As we discussed in the previous HPI G-Robots software report post, a good software application can really enhance the user experience, and make it a pleasure to create motions and scenarios. It typically takes from a few hours to a couple days to assemble a humanoid robot kit. But, if you really get involved in working with your new robot, you'll spend hour after hour creating new motions, walks, gymnastics, karate kicks, and lots of other neat motions. To do that, and to have fun doing it, an effective, easy to use motion editor application is critical.
In this post, we want to focus on the motion display and interactive pose modification capabilities of the HPI G-Robots motion editor. To give you a real feel for how it operates, we've included a flash animation below built from actual screen shots recorded while we used the robots motion editor.
The G-Robots motion editor's primary screen is divided into 7 logical areas - the file list, motion display, controls, servo settings, capture, and the motion and scenario timelines. First we want to take a look at the motion display area, then in subsequent posts we'll show you how the other areas are used to create, edit, and check the robots poses, motions, and scenarios.
The motion display area, highlighted in yellow in the image above, provides a 3D, interactive display of the robot. Using your mouse, you can select different robot servos, move their position/orientation by dragging the mouse pointer, view the robot from six preset viewpoints, and rotate the 3D robots image with the mouse cursor around any given axis.
It's important to understand that the 3D display is a motion creation aid, not a fully simulation package. It doesn't actually model the robot's characteristics and take gravity and other factors into consideration. More accurately, it's a powerful visualization and editing tool that makes it very easy to create new poses and motions, or to edit previously existing ones.
Typically you would use this functionality to 'rough out' a set of new poses, or a motion. The fine tuning and final adjustment would still need to be done using the servo settings and time lines, but the motion display capability will quickly get you 90% of the way.
It also allows you to visualize how motions and scenarios will look, without having to actually run them on the robot. In fact, the robot doesn't even have to be connected to use the motion editor package.It should eliminate a lot of wear and tear on the robot since you can prototype motions using just the software, then download them to the robot once you're ready to actual fine tune and finalize them.
Here's how it works:
Official HPI G-Robots Website (Japanese)
RT Corp - Official HPI G-Robots Distributor (Japanese)