Stretch Simulations


Prior to the arrive of our Stretch robot, we are interested in doing simulation work to test out some of the provided demos. We have done some digging into stretch_ros repo and saw that there is some support for urdf generation in the calibration package. Is there a way to work a simulation without the robot physically present with what is currently provided on the repo? Ideally I am looking to visualize the robot in Rviz or get some basic simulation in Gazebo working if that has been explored at all in the past.

I appreciate any insight on this topic.

Hi @gadzooks, welcome to the forum! At the moment, we’re not supporting a simulated Stretch. While the stretch_ros repository does include a description package with a URDF (making it not too difficult to create something simple with Gazebo), we’re only using it for Rviz purposes at the moment. The calibration package uses a vision based approach to calibrate the URDF, which is part of the reason why we haven’t supported a simulation yet: autonomy software developed with a simple uncalibrated simulation likely won’t perform well on the real robot.

Nonetheless, if you’d like support exploring a basic simulation of Stretch in Gazebo, I’d be happy to help you with it.

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I see. Thank you for the clarification @bshah! That all makes sense. For now we will focus on getting Rviz working correctly with the provided files. If we have the time before the robot arrives we may spend some time investigating how to make a basic simulation work in Gazebo and I will be sure to reach out to you at that time.

Hello @bshah! Our group is similarly interested in running simulations of Stretch in Gazebo before the physical robot gets here - I just wanted to follow up on this and see if support for this has been added in the months since this initial discussion. Thanks!

Hi @kpputhuveetil, welcome to the forum! A Stretch simulation is coming! We’ve partnered with Picknik Robotics (@tezer leads the project) to bring Stretch to the Ignition Simulator. Ignition is a successor to Gazebo, and provides a drop-in replacement for a real Stretch in ROS the same way Gazebo did.

Development began only a few weeks ago, and we aim to release the first version in the fall. All of our development is open source on Github, so it may be possible to try out the simulation as “alpha testers” if you are interested.

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Thanks @bshah for pinging me out! @kpputhuveetil we both have initial ROS1 and Gazebo, ROS2 and Ignition setups that is almost completely undocumented, not cleaned and work in progress. If you want to have a sneak peek you can checkout:

WIP: Stretch Gazebo for ROS1 by vatanaksoytezer · Pull Request #20 · hello-robot/stretch_ros · GitHub for ROS1 and Gazebo.
GitHub - PickNikRobotics/stretch_ros at stretch_ignition_clean for ROS2 and Ignition.

I’ll try to do some cleaning and document these up this or next week so it’s more usable at least. Ping me if you have any questions. I’ll update here when I am done.