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Many robot applications (actually - the most practical and appealing ones) include the robot's reaction to (and impact on) the evironment, e.g. due to stochastic nature of the environment (e.g. when robot should handle non-rigid objects like clothes) or due to the variability of environment (e.g. harvesting robots should be prepared to pick fruits of different sizes and shapes).

The question is - is there a robotics simulator that can simulate not only robot but also the environment as well? E.g. that can simulate the response of robots action on cloth folding or fruit picking and so on. I guess that such simulator is really non-trivial but maybe there is some ongoing project for it?

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  • $\begingroup$ TomR, don't forget to select an answer as correct. $\endgroup$ – foobarbecue Jul 11 '13 at 20:09
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Gazebo, the most popular open-source robotics simulator at the moment, is adding support for the Bullet physics library and that should eventually add simulation of contact with deformable objects. Check out this question: http://answers.ros.org/question/57900/deformation-on-gazebo-and-ros-possible/

Also, OpenGRASP, built on top of OpenRAVE, includes soft contact simulation.

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I think Gazebo is the most popular, but Morse is also worth checking.

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    $\begingroup$ If you can you elaborate why those two are good simulators for the stated problems, it could be a really good answer. As it currently stands, it's a bit terse. $\endgroup$ – ThomasH Jul 11 '13 at 13:23
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The V-Rep simulator can use a few physics engines that have some soft-body support, including:

  • Vortex Dynamics (commercial) which has some soft-body support for specific cases
  • The Bullet Physics Engine (FOSS) which has support for soft-body simulation (though it isn't supported in the current version of V-Rep)
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