Software and libraries for robotics – Resources


The world of robotics is a complex one, demanding the collaboration of both hardware and software to bring robotic creations to life. While the physical components like motors, sensors, and actuators are crucial, the software and libraries that power them act as the brain, enabling them to perceive, reason, and act upon their environment.

This diverse collection of software and libraries provides roboticists with a vast toolbox to tackle various challenges. From simulating robots in realistic environments to controlling their movements with precision, these tools empower researchers, developers, and hobbyists alike to bring their robotic dreams to reality.

This introduction serves as a guide to some of the most popular and versatile software and libraries available for robotics development.

Robot Simulators:

Gazebo: A popular open-source 3D robot simulator known for its realistic physics engine and rich plugin ecosystem. It allows users to create complex simulations for various robot models and environments.
Simbad: An open-source 2D/3D robot simulator written in Java and Jython. It offers a simpler environment compared to Gazebo and is suitable for educational purposes or rapid prototyping.
Morse: A general-purpose simulator that can handle both indoor and outdoor environments in 3D. It allows for simulating various scenarios like navigation and manipulation for research purposes.
V-REP: A commercial robot simulator offering a 3D environment with source code availability. It supports multiple scripting languages and APIs, making it versatile for customization.
Webots: A commercial development environment specifically designed for mobile robots. It provides tools for modeling, programming, and simulating robot behaviors in realistic scenarios.

Robot Operating System (ROS) and Tools:

ROS: An open-source framework offering a collection of libraries and tools to simplify robot software development. It provides a standardized approach for communication, device control, and data processing across diverse robot platforms.
ROS2: The next generation of ROS with significant improvements over the original version. It offers better performance, scalability, and security for complex robotic applications.
ROS Behavior Trees: An open-source library built on top of ROS, allowing the creation of robot behaviors through visual tree structures called “Behavior Trees.” This simplifies the development of complex decision-making logic.

Other Software and Libraries:

RobWork: A collection of C++ libraries for robot simulation and control, used for research, education, and practical applications.
MRPT: Provides developers with portable and well-tested libraries for various aspects of robotics research, covering data structures and algorithms for common tasks.
Robotics Library (RL): A self-contained C++ library for core robotics functionalities like kinematics, motion planning, and control.
Carmen: An open-source collection of software modules for mobile robot control, offering features like base and sensor control, navigation, and mapping.
YARP: Yet Another Robot Platform, offering a collection of libraries and tools for robot development and control.
Drake: A toolbox for planning, control, and analysis of complex robotic systems, particularly focusing on non-linear dynamics.
Neurorobotics Platform (NRP): An online simulation system allowing users to simulate robots controlled by spiking neural networks, relevant for research in bio-inspired robotics.
The Player Project: Provides free software tools for integrating robots and sensors with applications.
OpenAI’s Roboschool: Open-source software for robot simulation integrated with OpenAI Gym, a popular platform for machine learning research.
ViSP: An open-source library focused on visual servoing, enabling the development of control algorithms based on visual feedback from cameras.
g2core: An open-source motion control software designed for CNC machines and robots, compatible with Arduino Due microcontrollers.
ur5controller: An open-source controller for the UR5 robot, integrated with ROS to facilitate control and interaction within the ROS ecosystem.
RBDL: An open-source C++ library for robot dynamics and kinematics, including both forward and inverse calculations. It also supports contact and loop constraints for complex robot interactions.
Unity Robotics Hub: A central repository for open-source resources related to using Unity, a popular game engine, for robotics simulations. It includes packages, tutorials, and information on integrating ROS with Unity.