Actin®  Version 5.2.0
Software for Robotics Simulation and Control
Plotting Data

Data Capture

Data capture is a mechanism through which the user can select to store or display any data relevant to a simulation. The detailed discussion of the data capture mechanism is given elsewhere. This section is meant to provide instructions of how to conveniently set up data capture through ActinViewer.

Although information capture can be configured programmatically or through XML, the easiest way may be through interactive GUI. There are actually two separate but somewhat related features. The first one is using GUI to save the captured information in different file formats. The second is using GUI to display captured information in real-time scrolling plots. This section is intended as a guide on how to use these new GUI features using a system with two 12-dof manipulators for demonstration.

Saving Captured Data in Different File Formats

The “Configure Data Capture” dialog shown in Figure 3‑22 is where the user configures what information to capture and save. It can be invoked via Analysis->Configure Data Capture Storage in the main menu.

actinViewerQuickstart_image15.png

As can be seen, there are three panels in the dialog.

  1. The “System” panel consists of a tree view in which the system is shown and the “Save Options…” button. A system consists of a list of manipulators that in turn consists of a list of links.
  2. The “Manipulator Data Capture Types” panel consists of a tree view that shows all the available manipulator-level data types that can be captured and the “Select All” and “Deselect All” buttons. Notice that if a link is selected in the tree view of the System panel, then this panel is disabled since it is not applicable to links.
  3. The “Link Data Capture Types” panel consists of a tree view that shows all the available link-level data types that can be captured and the “Select All” and “Deselect All” buttons.

The “Select All” and “Deselect All” buttons are provided for convenience so that the user needs not to tirelessly click on every single checkbox in front of each data capture type. However, by following the tips below on how to select what information to capture will virtually eliminate the need for clicking these buttons.

  1. Check/uncheck the checkbox in front of the desired manipulator to select/deselect all manipulator-level data types and all link-level data types of all links in the manipulator.
  2. Check/uncheck the checkbox in front of the desired link to select/deselect all link-level data types of that link.
  3. Click on the desired manipulator (not the checkbox in front of it) and check/uncheck the checkbox in front of a data capture type to select/deselect the data capture type. If the data capture type is a link-level one, this will select/deselect that data capture type for all the links in the manipulator.

In the dialog in Figure 3‑22, notice that there are three states for the checkbox unchecked, partially checked, and checked. The table below describes the meanings of these check states for all the components.

Meanings of different check states for different components.
Manipulator Link Manipulator is highlighted Link is highlighted
Unchecked
actinViewerQuickstart_image16.png
No data type is selected for the manipulator or any of its links. No data type is selected for the link. Manipulator-level data type: this data type is not selected for this manipulator. Link-level data type: this data type is not selected in any of its links. This link-level data type is not selected for this link.
Partially Checked
actinViewerQuickstart_image17.png
Some manipulator-level data types or some link-level data types of some links are selected. Some but not all link-level data types are selected for the link. Manipulator-level data type: this data type is selected for this manipulator but some elements are disabled. Link-level data type: this data type is selected for some but not all of its links. This link-level data type is selected for this link but some elements are disabled.
Checked
actinViewerQuickstart_image18.png
All manipulator-level data types and all link-level data types of all links are selected. All link-level data types are selected for the link. Manipulator-level data type: this data type is selected for this manipulator with no element disabled. Link-level data type: this data type is selected for all of its links. This link-level data type is selected for this link with no element disabled.
actinViewerQuickstart_image19.png
A GUI dialog for configuring information capture. Checkboxes in front of the first manipulator and its links are *partially* checked since only “Joint Positions” data type is selected. Also, the “Manipulator Data Capture Types” and “End Effector Data Capture Type” panels are disabled since link-0, which does not have manipulator-level or end-effector level data types, is active.
actinViewerQuickstart_image20.png
A GUI dialog for configuring information capture. Checkboxes in front of the first manipulator and its links are checked since all the data capture types are selected.

Clicking on the “Save Options…” button in the “System” panel will take the user to the dialog depicted in Figure 3‑23 that lets him choose how and where to save the simulation information outputs. The dialog shows all the available formats (with their corresponding file extensions) to which the simulation outputs can be saved. If none of the formats is chosen, then no information will be saved. Again, the “Select All” and “Deselect All” buttons are provided for convenience. The user can choose the file name and the location in which the output file(s) will reside. The location can be either directly entered by hand or more conveniently by clicking the “Browse…” button. The file extensions will be added automatically to the file name, depending on the selected formats. For example, in the configuration shown in Figure 3‑23, the simulation information will be saved in two files: SimOutputs.m and SimOutputs.xml in the C:/Temp folder. Currently, the supported formats are XML, MATLAB, Mathematica, and comma-delimited text, which can be loaded into Excel.

actinViewerQuickstart_image21.png
A GUI dialog for saving information in different formats.

Displaying Captured Data in Interactive Plots

The real-time displaying of captured information was designed to be as flexible as possible. The user can choose to have as many real-time plots as he wishes. Selecting Analysis -> Manage Data Plots in the main menu brings up the dialog shown in Figure 3‑24. Through this dialog, the user can create a new plot, edit or delete an existing plot, and show any plot that has been created.

actinViewerQuickstart_image22.png
actinViewerQuickstart_image23.png
A GUI dialog for managing real-time plots of captured information.

Clicking the “Edit…” or “New…” button will bring up the dialog shown in Figure 3‑25, which is used to configure what information to capture and display in a plot. It is very similar to the dialog in Figure 3‑22 with the following key differences.

  1. This dialog does not have a “Save Options…” button.
  2. This dialog has an entry to edit the title of the plot.
  3. Through this dialog, the user can choose to have the captured information to be displayed on either the left and/or the right Y-axis through the Y-Axis drop-down list. The captured data for both Y-axes are totally independent. They can even be the same.
    actinViewerQuickstart_image24.png
  4. Through this dialog, the user can choose the desired type of the plot through the Plot Type drop-down list. Currently, two plot types are supported– the scrolling plot and the bar chart.
    actinViewerQuickstart_image25.png
    The tips on how to select what information to capture and the meanings of the states of the checkboxes are the same as those for Figure 3‑22, which were described in the previous section.

Once the captured information for a plot has been configured, the plot can be created and shown by clicking the “Show” button in the dialog in Figure 3‑24.

actinViewerQuickstart_image26.png
A GUI dialog for configuring information capture for a real-time plot for the left Y-axis. The configurations of the two axes can be done independently.
actinViewerQuickstart_image27.png
A GUI dialog for configuring information capture for a real-time plot for the right Y-Axis. The configurations of the two axes can be done independently.

Figure 3‑26 shows different views of the same real-time scrolling plot displaying the captured information that was configured by the dialog in Figure 3‑25. Note the left and right Y-axes with different scales. Within the scrolling plot, the user can adjust the time scale interactively by using the spinner or the slider. This will cause the plot to scroll at varying speed. The larger the time scale, the slower the plot scrolls. Figure 3‑26 (a) and (b) show the same plot but with different time scales. Conveniently, the user can also choose to show or suppress any curve in the plot by clicking on its legend. In Figure 3‑26 (c), the joint position (red curve) and joint velocity (blue curve) of link-0 are suppressed. Furthermore, multiple real-time plots can be displayed simultaneously when the simulation is running as illustrated in Figure 3‑27. It should be cautioned here that displaying a real-time scrolling plot takes a fair amount of resources in terms of computational time and memory. Therefore, displaying too many scrolling plots all at once could potentially deteriorate the simulation run-time performance.

actinViewerQuickstart_image28.png
A real-time scrolling plot displaying captured information (a) with a time scale of 5 seconds; (b) with a time scale of 15 seconds; and (c) with a time scale of 15 seconds and with some curves suppressed.
actinViewerQuickstart_image29.png
Simulation is running with two real-time plots (one scrolling plot and one bar chart).
Created by Energid Technologies www.energid.com
Copyright © 2016 Energid. All trademarks mentioned in this document are property of their respective owners.