[robotics-worldwide] [software] ControlIt!: Open-Source Whole-Body Control Software Framework for Humanoid Robots

lsentis lsentis at gmail.com
Sun Jun 7 09:50:53 PDT 2015

Dear Roboticists,

We are pleased to announce ControlIt! [1], a new LGPLv2.1 open-source
software framework for Whole-Body Operational Space Control. A draft
manuscript describing the software is on-line [2]. ControlIt! was originally
created by the Human Centered Robotics Lab at UT Austin [3] and NASA's
Johnson Space Center in preparation for the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials
of 2013. After the trials, we continued to refine the software and test it
on Meka's Mekabot upper torso humanoid (our copy of this robot is called
Dreamer). Its capabilities on Dreamer demonstrating feedback torque control
of Meka's dual arm manipulation system and the robot's redundant pose while
handling the torso's bi-articular transmission constraints are showcased in
this video [4].

ControlIt! employs a highly modular and extensible software architecture for
facilitating additional control primitives, real-time Linux patches, and
robot hardware. We are particularly interested in integrating ControlIt!
with other torque controlled highly-redundant robots and performing both
locomotion and manipulation behaviors. ControlIt!'s whole body operational
space control algorithm is based on floating-base dynamics and contact
constraints enabling it to naturally support legged locomotion. ControlIt!
was used to achieve both locomotion and manipulation on the full Valkyrie
humanoid robot in simulation [5], though only limited balancing experiments
were done on hardware. Future usage of ControlIt! will be geared towards
full body locomotion and manipulation behaviors.

Software Features:
    - OS: Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04
    - Real-time patches: RTAI, RT-Preempt
    - ROS: Hydro and Indigo
    - Linear algebra library: Eigen 3
    - Model library: RBDL 2.3.2
    - Model description: URDF
    - Integration with higher-level software: parameter binding
    - Integration with lower-level software: RobotInterface and ServoClock
    - Controller introspection: Parameter reflection and ROS services
    - Controller configuration specification: YAML
    - Controller reconfiguration: enable / disable tasks and constraints
    - Controller primitives: Tasks and constraints structured into compound
tasks and constraint sets
    - Number of threads: 1, 2, or 3 (one of which is the real-time servo
    - Simulator: Gazebo 5.1

Real-time performance when configured with 5 tasks and two constraints,
servo computational latency on an Intel i7-4771 3.56GHz CPU is:
    - multi-threaded: 0.603 ± 0.0166 ms
    - single-threaded; 0.882 ± 0.0168 ms

Software Website: http://robotcontrolit.com
Source code: https://github.com/liangfok/controlit 
Email List: robotcontrolit at googlegroups.com

The Human Centered Robotics Lab
NASA Johnson Space Center
The Institute of Human Machine and Cognition

[1] https://robotcontrolit.com
[2] http://arxiv.org/pdf/1506.01075v1.pdf
[3] http://www.me.utexas.edu/~hcrl
[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO5Z93Jidcw
[5] https://youtu.be/RNbksov5tJc

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