Vortex's realistic simulations and fast prototyping of mobile robots helps reduce both the time and hardware required to develop your mobile robotics applications. This allows you to focus on what really counts: more advanced results for your robotics projects.
With Vortex's contact dynamics, you can simulate not only the mechanical system, but also its interaction in the operating environment—including terrain, water, obstacles, vision systems, grasping, and more.
Perform tests that would otherwise be impractical or impossible in an analog test environment, such as evolutionary development, robotic surgery, or simulation within dangerous or hard-to-replicate environments, including mines, space, nuclear waste facilities, and natural disaster sites.
Vortex allows you to adjust to changes in design, test more options more rapidly, and simply arrive at better solutions.
A Complete Range of Capabilities
Design testing and mobility study
Engineering simulators for robot and equipment design; semi-autonomous and autonomous robots; autonomous motion and path planning (obstacle avoidance); controller design with software-in-the-loop (SIL), MATLAB, and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL)
Wheeled and tracked locomotion
Realistic wheeled and tracked robots based on engineering design parameters—incorporate modifiable track, tire, and terrain properties using common vehicle engineering data models, and deploy electric drives, multiple tracks, rigid or flexible tracks, articulated chassis, and a number of industry-standard tire-terrain models
Interactive environment modeling
Extensive land, marine, subsea, and planetary environment modeling—whether you’re simulating Mars, the ocean depths, or a battlefield, Vortex provides the virtual situational challenges for your robot: simulation of buoyancy and hydrodynamics; physically based visual conditions such as smoke, dust, and fog; simulation of bulk materials in motion like earth-moving, soil displacement, and compaction due to terrain interaction
Humanoid robots and robotic creatures
Simulation of mechanical systems; dynamics of walking, crawling, swimming, and other methods of locomotion; grasping simulation for humanoid hands and other specialized grippers
For robots and robotic or remotely operated vehicles (autonomous and tethered); training simulators integrated with control systems; training scenarios with interaction within simulated operating environments
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Vortex's ease of integration means you can get your research projects up and running quickly.
Easy integration with development tools such as Python and MATLAB®/Simulink® means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you make changes in the simulation environment.
Robotic controllers developed within MATLAB can be run on both real and simulated robots with equivalent results, saving significant system-level development time and prototype expense.
You can integrate simulations from multiple domains, such as hydraulics and electrical models, to create a single system-level model.
Vortex can also integrate with complex hardware systems such as haptic devices, motion platforms, and interfaces to real machine and control systems.
Vortex's fully stocked C++ API covers an exceptionally wide range of simulation needs, features speedy integration with in-house 3D visual systems, and allows you to configure and extend Vortex for special applications.
It is also easy to deploy your applications built on Vortex to multiple platforms through our distributable libraries available on Windows®, Linux®, and Mac OS®.
Accuracy You Can Rely On
When your research is on the line, you need tools you can trust.
Vortex reduces both the time and effort required for test bed/simulation integration. That’s because Vortex plugs into MATLAB/Simulink out of the box, and integrates seamlessly with your technical infrastructure. You can run robotic controllers developed within MATLAB on both real and simulated robots with equivalent results, saving you significant time and resources.
Reduce the complexity of robotics systems engineering by simulating mechanical dynamics in a complete operating environment—meaning you can conduct systems-level testing and complete controls development.
Vortex meets the highest standards for technical validation, with a testing framework that allows performance to be consistently measured for purposes of regression testing, verification, and validation. Well-defined outputs allow comparison with mathematical models of behavior, data from field measurements, and project requirements.
Vortex also provides developers with an interactive test environment where mechanisms can be edited and tested before deployment in a larger simulation environment.
Vortex includes the following dynamics, collision detection, and solver features:
- Full collision response and reaction based on a robust and highly optimized dynamics library, with minimal CPU overhead for calculations
- State-of-the-art method of rigid-body dynamics calculation: Vortex resolves important issues involving contact physics and kinematic loops, allowing objects to be easily modified, extended, assembled and disassembled
- Assign object properties such as mass, inertia, center of mass, either manually or automatically based on their geometry
- Define material interaction properties such as friction, stiffness, damping, stiction, and restitution in physically meaningful units
- All object and interaction properties can be modified at runtime
- Support for multiple friction models ranging from frictionless to scalable approximation of Coulomb friction enables users to balance efficiency with accuracy
- Anisotropic friction allows objects to have different friction properties for different directions
- Extremely stable stacking of objects
- Choose between multiple solvers optimized for precision versus speed
- Scalable contact response capable of simulating large numbers of objects in real-time
- Kinematic and dynamic constraints, including multi-body constraints that can be added, removed and reconfigured at runtime
- Multiple constraint types such as ball and socket, hinge (revolute joint), spring, and distance; various vehicle suspension constraints such as universal, prismatic, screw, and gears; and a number of advanced constraints allowing users to precisely control relative linear and angular degrees of freedom
- Constraint degrees of freedom can be motorized, locked, or limited – all with or without compliance
- Fluid interaction supporting buoyancy, drag and Magnus forces
- Fast and accurate object collision detection between large numbers of objects and the terrain, with minimal CPU overhead
- Geometrical primitives, terrains and complex polygon meshes. Vortex computes contact points, normals and penetration, with support for fast-moving objects, time-of-impact, and distance
- Optimized for speed: objects are automatically separated into groups – objects that are close to each other and need to be checked for collision or interference versus objects that are far apart and do not need these checks
- Efficient handling of large numbers of objects, and optimized object insertion and removal
- Collision pairs can be disabled for maximum user control over specific behaviours
- Level of detail: objects can be represented by actual geometry for accuracy or by simplified geometry for speed
- Sensor callbacks allow detection of geometry intersection without causing collision response
- Event handling: persistent user-information for colliding pairs allows users to schedule events based on collision or separation
- Support for a large number of collision types such as geometric primitives, composite object, plane, and heightfield
- Grasp analysis tool for computing the quality of a grasp given a set of finger contacts on an object
- Multiple solver support: includes an accurate solver that uses a Linear Complementarity Problem (LCP) solution, which resolves many difficulties inherent in traditional recursive solvers, and a fast, more compliant iterative solver for very large systems
- Allows users to easily build models – and modify constraints, collision and part properties – at runtime
- Support for multi-core (parallel) processing by solving groups of rigid bodies, each in its own thread. Grouping can be overridden by users in order to break up large problems into smaller ones for efficiency
Vortex includes a specialized module for hand-modeling/grasping applications.
This module determines grasp quality for a collection of contacts between a manipulator or gripper and target objects. It provides an easy and effective method to model robotics grasping, as well as heavy equipment behavior like grappling claws.
Grasp quality is based on a six-degree-of-freedom wrench set generated by the grasp, and the module includes numerous options to change the reference coordinate system, rescale torques, add friction, and more.