Interacting with a rigid object#

In the previous tutorials, we learned the essential workings of the standalone script and how to spawn different objects (or prims) into the simulation. This tutorial shows how to create and interact with a rigid object. For this, we will use the assets.RigidObject class provided in Isaac Lab.

The Code#

The tutorial corresponds to the script in the source/standalone/tutorials/01_assets directory.

Code for
  1# Copyright (c) 2022-2024, The Isaac Lab Project Developers.
  2# All rights reserved.
  4# SPDX-License-Identifier: BSD-3-Clause
  7This script demonstrates how to create a rigid object and interact with it.
  9.. code-block:: bash
 11    # Usage
 12    ./ -p source/standalone/tutorials/01_assets/
 16"""Launch Isaac Sim Simulator first."""
 19import argparse
 21from import AppLauncher
 23# add argparse arguments
 24parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description="Tutorial on spawning and interacting with a rigid object.")
 25# append AppLauncher cli args
 27# parse the arguments
 28args_cli = parser.parse_args()
 30# launch omniverse app
 31app_launcher = AppLauncher(args_cli)
 32simulation_app =
 34"""Rest everything follows."""
 36import torch
 38import omni.isaac.core.utils.prims as prim_utils
 40import omni.isaac.lab.sim as sim_utils
 41import omni.isaac.lab.utils.math as math_utils
 42from omni.isaac.lab.assets import RigidObject, RigidObjectCfg
 43from omni.isaac.lab.sim import SimulationContext
 46def design_scene():
 47    """Designs the scene."""
 48    # Ground-plane
 49    cfg = sim_utils.GroundPlaneCfg()
 50    cfg.func("/World/defaultGroundPlane", cfg)
 51    # Lights
 52    cfg = sim_utils.DomeLightCfg(intensity=2000.0, color=(0.8, 0.8, 0.8))
 53    cfg.func("/World/Light", cfg)
 55    # Create separate groups called "Origin1", "Origin2", "Origin3"
 56    # Each group will have a robot in it
 57    origins = [[0.25, 0.25, 0.0], [-0.25, 0.25, 0.0], [0.25, -0.25, 0.0], [-0.25, -0.25, 0.0]]
 58    for i, origin in enumerate(origins):
 59        prim_utils.create_prim(f"/World/Origin{i}", "Xform", translation=origin)
 61    # Rigid Object
 62    cone_cfg = RigidObjectCfg(
 63        prim_path="/World/Origin.*/Cone",
 64        spawn=sim_utils.ConeCfg(
 65            radius=0.1,
 66            height=0.2,
 67            rigid_props=sim_utils.RigidBodyPropertiesCfg(),
 68            mass_props=sim_utils.MassPropertiesCfg(mass=1.0),
 69            collision_props=sim_utils.CollisionPropertiesCfg(),
 70            visual_material=sim_utils.PreviewSurfaceCfg(diffuse_color=(0.0, 1.0, 0.0), metallic=0.2),
 71        ),
 72        init_state=RigidObjectCfg.InitialStateCfg(),
 73    )
 74    cone_object = RigidObject(cfg=cone_cfg)
 76    # return the scene information
 77    scene_entities = {"cone": cone_object}
 78    return scene_entities, origins
 81def run_simulator(sim: sim_utils.SimulationContext, entities: dict[str, RigidObject], origins: torch.Tensor):
 82    """Runs the simulation loop."""
 83    # Extract scene entities
 84    # note: we only do this here for readability. In general, it is better to access the entities directly from
 85    #   the dictionary. This dictionary is replaced by the InteractiveScene class in the next tutorial.
 86    cone_object = entities["cone"]
 87    # Define simulation stepping
 88    sim_dt = sim.get_physics_dt()
 89    sim_time = 0.0
 90    count = 0
 91    # Simulate physics
 92    while simulation_app.is_running():
 93        # reset
 94        if count % 250 == 0:
 95            # reset counters
 96            sim_time = 0.0
 97            count = 0
 98            # reset root state
 99            root_state =
100            # sample a random position on a cylinder around the origins
101            root_state[:, :3] += origins
102            root_state[:, :3] += math_utils.sample_cylinder(
103                radius=0.1, h_range=(0.25, 0.5), size=cone_object.num_instances, device=cone_object.device
104            )
105            # write root state to simulation
106            cone_object.write_root_state_to_sim(root_state)
107            # reset buffers
108            cone_object.reset()
109            print("----------------------------------------")
110            print("[INFO]: Resetting object state...")
111        # apply sim data
112        cone_object.write_data_to_sim()
113        # perform step
114        sim.step()
115        # update sim-time
116        sim_time += sim_dt
117        count += 1
118        # update buffers
119        cone_object.update(sim_dt)
120        # print the root position
121        if count % 50 == 0:
122            print(f"Root position (in world): {[:, :3]}")
125def main():
126    """Main function."""
127    # Load kit helper
128    sim_cfg = sim_utils.SimulationCfg()
129    sim = SimulationContext(sim_cfg)
130    # Set main camera
131    sim.set_camera_view(eye=[1.5, 0.0, 1.0], target=[0.0, 0.0, 0.0])
132    # Design scene
133    scene_entities, scene_origins = design_scene()
134    scene_origins = torch.tensor(scene_origins, device=sim.device)
135    # Play the simulator
136    sim.reset()
137    # Now we are ready!
138    print("[INFO]: Setup complete...")
139    # Run the simulator
140    run_simulator(sim, scene_entities, scene_origins)
143if __name__ == "__main__":
144    # run the main function
145    main()
146    # close sim app
147    simulation_app.close()

The Code Explained#

In this script, we split the main function into two separate functions, which highlight the two main steps of setting up any simulation in the simulator:

  1. Design scene: As the name suggests, this part is responsible for adding all the prims to the scene.

  2. Run simulation: This part is responsible for stepping the simulator, interacting with the prims in the scene, e.g., changing their poses, and applying any commands to them.

A distinction between these two steps is necessary because the second step only happens after the first step is complete and the simulator is reset. Once the simulator is reset (which automatically plays the simulation), no new (physics-enabled) prims should be added to the scene as it may lead to unexpected behaviors. However, the prims can be interacted with through their respective handles.

Designing the scene#

Similar to the previous tutorial, we populate the scene with a ground plane and a light source. In addition, we add a rigid object to the scene using the assets.RigidObject class. This class is responsible for spawning the prims at the input path and initializes their corresponding rigid body physics handles.

In this tutorial, we create a conical rigid object using the spawn configuration similar to the rigid cone in the Spawn Objects tutorial. The only difference is that now we wrap the spawning configuration into the assets.RigidObjectCfg class. This class contains information about the asset’s spawning strategy, default initial state, and other meta-information. When this class is passed to the assets.RigidObject class, it spawns the object and initializes the corresponding physics handles when the simulation is played.

As an example on spawning the rigid object prim multiple times, we create its parent Xform prims, /World/Origin{i}, that correspond to different spawn locations. When the regex expression /World/Origin*/Cone is passed to the assets.RigidObject class, it spawns the rigid object prim at each of the /World/Origin{i} locations. For instance, if /World/Origin1 and /World/Origin2 are present in the scene, the rigid object prims are spawned at the locations /World/Origin1/Cone and /World/Origin2/Cone respectively.

    # Create separate groups called "Origin1", "Origin2", "Origin3"
    # Each group will have a robot in it
    origins = [[0.25, 0.25, 0.0], [-0.25, 0.25, 0.0], [0.25, -0.25, 0.0], [-0.25, -0.25, 0.0]]
    for i, origin in enumerate(origins):
        prim_utils.create_prim(f"/World/Origin{i}", "Xform", translation=origin)

    # Rigid Object
    cone_cfg = RigidObjectCfg(
            visual_material=sim_utils.PreviewSurfaceCfg(diffuse_color=(0.0, 1.0, 0.0), metallic=0.2),
    cone_object = RigidObject(cfg=cone_cfg)

Since we want to interact with the rigid object, we pass this entity back to the main function. This entity is then used to interact with the rigid object in the simulation loop. In later tutorials, we will see a more convenient way to handle multiple scene entities using the scene.InteractiveScene class.

    # return the scene information
    scene_entities = {"cone": cone_object}
    return scene_entities, origins

Running the simulation loop#

We modify the simulation loop to interact with the rigid object to include three steps – resetting the simulation state at fixed intervals, stepping the simulation, and updating the internal buffers of the rigid object. For the convenience of this tutorial, we extract the rigid object’s entity from the scene dictionary and store it in a variable.

Resetting the simulation state#

To reset the simulation state of the spawned rigid object prims, we need to set their pose and velocity. Together they define the root state of the spawned rigid objects. It is important to note that this state is defined in the simulation world frame, and not of their parent Xform prim. This is because the physics engine only understands the world frame and not the parent Xform prim’s frame. Thus, we need to transform desired state of the rigid object prim into the world frame before setting it.

We use the attribute to get the default root state of the spawned rigid object prims. This default state can be configured from the assets.RigidObjectCfg.init_state attribute, which we left as identity in this tutorial. We then randomize the translation of the root state and set the desired state of the rigid object prim using the assets.RigidObject.write_root_state_to_sim() method. As the name suggests, this method writes the root state of the rigid object prim into the simulation buffer.

            # reset root state
            root_state =
            # sample a random position on a cylinder around the origins
            root_state[:, :3] += origins
            root_state[:, :3] += math_utils.sample_cylinder(
                radius=0.1, h_range=(0.25, 0.5), size=cone_object.num_instances, device=cone_object.device
            # write root state to simulation
            # reset buffers

Stepping the simulation#

Before stepping the simulation, we perform the assets.RigidObject.write_data_to_sim() method. This method writes other data, such as external forces, into the simulation buffer. In this tutorial, we do not apply any external forces to the rigid object, so this method is not necessary. However, it is included for completeness.

        # apply sim data

Updating the state#

After stepping the simulation, we update the internal buffers of the rigid object prims to reflect their new state inside the attribute. This is done using the assets.RigidObject.update() method.

        # update buffers

The Code Execution#

Now that we have gone through the code, let’s run the script and see the result:

./ -p source/standalone/tutorials/01_assets/

This should open a stage with a ground plane, lights, and several green cones. The cones must be dropping from a random height and settling on to the ground. To stop the simulation, you can either close the window, or press the STOP button in the UI, or press Ctrl+C in the terminal

This tutorial showed how to spawn rigid objects and wrap them in a RigidObject class to initialize their physics handles which allows setting and obtaining their state. In the next tutorial, we will see how to interact with an articulated object which is a collection of rigid objects connected by joints.