Robot runway

Run robotics simulations and more on this free player.

V-REP Player is a free tool that can run robotic simulations on any compatible Windows PC. It's based on V-REP, the Virtual Robot Experimentation Platform, a sophisticated tool for simulating the function and behavior of various robotics systems in a 3D environment. It's based on a distributed control architecture, and it lets users run control programs simultaneously in threaded or non-threaded fashion. You can't use V-REP Player to create simulations, only play them. However, it has many potential uses, such as remote monitoring, hardware control, fast prototyping, safety systems, factory automation simulations, and as a teaching tool. It's free to use and distribute. The full version of V-REP is available free for evaluation and to students for home use, and there are online manuals, videos, and other forms of assistance.

We opened V-REP Player's interface, which displayed a 3D space with a checkerboard-patterned floor. The program displayed the view's axial orientation (X, Y, and Z) in the lower corner; we could grab this icon and rotate it to rotate the main view. But we quickly learned that V-REP Player offers toolbar controls that can display simulations from any angle, perspective, or aspect, including a flyover camera view, as well as providing the ability to shift, rotate, and tilt the camera or object views; speed controls; and eight radio buttons with which we were able to quickly toggle between preset views. The program offers some options, such as the ability to choose either the Bullet or ODE Dynamics Engine and to create MTB Robot Properties modules, including an option to connect with a robotics server through pipes or sockets.

We should be clear that we were unable to create any robotics simulations specifically to run on V-REP Player, though it had nothing to do with the software and everything to do with a lack of technical capability on our part; obviously, V-REP Player will be most useful to those individuals with access to V-REP simulations. However, the V-REP site offers numerous video examples of the impressive simulations V-REP can produce and that V-REP Player can display.

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