HAPTIX software install and update


The HAPTIX project simulates advanced robotic prosthetic limbs to allow researchers and developers to test their control software before running on the real hardware. The HAPTIX setup is composed of a Gazebo simulator, a client library and a client controller. The Gazebo simulator runs on a Linux machine, whereas the HAPTIX client library and the client controller can run on Linux and Windows hosts. This tutorial will guide your through the installation of Gazebo and the HAPTIX client library. Check out the rest of the HAPTIX tutorials for instructions on how to create your own hand controller.

Gazebo installation

Note: This section is only required if you do not yet have a Linux server running Gazebo with the HAPTIX packages.

Before installing Gazebo, you need a machine with Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit installed. Once your Linux machine is ready, open up a terminal and run the following command:

wget -O /tmp/haptix_gazebo_install.sh https://osrf-distributions.s3.amazonaws.com/haptix/haptix_gazebo_install.sh; sudo sh /tmp/haptix_gazebo_install.sh

You can test your Gazebo installation by running the next command in your terminal:

gazebo worlds/arat.world

Gazebo will load a manipulation environment with a right Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL). Alternatively, you can load a left arm by typing:

gazebo worlds/arat_left.world

Once you are done testing, please close Gazebo.

HAPTIX Client library SDK

The HAPTIX client library SDK is a stack of libraries that enables communication between your control software and the simulated hand in Gazebo. The main library is called haptix-comm. haptix-comm exposes the API that will allow your software to request information about the hand (number of joints, motors, number of sensors, etc.), as well as send new joint commands and receive the hand state.

Installing on Windows

We currently support Windows 7, Visual Studio 2013, and Matlab R2014b or newer, all 64-bit (you can determine the Matlab version by selecting Help->About MATLAB from the main menu). We are working on 32-bit versions; they will be available soon.

Download the SDK by going to:

and selecting a version. You probably want the latest version that is available (but check below for information on version compatibility section near the bottom of this document).

Unzip the zip file into your preferred HAPTIX folder. For example: C:\Users\osrf\Desktop\haptix-ws.

Network configuration

Now, you need to do some network configuration to specify the IP address that you will use for communicating with Gazebo.

Click on the Start button and type cmd in the Search box. Once you are in the terminal run the following command:


Look for the IPv4 Address inside the Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection section.

Click on the Start button and search for environment variables. Click on Edit the system environment variables, and then, click on the button Environment variables. Click on the New button from the User variables section to create a new environment variable with name IGN_IP. Enter the IPv4 Address mentioned above.

Now, we want to create a partition to group your Gazebo machine with all the related machines (e.g.: your MATLAB/Octave/Visual Studio development machine). This is important because if you decide to later run a second or third Gazebo instance on the same network, you will get crosstalk if there is no partition.

Click on the New button again and create a new environment variable with name IGN_PARTITION. Enter a name like gazebo1. Repeat this process on any Windows machine that you plan to use with this Gazebo instance.

Installing on Linux

One-line install

wget -O /tmp/haptix_sdk_install.sh https://osrf-distributions.s3.amazonaws.com/haptix/haptix_sdk_install.sh; sudo sh /tmp/haptix_sdk_install.sh

or Step-by-step install

  1. Setup your computer to accept software from packages.osrfoundation.org.

    sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://packages.osrfoundation.org/gazebo/ubuntu `lsb_release -cs` main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/gazebo-latest.list'
  2. Setup keys.

    wget https://packages.osrfoundation.org/gazebo.key -O - | sudo apt-key add -;
    sudo apt-get update
  3. Install the SDK.

    sudo apt-get install libhaptix-comm-dev

Network configuration

Now, you need to do some network configuration to specify the IP address that you will use for communicating with the other machines (e.g. your MATLAB development machine).

Open a terminal and run the following command:


Look for inet addr in the eth0 section.

Run the following command in the terminal, replacing the IGN_IP value with the inet_addr mentioned above:

echo "export IGN_IP=" >> ~/.bashrc

Now, we want to add our Linux machines (Gazebo/Octave) to the partition created in the previous section (in this example we called it gazebo1).

Run the following command in the terminal:

echo "export IGN_PARTITION=gazebo1" >> ~/.bashrc

Repeat this process on any Linux machine that you plan to use with this Gazebo instance.

Software Update

There are two ways the HAPTIX software may be updated:

  • Command-line

    1. Open a terminal
    2. Run the following commands

       sudo apt-get update
       sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Using the desktop icon.

    1. Note: This requires the haptixUpdate desktop icon. For more information, see here.
    2. Double click the haptixUpate icon on the desktop.

Version numbers

There are two version numbers relevant to the HAPTIX software. One is the version of the simulator; the other is the version of the client SDK.

Simulator version

To check the simulator version: Run Gazebo by either double-clicking the haptixStart desktop icon, or running the following command in a terminal.

gazebo worlds/arat.world

The simulator version (more specifically, the version of the handsim package) is located at the bottom left of the on-screen GUI.

In this case, the simulator version is 0.5.1.

From 0.8.0 version on, the version number in the menu located at the right top corner of the hand GUI, after pressed the gear icon:

In this case, the simulator version is 0.8.1

Client SDK version


On Windows, the client SDK version is in the name of the .zip file and the directory that you downloaded (and the resulting directory that the .zip file extracts to). E.g., if you downloaded hx_gz_sdk-0.6.0-Release-win64.zip, then you have version 0.6.0 of the client SDK.


On Linux, the client SDK version is the version of the libhaptix-comm-dev package that is installed. You can check it by running the following command in a terminal:

dpkg -l libhaptix-comm-dev

You should see output similar to:

| Status=Not/Inst/Conf-files/Unpacked/halF-conf/Half-inst/trig-aWait/Trig-pend
|/ Err?=(none)/Reinst-required (Status,Err: uppercase=bad)
||/ Name                    Version          Architecture     Description
ii  libhaptix-comm-dev:amd6 0.6.0-1~trusty   amd64            Haptix project communication library - Development f

In this case, the client SDK version is 0.6.0.

Version compatiblity

To ensure correct behavior between the Gazebo simulator and the client library SDK, you should check that you are using compatible versions of the two packages. The following table summarizes compatible combinations:

Simulator Version : Client SDK Version

  • 0.11.x : 0.8.y
  • 0.10.x : 0.8.y
  • 0.9.x : 0.8.y
  • 0.8.x : 0.7.y
  • 0.7.x : 0.6.y
  • 0.6.x : 0.5.y

HAPTIX CANbus driver

The HAPTIX CANbus driver is needed to control the real DEKA Luke hand using the HAPTIX client library SDK. The installation process requires access to the DEKA webtransfer system. If you believe you should have received access but do not, please contact haptix@osrfoundation.org for help.

A CANbus adapter is also required. We recommend the PCAN-USB Adapter made by PEAK-System Technik.

Installing on Windows

  1. Download the zipped file haptix-canbus-osrf.zip from the DEKA webtransfer system.

  2. Unzip it in your preferred directory and you will find the haptix.exe file which will enable the communication with the hand via the HAPTIX protocol when executed.

Installing on Linux

  1. Install the CANbus dependencies.

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install libpcan-dev libpcanbasic-dev
  2. Download the package haptix-luke-proprietary_0.0.1-1~trusty_amd64.deb from the DEKA webtransfer system.

  3. Install the HAPTIX CANbus driver.

    sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/haptix-luke-proprietary_0.0.1-1~trusty_amd64.deb