2. Closed-loop simulation and visualization

This example is also available as a Jupyter notebook that can be run locally The notebook can be found in the examples directory of the package. If the notebooks are missing, you may need to run using Pkg; Pkg.build().

Please note that RigidBodySim.jl now provides a more capable simulation environment.


using RigidBodyDynamics

Model definition

We'll just use the double pendulum model, loaded from a URDF:

srcdir = dirname(pathof(RigidBodyDynamics))
urdf = joinpath(srcdir, "..", "test", "urdf", "Acrobot.urdf")
mechanism = parse_urdf(urdf)
Spanning tree:
Vertex: world (root)
  Vertex: upper_link, Edge: shoulder
    Vertex: lower_link, Edge: elbow
No non-tree joints.


Let's write a simple controller that just applies $10 \sin(t)$ at the elbow joint and adds some damping at the shoulder joint:

shoulder, elbow = joints(mechanism)
function simple_control!(torques::AbstractVector, t, state::MechanismState)
    torques[velocity_range(state, shoulder)] .= -1 .* velocity(state, shoulder)
    torques[velocity_range(state, elbow)] .= 10 * sin(t)


Basic simulation can be done using the simulate function. We'll first create a MechanismState object, and set the initial joint configurations and velocities:

state = MechanismState(mechanism)
set_configuration!(state, shoulder, 0.7)
set_configuration!(state, elbow, -0.8);

Now we can simply call simulate, which will return a tuple consisting of:

  • simulation times (a Vector of numbers)
  • joint configuration vectors (a Vector of Vectors)
  • joint velocity vectors (a Vector of Vectors)
final_time = 10.
ts, qs, vs = simulate(state, final_time, simple_control!; Δt = 1e-3);

For access to lower-level functionality, such as different ways of storing or visualizing the data generated during the simulation, it is advised to simply pattern match the basic simulate function.


For visualization, we'll use MeshCatMechanisms, an external package based on RigidBodyDynamics.jl.

using MeshCatMechanisms

Create a MechanismVisualizer and open it in a new browser tab (see MeshCat.jl for other options):

mvis = MechanismVisualizer(mechanism, URDFVisuals(urdf));
┌ Info: MeshCat server started. You can open the visualizer by visiting the following URL in your browser:
└ http://localhost:8700
# open(mvis)

And animate:

MeshCatMechanisms.animate(mvis, ts, qs; realtimerate = 1.);

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