately named robot Builder, the modeling interface was developed by NI's partner Cogmation Robotics as a drag and drop application to create and edit 3D models of robots by simulating the robot's active components. Models created in robot Builder can then be simulated in robotSim Pro immediately. Currently the components available are those in the LabView's Robotics Starter Kit, so the application is more suitable to consumer, education but will expand in the future to more industrial, commercial applications.

In robot Builder, users select a basic chassis and build the robot by dragging components, such as servos, motors, scanners, joints, arms, onto the chassis, and placing them exactly where they will be located. The designer can resize, rotate, reshape, color and group in 3D. Users can upload the 3D components that they've created using compatible 3-D programs and change the physics of the robot simulation, such as changing the weight, material, and friction of the robot

Cogmation says that if the model needs to be tweaked in robot Builder after running simulation, "the redesign-resimulation cycle takes seconds and can be repeated as often as desired."

LabView Robot Starter Kit

LabView's Robot Starter Kit.

robot Builder and robotSim Pro are certified "Compatible with LabVIEW." robotSim Pro is an add-on companion product to LabVIEW 2010 and ships in the LabVIEW 2010 install package. robotSim Pro also includes an NI Robotic Starter Kit (RSK) simulation featuring the LabVIEW Obstacle Avoidance control program. robotSim Pro and robot Builder can also be purchased separately from Cogmation Robotics. Shane Yanke, lead developer at Cogmation, says in the near future users will be able to download other components packages from Cogmation's web site: iRobot's Packbot, PC-Bot from White Box Robotics, iRobot Create, and Aldebaran Robotic's Nao Robot. The Packbot has more military applications.

Introduced early in 2010 as an extension to LabView, robotSim Pro simulates robots in environments. Users can customize their simulations by adding/saving/loading additional robots, components, and environments. Users can also customize environment shapes and objects, move and rotate objects through x, y or z axes, resize objects to create new variations of shapes and robots, and view robots and environments from any angle or zoom level.

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