My professor wants me to find out if Vortex Studio works with ROS. I do not know what ROS is other than it stands for Robot Operating System. I'm hoping someone with knowledge of ROS could tell me about this. If it does work, what kind of things can you do with the two programs together? Do you need to install something extra? Thank you.
Vortex Studio doesn't officially support ROS, in that it is not integrated into the ROS platform and Vortex Studio does not contain any tools specifically to integrate with ROS. However, it should be possible to use the two together productively.
At a high level, ROS provides tools to control robots, and Vortex Studio provides tools to simulate robots (or other mechanical systems). There is some overlap in these functions, in that you can build control algorithms in Vortex Studio, and you can probably build some simple simulations using the tools in ROS. But each is relatively much stronger in its own domain, so it could be effective to use the two together.
Using them together could mean developing and simulating a robot virtually in Vortex Studio, while using ROS to test and integrate the control algorithms. Eventually, ROS might be used to control a real robot, but making changes and trying new things in the simulated robot in Vortex Studio would be much easier than modifying a real robot.
In order to do this, it is necessary for the two systems to communicate. Likely this would mean ROS sending control signals (actuator demands, etc) to the Vortex Studio model, and the state of the robot and simulated environment being sent the other way. Vortex Studio supports network communication that could be used for this, and while I'm not an expert in ROS, I assume it is also capable of using compatible protocols.
We don't yet have any examples of actually performing this kind of integration, but we're currently looking at doing more testing to see what problems might come up, and find out what tools we could create to improve the integration.