What is Synthesis?

Synthesis is a robotics simulator designed to help FIRST Robotics teams design, strategize, test, and practice. Teams can import their own robot designs or use pre-existing ones into the simulator for a variety of uses. 

What is Synthesis Code Emulation?

The Synthesis code emulator allows users to run their own C++ code on virtual robots within the Synthesis simulation engine. Synthesis must be installed before downloading the emulator.

Scope of Emulation

Since HEL is a re-implementation of the Ni FPGA, it has the potential to support all RoboRIO inputs and outputs, including network data from the FRC Driver Station such as alliance station ID. Currently, HEL and the engine support:

  • Talon SRX and Victor SPX CAN outputs
  • PWM header outputs to motor controllers
  • Gamepad inputs
  • Encoder inputs (drive train encoders only)
  • Driver Station information (robot mode, alliance station, ID, game specific messages)
  • 100% open source

In the future, HEL and the engine will be expanded to support more features and support for Java development.


Synthesis is currently under development and is continuously improving and adding new features. Here are some of the features Synthesis currently has:

  • Export any CAD model from Autodesk Inventor or Fusion 360 as a robot.
  • Export any CAD model from Autodesk Inventor as a field.
  • Simulate any exported robot model in a custom field environment
  • Real-time physics collisions using Bullet Physics
  • Custom mode for driver practice and strategy
  • Practice competitions with Local Area Network Multiplayer
  • Mix and Match mode for creating custom robot designs
  • Customizable controls
  • C++ code emulation
  • 100% open source
  • Field and Robot library available for download

What's new?

Current Build:

  • Rework how user programs are run to vastly reduce lag
  • Fixed issue where user code input and output packets were dropped
  • Added virtual machine connection status indicator to emulation toolbar
  • Allow uploads of user program files with any name
  • Start Code and Stop Code buttons now actually stop and start the running user program
  • Added 2019 Destination Deep Space field to library
  • Operating System

    64-bit Microsoft® Windows® 10 Anniversary Update (version 1607 or higher)
    64-bit Microsoft Windows 8.1
    64-bit Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 with Update KB4019990

  • Software

    Autodesk Inventor Professional 2016 or later
    Visual Studio Code for Java/C++ development with latest WPIlib plugin

  • CPU

    Recommended: 3.0 GHz or greater, 4 or more cores
    Minimum: 2.5 GHz

  • Memory

    Recommended: 6 GB RAM or more
    Minimum: 4 GB RAM

  • Disk Space

    Recommended: Installer plus full installation (2 GB)
    Note: The Emulation installer uses QEMU, which will use 600 MB of additional space

  • Graphics

    Recommended: 4 GB GPU with 106 GB/S Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliant
    Minimum: 1 GB GPU with 29 GB/S Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliant