We live in a time where our phones have computing power that would have been the envy of NASA a few decades ago. So, in theory, we should be able to simulate just about anything. Thanks to [rhoban], robots you design in OnShape — a popular CAD tool — are now easier to simulate using several common simulation tools.
Electronic circuits are pretty easy to simulate, because we typically draw schematics and circuit simulators can capture those schematics readily. But simulating physics for robotic designs is a bit trickier. Gazebo and Pybullet both can use SDF files or URDF. However, building those files is often a separate process from actual physical design even though you probably did the design using a CAD tool. Even if you don’t use OnShape, you can probably import your preferred format and then bridge to the simulation file format without having to manually recreate your design. You can see the author walk through the process in the video below.
The program does use the OnShape API, so you’ll need a key for that. The example quadruped looks like a cool design. Once you have the design in the right format, you can use multiple tools to work with it from a simulation perspective.
We’ve seen URDF exports for SolidWorks before. If you want a chance to play with Pybullet, try Boston Dynamic’s Spot robot.
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