Our search led us to Unity and its game engine. Unity is used extensively by video game developers, but is also being adopted by professionals in other industries like manufacturing. This is because Unity has built a premier set of accessible tools for creating hyper-realistic simulated environments, with realistic textures, physics and lighting – a simulation tool that has gotten so good that it is often confused for reality. On top of that, Unity recently released a specific set of tools for simulating robots called Unity Robotics, including a new ArticulationBody GameObject, such that a robot in Unity behaves in a realistic manner when compared with its physical counterpart.
For these reasons it was a natural move to build a robot simulator for Forge/OS in Unity, which we showed off in May at our Forge/OS 5 launch event. The Forge Robot Simulator connects the easy programming of Task Canvas with a simulated robot in Unity, which can be controlled just as you would control a real robot. Moreover, because of the powerful tools built into Unity, we were able to create incredibly realistic environments in which to use those robots.
Everything from simple environments where you can learn the basics of robot motion, all the way to complete industrial workcells. Additionally, because you need to have a complete robot system to work with, we simulated items such as grippers and machine tools with Unity, enabling these devices to be programmed and work alongside robots to complete a task.
The result is a realistic robot experience, where you can create a robot program to grab objects, trigger other devices, and generally perform industrial-like tasks, all on your PC, without physical hardware. And once you have learned Forge in simulation and are ready to take the plunge with a real industrial robot, everything you have learned in the simulator will directly apply to a real-world system, because they run Forge/OS too.
We are so excited for the day when anyone, whether they are a student learning about robots or a professional preparing for a career in robotic automation, can boot up a computer and learn how to program a real robot. We believe Forge/OS has the power to unlock robots for everyone by making them accessible in the same way that Windows and Apple made computers accessible. And we believe the Forge Robot Simulator as the most accessible way for anyone to get started with Forge/OS in a compelling, realistic simulation powered by the Unity engine.
Forge/OS is now available on the READY Robotics website. Look for the Forge Robot Simulator later this summer.