Rosanswers logo

Hi everyone!

I have a robot arm model in Gazebo with several "revolute" joints. I simply want to set the angles of the joints by a ROS service, topic or whatever WITHOUT any closed-loop controller. Just enter an angle and the robot jumps to that position. Is that possible?

Background: I have a real robot arm, from which I can read the joint angles. These angles should be sent to Gazebo, where the simulated arm follows the movement of the real arm. In the simulation I want to recreate a special environment with several sensors for the robot arm to test my ROS nodes.

Originally posted by JohnDoe2991 on ROS Answers with karma: 305 on 2016-04-27

Post score: 2


3 Answers 3


Rosanswers logo

Yes it's possible.

If you make a gazebo plugin attached to your robot model, you can use the setPosition function in the Gazebo API https://osrf-distributions.s3.amazonaws.com/gazebo/api/dev/classgazebo_1_1physics_1_1Joint.html.

Originally posted by F.Brosseau with karma: 379 on 2016-04-28

This answer was NOT ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 1

Original comments

Comment by JohnDoe2991 on 2016-04-28:
I hopped there would be an easier solution than writing a plugin for gazebo


Rosanswers logo

Ok, here is what i found: You can set the position and orientation for every Gazebo model with the service "setModelState", but if you really want to set the joints' angles of a model, you have to write a Gazebo Plugin as F.Brosseau has stated in his answer.

My solution is based on the following three webpages and some experimenting. It is probably a quite bad solution, but the only one I came up with in the last few hours. Feel free to use and improve it. I won't take any responsibility for it.




The plugin will subscribe to a special named topic for every "revolute" joint it can find in the model. You can find the topic names with "rostopic list" after you started a model with this plugin. The topics consist only of a Float32 value, which correspond to the angle in [rad]. If you publish a topic with the joint name and an angle, the joint will be forced to this angle and hold in place.


cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 2.8.3)
find_package(roscpp REQUIRED)
find_package(std_msgs REQUIRED)
find_package(Boost REQUIRED COMPONENTS system)
find_package(gazebo REQUIRED)
include_directories(SYSTEM ${Boost_INCLUDE_DIRS} ${GAZEBO_INCLUDE_DIRS} ${roscpp_INCLUDE_DIRS} ${std_msgs_INCLUDE_DIRS} src)

add_library(force_joint SHARED src/force_joint.cpp)
target_link_libraries(force_joint ${Boost_LIBRARIES} ${GAZEBO_LIBRARIES} ${roscpp_LIBRARIES})


#include <ros/ros.h>
#include "ros/callback_queue.h"
#include "ros/subscribe_options.h"
#include "std_msgs/Float32.h"

#include <gazebo/gazebo.hh>
#include <boost/bind.hpp>
#include <boost/algorithm/string.hpp>
#include <gazebo/physics/physics.hh>
#include <gazebo/common/common.hh>
#include <thread>
#include <memory>
#include <map>

namespace gazebo
    class force_joint : public ModelPlugin
        force_joint() : ModelPlugin(){}

        //read every joint of model and initialize ROS topics
        void Load(physics::ModelPtr _parent, sdf::ElementPtr _sdf)
            this->model = _parent;
            this->updateConnection = event::Events::ConnectWorldUpdateBegin(boost::bind(&force_joint::OnUpdate, this, _1));
            physics::Joint_V jointVector = this->model->GetJoints();

            // Initialize ros, if it has not already bee initialized.
            if (!ros::isInitialized())
                int argc = 0;
                char **argv = NULL;
                ros::init(argc, argv, "gazebo_client",

            // Create our ROS node. This acts in a similar manner to the Gazebo node
            this->rosNode.reset(new ros::NodeHandle("force_joints"));

            // Create a named topic, and subscribe to it for every joint
            for(physics::Joint_V::iterator jit=jointVector.begin(); jit!=jointVector.end(); ++jit)
                //test if revolute joint ... i think ...
                //if not, ignore joint
                if((*jit)->GetType() != 576)
                std::string modelName = this->model->GetName();
                boost::algorithm::replace_all(modelName, " ", "_");
                std::string jointName = (*jit)->GetName();
                boost::algorithm::replace_all(jointName, " ", "_");
                std::string subPath = modelName + "/" + jointName;
                ros::SubscribeOptions so = ros::SubscribeOptions::create<std_msgs::Float32>(subPath,
                                                                            boost::bind(&force_joint::OnRosMsg, this, _1, (*jit)->GetName()),
                                                                            ros::VoidPtr(), &this->rosQueue);
                jointAngles[(*jit)->GetName()] = (*jit)->GetAngle(0).Radian();

            // Spin up the queue helper thread
            this->rosQueueThread = std::thread(std::bind(&force_joint::QueueThread, this));

        //Handle an incoming message from ROS
        void OnRosMsg(const std_msgs::Float32ConstPtr &_msg, std::string jointName)
            this->jointAngles[jointName] = _msg->data;

        void OnUpdate(const common::UpdateInfo & _info)

            //set velocity and force to zero for every saved joint
            //and set angle to saved value
            for(auto it=this->joints.begin(); it!=joints.end(); ++it)
                this->model->GetJoint(*it)->SetVelocity(0, 0);
                this->model->GetJoint(*it)->SetForce(0, 0);
                this->model->GetJoint(*it)->SetAngle(0, math::Angle(jointAngles[*it]));
        //ROS helper function that processes messages
        void QueueThread()
            static const double timeout = 0.01;
            while (this->rosNode->ok())

        physics::ModelPtr model;

        event::ConnectionPtr updateConnection;

        std::unique_ptr<ros::NodeHandle> rosNode;

        //List with all subscribers
        std::list<ros::Subscriber> rosSubList;

        //List with all revolute joint names
        std::list<std::string> joints;

        ros::CallbackQueue rosQueue;

        std::thread rosQueueThread;

        //map with joints' angles by their names
        std::map<std::string, double> jointAngles;


Originally posted by JohnDoe2991 with karma: 305 on 2016-04-28

This answer was ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 0

Original comments

Comment by vjothi on 2016-11-28:
Hi John Doe, As you mentioned above i created a package and included the above files in the catkin workspace, I also included it in my robot model, but when start gazebo it could not load the libforce_joint.so. but the libforce_joint.so exists in libforce_joint folder. This is the exact error i get

Comment by JohnDoe2991 on 2016-11-29:
Take a look at the first link at "Using a Plugin": You either have to use the full path in your model file, add the path to the GAZEBO_PLUGIN_PATH or copy libforce_joint.so to /opt/ros/indigo/lib/ (that's what I did). Hope I could help.


Rosanswers logo

rosservice call /gazebo/set_model_configuration is far better than the solutions posted here so far, no plugin needed. Here is a complete example of how to achieve this from terminal:

rosservice call /gazebo/set_model_configuration "model_name: 'acrobat'
urdf_param_name: 'robot_description'
- 'joint1'
- 3.3"

Tested on Gazebo 7, ROS kinetic and Ubuntu 16.04 with the acrobat robot

Originally posted by Oscar Lima with karma: 831 on 2017-10-17

This answer was NOT ACCEPTED on the original site

Post score: 6

Original comments

Comment by ivan_calle on 2017-11-17:
This worked for me...!!!! more info here: http://gazebosim.org/tutorials?tut=ros_installing&cat=connect_ros#TestingGazebowithROSIntegration

Comment by Rufus on 2020-09-02:
I'm facing the same issue as this question where I can set the robot pose after pausing gazebo, but after unpausing, the robot pose snaps back to the original pose.

I ended up having to do it this way


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.