The Player Project – software tools for robot and sensor applications

The Player Project creates Free Software that enables research in robot and sensor systems. The Player robot server is a widely used robot control interface in the world. Its simulation backends, Stage and Gazebo, are also very widely used.

Player is a device server / networked interface that provides a powerful, flexible interface to a variety of sensors and actuators (e.g., robots). Because Player uses a TCP socket-based client/server model, robot control programs can be written in any programming language and can execute on any computer with network connectivity to the robot.

Stage is a scaleable multiple robot simulator. It simulates a population of mobile robots moving in and sensing a two-dimensional bitmapped environment. When used as a Player plugin, Stage provides virtual Player robots which interact with simulated rather than physical devices. Stage can also be used as link library to create custom simulations.

Features include:

  • Robot platform independence across a wide variety of hardware.
  • Support for a number of programming languages including C, C++, Java, Tcl, and Python.
  • Flexible design.
  • Support for multiple devices on the same interface. For example the Pioneer 2 and RWI drivers both use Player’s ‘position’ interface to allow control of the robot’s movement. Therefore the same control code can control both kinds of robot.
  • On-the-fly server configuration.
  • Supports the following robots:
    • Acroname’s Garcia.
    • Botrics’s Obot d100.
    • CoroWare Inc. Corobot and Explorer.
    • Evolution Robotics’ ER1 and ERSDK robots.
    • iRobot’s Roomba vacuuming robot.
    • K-Team’s Robotics Extension Board (REB) attached to Kameleon 376BC.
    • K-Team’s Khephera.
    • MobileRobots’ (formerly ActivMedia) PSOS/P2OS/AROS-based robots.
    • Nomadics’ NOMAD200 (and possibly related) mobile robots.
    • RWI/iRobot’s RFLEX-based robots (e.g., B21r, ATRV Jr).
    • Segway’s Robotic Mobility Platform (RMP).
    • UPenn GRASP’s Clodbuster.
    • Videre Design’s ERRATIC mobile robot platform.
    • White Box Robotics’ 914 PC-BOT.

Gazebo’s features:

  • Simulation of standard robot sensors, including sonar, scanning laser range-finders, GPS and IMU, monocular and stereo cameras.
  • Models for commonly used robot types such as the Pioneer2DX, Pioneer2AT and SegwayRMP.
  • Realistic simulation of rigid-body physics: robots can push things around, pick things up, and generally interact with the world in a plausible manner.
  • Player compatible: robots and sensors can be controlled through standard Player interfaces.
  • Stand-alone operation: programs can interact directly with the simulator (i.e., without going through Player) using libgazebo (included in the distribution).
  • Stereo camera model: generates stereo image pairs, disparity and depth maps.
  • Re-written GUI using wxPython: most devices can now be directly controlled/inspected through the simulator GUI.
  • Plugin models: users can develop their own robot/sensor models, and have these models loaded dynamically at run time.
  • Skins: simple geometric models may be augmented with realistic ‘skins’ from 3D modelling programs.

Support: Documentation, GitHub Code Repository
Developer: Brian Gerkey, Richard Vaughan, Andrew Howard, and Nathan Koenig
License: GNU General Public License v2.0

Stage is written in C++. Learn C++ with our recommended free books and free tutorials.

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