RoboSim (Robot Simulation) is a computer program that simulates the poses and motions of the Robonaut — a developmental anthropomorphic robot that has a complex system of joints with 43 degrees of freedom and multiple modes of operation and control. RoboSim performs a full kinematic simulation of all degrees of freedom. It also includes interface components that duplicate the functionality of the real Robonaut interface with control software and human operators. Basically, users see no difference between the real Robonaut and the simulation. Consequently, new control algorithms can be tested by computational simulation, without risk to the Robonaut hardware, and without using excessive Robonaut-hardware experimental time, which is always at a premium. Previously developed software incorporated into RoboSim includes Enigma (for graphical displays), OSCAR (for kinematical computations), and NDDS (for communication between the Robonaut and external software). In addition, RoboSim incorporates unique inverse-kinematical algorithms for chains of joints that have fewer than six degrees of freedom (e.g., finger joints). In comparison with the algorithms of OSCAR, these algorithms are more readily adaptable and provide better results when using equivalent sets of data.

This program was written by S. Michael Goza of Johnson Space Center.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2003 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.