Building a physical robot isn’t cheap—even when it’s the final version. Designing a robot and testing it over and over again? That takes a lot of tries. And likely more than a few failures on the way to success. Luckily, simulation software is reducing the scrap heap—and bringing down the costs of building robots from the ground up. 

Kevin Knoedler shares how simulation software allows him to program and design robots from home. And even though he doesn’t have the budget or support of major research institutions like DARPA, his robots still end up winning major competitions. Evan Ackerman points out that winning those competitions takes a lot of skills. But amateurs have more ways than ever to get started with robotics. Louise Poubel explains how much time, energy, and money is saved with robot simulation software—and how it’s not just for the amateurs. And Dr. Timothy Chung reveals how competitions like the DARPA Subterranean Challenge encourage innovators to advance the field of robotics.

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