cross posted from willowgarage.com
Our Gazebo engineers have been hard at work bringing improvements to the Gazebo user interface and the simulation quality of the PR2 robot. These improvements will be available with the forthcoming release of ROS C-Turtle. Included will be the option to create simple shapes (boxes, spheres, and cylinders) and light sources (point, spot, and directional) within the GUI, while a simulation is running. This capability lets a developer dynamically change and even create a simulation environment on the fly. These modifications can be saved to file, and reloaded as needed.
You will be able to use the mouse to select and manipulate every object in the simulation. Once an object is selected, three rings and six boxes appear around the object. The rings allow you to rotate the object in all three axes, and the boxes provide a mechanism for translation. This manipulation interface provides a convenient and intuitive tool with which to modify a simulation. It's also possible to pause and modify the world by pressing the space bar, or simply selecting the pause button.
In addition to these GUI improvements, more ROS service and topic interfaces will be added in the new Gazebo release. For details on the proposed Gazebo ROS API, please check out this tutorial.
The upcoming version of Gazebo will also include improvements to the model of the PR2 robot. With the help of some graphic artists, we've added detailed meshes and textures to the PR2 model. These new meshes not only improve the appearance of the PR2 in simulation, but also improve the way sensors such as laser range finders interact with the robot. These new details, along with GPU shaders, create a realistic simulation of the PR2.
Gazebo's enhanced representations of the real world demonstrate the power of developing and debugging algorithms using Gazebo. Check out the videos below to see the new features in action!