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ou-robotics-vrep - robot VM

The robotics activities described in this repo use Python scripts running in Jupyter notebooks to control simulatd robots in the Coppelia Robotics V-REP simulator.

The software set-up can be installed two ways:

  • DIY on your own computer;
  • using a pre-built virtual machine, with notebooks accessed via a web browser on your host operating system.

The notebooks are being developed as part of a course. The suggested path through them is as follows:

  • Getting Started With The Notebooks.ipynb
  • Getting Started With Notebooks and the V-REP Simulator.ipynb
  • Demo - linetracer.ipynb
  • Demo - Square 1.ipynb
  • Demo - Square 2.ipynb

The notebook Demo - vrep magic.ipynb is a scratch pad containing examples of how to do all sorts of things...

The howtos directory contains helpfiles for doig various things with the V-REP simulator.

DIY Installation Route

  • download and install a Jupyter notebook installation (e.g. download and install the Anaconda scientific python distribution);
  • download and install the V-REP simulator;
  • in the notebook environment, install the vrep-api-python package from the Github repo Troxid/vrep-api-python

Virtual Machine Route

In order to simplify the installation of software for running the activities, build a virtual machine that contains:

The virtual machine will:

  • launch with a GUI desktop using Virtualbox;
  • disable VM desktop screensaver;
  • autorun the V-REP simulator on the virtual desktop;
  • autorun the Jupyter notebook server.

When launched under vagrant using the supplied Vagrantfile:

  • a shared directory will made available between the host machine and virtual machine that allows notebooks to be shared from the host into the VM;
  • enable copy and paste between the host machine and the virtual machine; (for a Mac, cmd-c/v on host, ctrl-shift-c/v in guest);
  • enable port forwarding so that the notebooks served by the Jupyter server can be viewed using a browser on the host machine (http://localhost:12980).

Related blog posts (documenting the process...):


To install and run the VM:

  • download and install Virtualbox (here);
  • download and install Vagrant (here);
  • optionally, install Vagrant plugin to try to match the version of VirtualBox Guest Additions between guest and host machines: vagrant plugin install vagrant-vbguest
  • download and unzip the contents of this repo and cd into the robotVM/ folder.

Build the VM (Optional)

To build the VM from scratch:

cp Vagrantfile.build Vagrantfile && vagrant up && vagrant halt

Run the VM Desktop With VirtualBox GUI

If you have built the VM locally (optional), you will be able to launch the VM using that image.

If the locally built image is not find, the user Vagrantfile will automatically pull the latest prebuilt ouseful/ou-robotics-test box image from Vagrant Cloud and use that to launch the VM:

First run: cp Vagrantfile.user Vagrantfile && vagrant up

Thereafter: vagrant up

Suspend / resume VM: vagrant suspend / vagrant resume

Halt / restart VM: vagrant halt / vagrant up

Reboot running VM: vagrant reload


The following demo is based on the demo provided in the vrep-api-python repo:

  • launch the VM;
  • ensire that the V-REP simulator is running on the VM desktop;
  • in your browser on host, got to and load the Demo - vrep magic.ipynb notebook;
  • work though the notebook and watch the simulator...

Other V-REP edu Demos