Modeling, Simulation and Control of Soft Robots with SOFA.

This page consists ofa new framework to simulate and control soft robots. This framework is based on a mechanical modeling of the robot elements combined with fast real-time direct/inverse FEM solvers. The keypoint of our approach is that the same modeling is used for interactive simulation of its behavior and interactive control of the fabricated robots. The simulation framework also allows to model the robot's environment and their interactions. The theoretical aspects of our contribution are presented in the following papers [Duriez 2013], [Largillière et al. 2015], while its implementation is done in a plugin for the SOFA Framework (www.sofa-framework.org/).

Our contribution for softroboticstoolkit is composed of:

  • A plugin that permits to simulate and control soft robots with the Sofa framework.
  • A virtual machine image embedding a complete version of our SoftRobot plugin and Sofa ready to be used on Windows, Linux and MacOS.
  • A set of examples demonstrating different functionalities and models supported by the plugin.
  • A tutorial on making a simple soft robot using our approach. 


Our scientific contribution is the modeling of the mechanical behavior of the robots (material and geometry) as well as how they are actuated. With this mechanical model, it becomes possible to compute the position of the robot according to changes on the inputs of the actuators (pressure, current, displacement). We can also simulate the mechanical interaction of the robot with its environement. One of the central feature of the approach is the use of inverse formulation of the simulated model: it is possible to control the robots by their end-effector position letting the system compute the changes to apply on the inputs of the actuators. The modeling and algorithmic formulations are detailed in [Duriez 2013a] and [Largillière et al. 2015]. 


In this tutorial, we focus on presenting the SoftRobots plugin and how to use it. People interested in implementation details of the deformable models should refer to [Faure et al. 2012] , the official SOFA website: http://www.sofa-framework.org/ and its documentation.

Please note that this contribution is protected by an international patent [Duriez2013b]. The free access to the software is limited to educational classroom and research purposes (academic licence). It cannot be used for any commercial purpose without acquiring a separate license or otherwise getting an authorization from INRIA. This condition includes, that it is NOT allowed to use the software provided in the Virtual Machine for any other commercial purpose.