Virtual Robot Quickstart

From Engineered Arts Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Virtual Robot > Quickstart

The Virtual Robot Interface


Virtual Robot provides a simple to use web based tool for content creation on EA robots like RoboThespian and Socibot.

This page is a jargon free quickstart guide to creating and transferring an animation to your robot, aimed at new users.

For best results use a 1440 x 900 or higher resolution screen. 1920 x 1080, or 1920 x 1200 preferred.

Log in

All EA robots are shipped with a basic Virtual Robot account enabled you can access it at, login required.

You may want to open Virtual Robot in another window while you read these pages.

If you don't know your Virtual Robot login details contact Engineered Arts Ltd

Please use Chrome or Chromium browser. If you really want to know why, you can read about it on this page - Remote_Connection

You will be greeted by this page:

  • Virtual Robot login screen

Type in your username and password and click "log in" to continue.

Read then dismiss the What's New window

The first time you login you will see the following screen:

  • Virtual Robot first time login

The What's new panel lists new features and shows up the first time you login and whenever there are any changes to Virtual Robot.

Press CTRL + F5 on your keyboard to clear your browser's cache and reload the page. This ensures everything updates.

Click on the X in the top right corner of the What's New window to dismiss it.

Select your robot model

Virtual Robot supports all the Robots EA make, and can also work with third party robots. Please ask

Make sure to select your robot model before doing anything else:

  1. Click on the Robots button from the top menu bar
  2. Select your robot model from the list
  • Select Robot Model (Close up): 1 - click on Robots, 2 - select model

Robot Models

  1. Industrial Robot - an example Industrial Robot, used to demonstrate that 3rd party robots can be added to Virtual Robot on request.
  2. RoboThespian 3 - RoboThespians running IOServe software, shipped before September 2015
  3. RoboThespian 4 - looks identical to RoboThespian 3, but runs newer Tritium software, shipped from September 2015 onwards.
  4. RoboThespian 4, Gripping Hands - as RoboThespian 4, but with adaptive gripping hands
  5. RoboThespian 4, Gripping Hands & InYaFace - as RoboThespian 4, but with adaptive gripping hands and projected face
  6. RoboThespian 4, InYaFace - as RoboThespian 4, but with projected face
  7. SociBot Desktop - compact SociBot with a truncated torso
  8. SociBot Kiosk - integrated touchscreen, has (non-functional) arms to enhance its human-like appearance
  • 1. Industrial Robot

  • 2. & 3. RoboThespian 3 or 4

  • 4. RoboThespian 4, Gripping Hands
  • 5. RoboThespian 4, Gripping Hands & InyaFace
  • 6. RoboThespian 4, InYaFace

  • 7. Socibot Mini

  • 8. Socibot Kiosk

You can identify your Model from the Serial Number Plate or if you are still unsure please contact Engineered Arts

Example: SociBot Mini

  • Click on Robots to open list of robot models (1).
  • If you have it, click on SociBot Mini in the drop down list (2).
  • Example: Select SociBot Desktop

It should take a few seconds to switch to Socibot Mini.

Once loaded you'll see:

  • The SociBot Mini model (4).
  • SociBot MIni specific Animation Tools (5).
  • SociBot Mini specific inputs (6).
  • Example: SociBot Desktop Successfully Loaded

Looks a bit small? Zoom in!

Use the mouse wheel to zoom in or out of the model:

  • Use the Mouse Wheel to Zoom In and Out

Need a different angle to see what you are doing? Move the camera!

Double click on the part of the robot you want to look at.

Then hold the left mouse button down and move your mouse to move the camera around.

  • Hold left button and move mouse to move camera

Example: Model RoboThespian4

If you have a RoboThespian 4, you can follow along with the instructions below to load it up in Virtual Robot along with all its capabilities:

  • Click on Robots to open the drop down list of robot models (1).
  • Click on RoboThespian4 in the list if you have that option available (2).
  • Example: Select RoboThespian4

It'll now switch to RoboThespian4.

Once loaded you'll see:

  • The RoboThespian4 model (4).
  • RoboThespian4 specific Animation Tools (5).
  • RoboThespian4 specific inputs (6).
  • Example: RoboThespian4 Desktop Successfully Loaded

Start a new performance (animation)

Note that the terms animation, performance and sequence are used interchangeably. Sequence = animation = performance.

Add audio

Add an audio file

If you have already got some pre-recorded audio files you can drag & drop them onto the timeline to upload them. Most audio formats can be used (mp3, wav, ogg, flac, etc). If the file you're trying to upload is too big, you may be able to make it small enough by converting it to another format (e.g. transcoding a wav file to a compressed flac).

  • Drag and drop audio file to timeline to add
  • Audio file added


RoboThespian will automatically lipsync to any audio files you add. Socibot and Mesmer require animated lipsync, but Virtual Robot can generate this for you. Lipsync is generated automatically when adding Text to Speech items, but you can generate lipsync with any sound file selected by accessing the menu bar and clicking Edit -> Generate -> Lipsync.

With Text to Speech Socibot will automatically lipsync with mouth shapes! Sometimes it can be useful to create Text to Speech and use it's generated lipsync along-side your own audio files (just remember to delete the extra speech).

Add text to speech

  • The Library

In the pane marked Library on the left, click on the Speech tab.

The 'Speech' section contains any text-to-speech content used (or available) to the current Project.

Create new text-to-speech clips, by typing in the large box.

Add this speech to the end of your timeline by pressing the 'Append' button.

You can also add the speech at the location of the Timeline marker using the 'Add at Marker' button.

Got lots of speech to add? - add it from a text file

Write the speech you want in a plain text file (.txt) - do not use Microsoft Office filetypes (they contain hidden characters that do not adhere to standards and will not work)

Drag the text file from a folder on your PC onto the timeline.

  • Drag and drop plain text file with speech you want to add

Each sentence gets added as a separate block for easy editing:

  • Example: RoboThespian4 Desktop Successfully Loaded

Example text used above:

Hello Charlie.  Drag this file into the Virtual Robot timeline.  It will add all the text I have written here.  Each sentance gets added as a seperate block.

Add movements

The basic way

At least read this page for a quick guide to animating in Virtual Robot - Virtual Robot - Basic Guide to the Animation Pipeline

The advanced way

When you've got the hang of the basics, get into more depth here - Virtual Robot - Advanced Guide to the Animation Pipeline

Add "lights" (cheek and body colours) - RoboThespians with optional body RGB LEDs

  • Add lights (click to zoom >>>>>)
  1. Move timeline marker to desired time
  2. Make sure lights selector is toggled on
  3. Select body part by clicking one of:
    - right arm
    - cheeks
    - torso
    - left arm
    - pelvis
  4. (Selected part flashes blue briefly to indicate it has been selected)
  5. Adjust colour with colour picker
  6. If desired select another body part and adjust colour, repeat steps 3. and 4.
  7. Click or press "i" to add a keyframe with the colour to the timeline where the timeline marker is.
  8. Repeat from step 1. at next time wish to set a different colour

Change eye graphics

Select desired eyes from the drop down menu and add a keyframe

  • The Staging Area
  • Mirror Eyes Button - Toggle this on/off to control eyes individually or with mirroring function (1).
  • Eye Graphics Drop Down Menu - Select animatable or static eye graphics from the list (2).
  • Animation Toolbox - When adding a keyframe for the eyes, make sure the eyes are selected in the animation toolbox (3).

Save your performance

Click on "File" from the menu bar, then:

  • Save File - save the current performance (keyboard shortcut CTRL + S) or
  • Save As... - save current performance with a different name (i.e. rename) or
  • Save Copy As - Save a copy of the current performance

Open a saved performance

Click on "File" from the menu bar, then:

  • Open File... open a previous performance (keyboard shortcut CTRL + O)

Transfer a performance to your robot

Virtual Robot Content Organizer is used to arrange touch screen and Telepresence content, add button images and text labels; transfer new performances and synchronise updates to performances with your robot, even while the robot is switched off.

Next steps

Get a deeper understanding of the interface and the terminology used in the Virtual Robot Interface & Environment and Virtual Robot - Animation Terms & Definitions

Then explore the links at the bottom of that page to create more complex animations, animate multiple robots in sync and learn about Virtual Robot in more depth.