AWS RoboMaker
Developer Guide


Gazebo lets you build 3D worlds with robots, terrain, and other objects. It also has has a physic engine for modeling illumination, gravity, and other forces. Robotics developers use Gazebo to evaluate and test robots in different scenarios, often times more quickly than using physical robots and scenarios. Gazebo also makes it easier to test other aspects of your robot like error handling, battery life, navigation, and machine learning algorithms.

To perform the tasks below, Gazebo must be open and connected to a running simulation job. You can open Gazebo from the Simulation jobs detail page of a running simulation job.

Pause a Running Simulation

You can pause a running simulation in Gazebo by selecting the pause icon. It is located under the rendering of the world on the left.

When a running simulation is paused, it is paused in other simulation tools like rqt and rviz. This is useful for investigating simulation data at a moment in time. For example, using rqt to examine image data from a video camera mounted on a robot.

View Robot and Objects in the Simulation

When you open Gazebo, it presents a view of the simulated world. The initial perspective is configured by the simulation application developer.

  1. In Gazebo, use the mouse or keyboard to explore the world. Zoom in, pan out, and move the world around.

  2. Switch to an orthographic (or perspective) camera angle. In the menu, select Camera and then choose Orthographic (or Perspective). Reset the camera by choosing Reset View Angle.

  3. Select an alternate view to see objects differently. For example, select View and then choose Wireframe to see the world rendered as a wireframe.

  4. It is easy to reset the world to its original configuration. Select Edit and then choose Reset World. Select Reset Model Poses to revert changes to model poses.

Add and Move Objects in the Simulation

Gazebo includes a collection of models that can be used to create an environment. Objects can be placed in the environment, moved, and posed to meet the needs of the scenario.

  1. In Gazebo, on the left, select the Insert tab.

  2. In the Insert tab, choose Bookshelf, then move the cursor to the room. As you move into the room, you will see the bookshelf model. Click the left mouse button to place it in the room.

  3. Move the bookshelf by selecting Translation mode. Choose the multi-arrow plus icon in the menu or use the keyboard shortcut Control-T. Select the bookshelf, then move it to a new location and click the mouse button.

  4. Press Escape to exit Translation mode. Select the bookshelf and then in the World tab, expand Pose to see different pose settings. Select a value and then change one increment at a time using the up and down selectors. Gazebo updates the world after each click.

Apply Forces to Robots and Objects

Things do not always go as planned in the physical world. A robot might be subjected to unexpected forces and distrurbances during operation. Objects might tumble, spin, and interact with neighborhing objects or the robot itself. Using Gazebo, you can create disturbances by applying force and/or torque to models during simulation.

This example uses the Navigation and Person Recognition sample. For more information, see AWS RoboMaker sample applications. The principles apply to robots and objects that are not static. Entities marked as static only have collision geometry.

  1. In Gazebo, verify the simulation is running. The simulation must be running to see how an object responds to force and torque.

  2. In the World tab on the left, expand turtlebot3_waffle_pi. Right click wheel_left_link and then choose Apply Force/Torque.

  3. Under Force, specify an X value of 1000. Use the mouse or keyboard to move the underlying view so the robot is in view, then choose Apply Force. The robot will will mostly rotate counter-clockwise.

    Select Clear and then choose Apply Force to remove the force.

  4. Now apply enough torque on the Y-axis to tumble the robot upsidedown. Under Torque, specify a Y value of 400. Make sure the robot is in view, then choose Apply Torque. The robot will flip updsidedown. Choose Apply Torque and it will tumble upright.

    Select Clear and then choose Apply Torque to remove the torque. Select Cancel to close the dialog box.

  5. No try applying force to an object. In the World tab on the left, right click ChairA_01_001 and then choose Apply Force. Use the mouse or keyboard to make sure the chair is in view.

  6. Under Force, specify an Z value of 50000, then choose Apply Force. The chair will launch off the ground and then return to rest.

    Select Clear and then choose Apply Force to remove the force. Select Cancel to close the dialog box.