What is CRANE?
Crane is a highly customized robotic motion control suite that I made for Grasshopper, the parametric modeling plugin for Rhino 3D. Every project featured on this site that involves robot arm motion control uses this software. I developed CRANE at SCI-Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) to provide an interface to simulate and control their 6-Axis Robot arms in their robot lab (dubbed the "Robot House"). It is still being used extensively by students at SCI-Arc.
CRANE utilizes a custom trigonometric IK solver that has several features built in to get around common problems of trig-based solvers (i.e. allowing joint calculations to go well beyond +/- 180 degrees, mitigating “flips” on certain joints, etc.) It is currently tailored to medium payload Staubli robot arms, and can generate ready-to-run Val3 programs with a single click, making it extremely user friendly.
Why the name "CRANE"?
McNeel and Crew have a longstanding tradition of naming software and their plugins after various animals. Why this is, I’m not sure. But in keeping with tradition, and simultaneously referencing arguably the world’s first robot arm, this plugin has been dubbed CRANE.
SCI-Arc Robot House
There are certain components and procedures specific to the setup and workflow of SCI-Arc’s robot house. If you are a SCI-Arc student and wish to access these components, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for access.
Please see the video tutorials and downloads section to get started.