October 01, 2014
ROS Development Survey
From Ryan Gariepy of Clearpath Robotics via ros-users@

Clearpath Robotics, an early adopter of ROS, is working with the Open
Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) to determine how the worldwide ROS
development community can best be supported. This may be via support
services, resources, or tools offered by the OSRF or community
members. Now is your opportunity to let us know what you need and how
Clearpath and OSRF can work together to best support you.
Please take a moment to complete this short survey:

http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/clearpathrobotics-B/ros-development-survey-final/

by Tully Foote on October 01, 2014 06:47 PM

Industrial Calibration Library Update and Presentation

By Dr. Chris Lewis, SwRI:

Robotics and automation systems are increasingly reliant on both 2D and 3D imaging systems  to provide both perception and pose estimation. Calibration of these camera/robot systems is necessary, time consuming, and often a poorly executed process for registering image data to the physical world. SwRI is continuing to develop the industrial calibration library to provide tools for state-of-the-art calibration with the goal to provide reliably accurate results for non-expert users. Using the library, system designers may script a series of observations that ensure sufficient diversity of data to guarantee system accuracy. Often interfaces to motion devices such as robots may be included to fully automate the calibration procedure.

As a vision systems developer one may ask the following questions with regards to both intrinsic and extrinsic camera calibration.

  1. How many images of the calibration target are needed?
  2. At what ranges?
  3. At what angles?
  4. How many near the center of the field of view vs at the edges?
  5. What accuracy is achievable?
  6. What accuracy was achieved?

With our framework, a user may rapidly explore these questions.

Our framework is built using Google's Ceres Solver which is a state of the art non-linear optimization tool specifically designed to solve Bundle Adjustment problems efficiently. Our framework consists of five main parts.

  1. The main script processing code which
    • Collects observations
    • Runs the optimization
    • Installs the results
  2. A library of Ceres compatible cost functions.
  3. The camera observer interface which ties your cameras to the system and automatically triggers the camera and locates common calibration targets within specified regions of interest.
  4. The scene trigger interface which provides interfaces to motion hardware such as robots. It may also serve to communicate with users to specify how to configure each scene.
  5. Transform interfaces which provide the means by which kinematic values may be fed into and out of the calibration system. Updates to these extrinsic kinematic parameters is immediate and persistent.

Using this framework, we have demonstrated three distinctly different calibrations:

  • Extrinsic calibration of a camera mounted on the tool of a robot
  • Extrinsic calibration of a network of cameras
  • Extrinsic calibration of a static camera to a robot

In addition, the ROS-I team is currently developing an intrinsic calibration script whereby a robot moves the calibration target to create a repeatable set of calibration images. In the near future, we will be developing kinematic calibration procedures for robots using cameras to better estimate robotic joint parameters.

Additional links:

by Paul Hvass on October 01, 2014 04:09 PM

Posing
Multicultural teams are fantastic for cross-fertilisation of ideas, but its not all roses. The fruits of two different teams bringing their work together on the last day can cause some head scratching until you unearth the cause....


> rostopic list
/pose/initialised
/pose/initialized


by Daniel Stonier (noreply@blogger.com) on October 01, 2014 01:30 PM

ROS Vagrant base boxes
From Mark Pitchless of Shadowrobot via ros-users@

Hello All,

I'm very pleased to announce a set of vagrant virtual box base boxes, we have been working on at shadow robot, are now available on the cloud for public consumption.

https://vagrantcloud.com/shadowrobot

You need vagrant 1.5+ to use these. On trusty bring up a new ros machine like so:

apt-get install vagrant
mkdir indigovm
cd indigovm
vagrant init shadowrobot/ros-indigo-desktop-trusty64
vagrant up

After a bit a logged in desktop will appear, just open a terminal, roscore and away you go.

Currently we have Hydro and Indigo machines in 32bit and 64bit variants.

These are built using vagrant and ansible as part of our build tools project (more on this next week).
https://github.com/shadow-robot/sr-build-tools/blob/master/vagrant/ros-base/README.md
Feel free to log issues, ideas there or post here.

Collaboration welcome especially creating bases for other providers.

Have fun,

by Tully Foote on October 01, 2014 12:44 AM

September 30, 2014
Robotiq's New Force-Torque Sensor Support Added

Robotiq has recently announced the release of its new Force-Torque sensor. Please note that they've updated their ROS-I repository to include ROS support for it!

by Paul Hvass on September 30, 2014 02:14 PM

September 25, 2014
New Package: diff_drive_controller in ros_controllers
From Bence Magyar of PAL Robotics via ros-users@

Hi everyone,

PAL Robotics is pleased to announce the release of the diff_drive_controller that became available in Hydro and Indigo in the first quarter of 2014.

For those who already know it, I'd like to ask you to add your robot(s) to the wiki page with a moderately sized image and name: http://wiki.ros.org/diff_drive_controller#Robots.

For those who are new to it,
For documentation refer to:
http://wiki.ros.org/diff_drive_controller

As the name suggests, this controller moves a differential drive wheel base. 
Features:
  • The controller takes geometry_msgs::Twist messages as input.
  • Realtime-safe implementation.

  • Odometry computed and published from open or closed loop
  • Task-space velocity and acceleration limits
  • Automatic stop after command time-out
The controller will soon support skid steer platforms as well. 

Cheers,

by Tully Foote on September 25, 2014 05:28 PM

Community Meeting Video Posted

Thanks to everyone who participated in the ROS-Industrial Community meeting that was held in conjunction with ROSCon on Saturday, September 13! A special thanks to our presenters:

  • Paul Hvass (SwRI): Welcome and Update on RIC-Americas
  • Alexander Bubeck (Fraunhofer IPA): Update from RIC-EU 
  • Clay Flannigan (SwRI): ROS-I Roadmapping update
  • Preben Hjornet (Blue Workforce): Why ROS-I Community needs to adopt the Kinect 2 
  • Risto Kojcev (Italian Institute of Technology): Introducing the Cartesian path planner plug-in for MoveIt!
  • Ryan Gneiting (Deere and Co.): John Deere ROS-I demo cell

Participants included: ABB USA, Blue Workforce, CAT, Clearpath, Fraunhofer IPA, HDT Robotics, Innervycs, Intelligrated, Italian Institute of Technology, John Deere, Leica Biosystems, Max Planch Institute, MTC, Northwestern U., NRL, Omnico AGV, Open Source Robotics Kyokai, OSRF, Reiter Affiliated Companies, Rethink Robotics, Shadow Robot, SICK, Siemens, Spirit AeroSystems, SwRI, TU Delft, UIC, UT Austin, and Wiki Technium! Your insight and energy is key to our growing community.

ROS-I Community meetings occur 3 times per year and are open to the public.

by Paul Hvass on September 25, 2014 03:57 PM

September 23, 2014
SV-ROS's team Maxed-Out wins First Place at the IROS2014 Microsoft Kinect Challenge
SV-ROS's team Maxed-Out earns the highest score at IROS 2014 in the first Microsoft Kinect Challenge.

The Microsoft Kinect Challenge is a showcase of BRIN (Benchmark Indoor Robot Navigation), a scoring software that was used to score the competition. Each team had to create a mapping and autonomous navigation software solution that would successfully run on a provided Adept Pioneer 3DX robot

The number of way points achieved, time and accuracy are combined in determining a contestant's score. Microsoft Research's Gershon Parent, the author of the BRIN scoring software hopes to see BRIN as a universally accepted way of benchmarking autonomous robots' indoor navigation ability. 

SV-ROS is a Silicon Valley ROS users group that meets on the second to last Wednesday each month at the HackerDojo in Mountain View, CA. Team Maxed-Out is led by Greg Maxwell; key team members are Girts Linde, Ralph Gnauck, Steve Okay, and Patrick Goebel. The Maxed-Out effort began in May 2014 and was able to successfully create a winning ROS mapping localization and navigation solution in a few months, beating 5 other international teams. 

Maxed-Out's winning software solution was based on the ROS Hydro distribution on a powerful GPU enabled laptop running Ubuntu 12.04 and Nvidia Cuda 6.0 8 GPU parallel processing software. The team was able to out score all the other teams by incorporating the Rtabmap mapping, localization, navigation and new Point Cloud solution library that is the effort of Mathieu Labbe, a graduate student at the Université de Sherbrooke.

Team Maxed-Out's code is up at SV-ROS's Github repository and documented on this meetup page.

Pictures of the event are posted here

by Tully Foote on September 23, 2014 05:38 PM

Towards Live Programming in ROS with PhaROS and LRP
In this tutorial we will show you how to programs robot behaviour on using Live Robot Programming over PhaROS. Setup Follow the steps 1 to 4 of this post. Create a ROS node that consumes /kompai2/pose and /kompai/scan and publish in /command_velocity. To do this, just executing this: LrpharosPackage uniqueInstance Create an instance of the… Continue reading

by Pablo Estefó on September 23, 2014 09:25 AM

September 22, 2014
New package: Augmented Reality System
From Hamdi Sahloul via ros-users@

Hi everyone!

I have been recently through a need for a reliable pose estimation system, in which ar_pose (http://wiki.ros.org/ar_pose) failed to stratify my needs as it depends on the very basic ARToolKit old library.
Moreover, I found aruco_ros (http://wiki.ros.org/aruco_ros) as a good package to begin with, but it was only using a single marker, or double markers. It does not have a visualization system as well.

So, I made my package..
In order to avoid occlusions, I used marker boards (you still have the ability to use a 1x1 marker board), and now it could detect virtually unlimited boards with a very good accuracy.
Nonetheless, it is able to handle many cameras at once, and finally display the result in the rviz (http://wiki.ros.org/rviz).

I would love if you discover things further yourself, so here is the link:


It would only cost you a camera and couple of papers to try, therefore, kindly be asked to try it and let me please know your impression and feedback which is highly appreciated!

by Tully Foote on September 22, 2014 06:05 PM

September 21, 2014
answers.ros.org: A Quick How-To
Below are 5 steps to getting the most out of ROS Answers, and hopefully giving the most back to the community in the process:

1. Don't be afraid to ask a question

The name of the site may be "ROS Answers", but there is no point in having answers if there are not questions. Often I find that people comment on old questions, or post answers to old questions, hoping to get help for a possibly related problem. Your comments will probably be missed by anyone who did not previously participate in that question/answer thread, and posting an answer with a question is just bad etiquette. If you have a question, open a new question!

2. But before you ask a question, check to see if someone has already asked and answered the exact same thing!

There are over 15,000 18000* questions on ROS Answers. There is a good chance that if you have a common problem, it has already been asked, and probably answered. The average time between posting a question and getting answer is probably several hours, however, if you spend just a few minutes searching the site you might find your answer immediately.

3. If you ask a question -- try to make sure other people will be able to find it some day by adding appropriate tags.

That search thingy in #2 depends on questions being properly tagged. Adding a few (useful) tags will both help get you an answer faster, as well as making sure that the next person with the same question can find your question and the answer to it. "ros" is probably not a useful tag, the name of the package, node, or command in question would be good tags. Including tags for the specific hardware you might be using could also be useful (for instance "kinect" or "pr2")

4. Close button is evil. Karma is good.

This is probably the most misunderstood aspect of ROS Answers. People frequently post a comment saying "thanks, that works" and then click the "close" button on the question instead of selecting an answer. Please don't do this! Instead, click the checkmark next to the question to select the answer to your question. You can only select the answer on questions that you asked, however, if you find an answer to someone else's question that helps you, you can give a little Karma by clicking the "up arrow". The answer to the right here has been upvoted 26 times -- it must be pretty good.

The answers website really depends on Karma. New users have restrictions (unable to post links, images, etc).  New users NEED Karma to become more effective users. Power users need Karma to be able to moderate the site, like retagging those questions where people didn't get the tags right.

5. Finally, make sure somebody can actually maybe answer your question.

Good answers require good questions. If you get an error in the console, certainly include that exact error into the question. A summary of the error, or "I got an error" are not substitutes for the actual error or traceback. Tells us exactly what commands you ran. Other things you probably want to include: what ROS version, operating system, and robot you are running -- and if you aren't running from up-to-date debs from the OSRF apt repo, you probably want to point out how you installed ROS.

* I started writing this post a few days after the 15000th question was posted. I finished writing it 3000 questions later....

by Michael Ferguson (noreply@blogger.com) on September 21, 2014 09:43 PM

September 17, 2014
Microsoft Kinect v2 Driver Released

Reposted from ROS.org/news

From Thiemo and Alexis via ros-users@

Dear ROS Community,

I am Thiemo from the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bremen. I am currently a PhD Student under the supervision of Prof. Michael Beetz. I'm writing this together with Alexis Maldonado, another PhD Student at our lab, who has helped mainly with the hardware aspects.

To continue reading: http://www.ros.org/news/2014/09/microsoft-kinect-v2-driver-released.html

Note that the Kinect v2 was the topic of a presentation by Preben Hjornet from Blue Workforce during the recent ROS-Industrial Community Meeting, held at ROSCon on Sept. 13th. To listen to that presentation, go to time stamp 23:14 here: http://youtu.be/7gKnzVTEbVM

by Paul Hvass on September 17, 2014 06:48 PM

ROSCon 2014 comes to a close

Crossposted from www.osrfoundation.org

Thanks to everyone for another fantastic ROSCon! It was a fun event, filled with great presentations and discussions, plus many of those, "we've Internet-known each other for years, but are now meeting for the first time," moments. We'll post the videos and slides as soon as we can, linking them from the program page.

Here's the group at the end of the event (thanks to Chad Rockey for being our photographer):
ROSCON_GROUP_small

And here's one way to break down the demographics of the attendees, based on their type of affiliation:
roscon-2014-attendance-pie

We'd like to thank our generous sponsors, especially: QualcommClearpath Robotics,Rethink Robotics, and Cruise Automation.

by Tully Foote on September 17, 2014 01:19 AM

September 15, 2014
ROSCon 2014 comes to a close

Thanks to everyone for another fantastic ROSCon! It was a fun event, filled with great presentations and discussions, plus many of those, “we’ve Internet-known each other for years, but are now meeting for the first time,” moments. We’ll post the videos and slides as soon as we can, linking them from the program page.

Here’s the group at the end of the event (thanks to Chad Rockey for being our photographer):
ROSCON_GROUP_small

And here’s one way to break down the demographics of the attendees, based on their type of affiliation:
roscon-2014-attendance-pie

We’d like to thank our generous sponsors, especially: Qualcomm, Clearpath Robotics, Rethink Robotics, and Cruise Automation.

by Brian Gerkey on September 15, 2014 03:39 PM

Better Grasping with RightHand and ROS

Our friends at RightHand Robotics recently posted more information on how they worked with OSRF and ROS to develop their new ReFlex Hand. We’d like to highlight the fact that OSRF’s contribution to the project, which included the controller board electronics, its firmware, and the low-level host-side driver software, is all available under an open source license, in the reflex-ros-pkg repository.

Thanks to Morgan and Gabby for their great work on the project!

To learn more, dive into the code, take a look at the video below, or check out their blog post.

by Brian Gerkey on September 15, 2014 02:38 PM

Microsoft Kinect v2 Driver Released
From Thiemo and Alexis via ros-users@

Dear ROS Community,

I am Thiemo from the Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Bremen. I am currently a PhD Student under the supervision of Prof. Michael Beetz. I'm writing this together with Alexis Maldonado, another PhD Student at our lab, who has helped mainly with the hardware aspects.

In the past few months I developed a toolkit for the Kinect v2 including: a ROS interface to the device (driver) using libfreenect2, an intrinsics/extrinsics calibration tool, an improved depth registration method using OpenCL, a lightweight pointcloud/images viewer based on the PCL visualizer and OpenCV.

The system has been developed for and tested in both ROS Hydro and Indigo (Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04)

The driver has been improved to reach high performance, meaning to be able to process the sensor's information at full framerate (30Hz) on acceptable hardware (not only high-end machines). This was achieved through parallelization of the image pipeline. Care has also been taken to be able to transfer the complete data over compressed topics to other PCs (30Hz data uses approx. 40Mbytes/s on the network).

Specially interesting for other people with a PR2 robot: we have built a small mITX computer using an AMD A10-7850K processor, and a PicoPSU. It is installed as a backpack on our PR2, and a Kinect v2 on the head above the cameras. This 'backpack-PC' is necessary because the built-in computers on the PR2 don't support USB3 and they are quite loaded with their normal workload.

We are glad to announce the release of the software for ROS community, hoping it will be useful for others, specially people working in robotics research. Please see the following GitHub repository:

  https://github.com/code-iai/iai_kinect2

You will need a slightly patched version of libfreenect2, as indicated on the README. It is here:
  https://github.com/wiedemeyer/libfreenect2

Screenshots are also on the GitHub page.

We are looking forward to improvements and/or bug reports. Please use the GitHub tools for that.

Best regards,

Thiemo and Alexis

Institute for Artificial Intelligence
University of Bremen

by Tully Foote on September 15, 2014 05:26 AM

September 12, 2014
Open Source Robotics Foundation to Extend ROS Support to Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors

Roboticists Now Able to Incorporate System-On-A-Chip Capabilities in Robot Designs and Applications

September 12, 2014 — MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) today announced plans to extend the capabilities of ROS to Qualcomm ® Snapdragon™ 600  processors, a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated. Today’s announcement is made in conjunction with ROSCon 2014, the annual ROS Developer Conference.  ROSCon runs from Sept. 12-13 in Chicago, IL.  More information on the event is at http://roscon.ros.org/2014/

Via this agreement, OSRF will create and subsequently support a ROS release for Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processors for both the Linux and Android operating systems.  OSRF will test, refine, and fully integrate support for the ARM instruction set architecture into ROS development efforts.  Once complete, OSRF will perform ongoing maintenance to generally support ROS on Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processors.

The benefit to the worldwide robotics community working on the lower-power ARM chips means that robots can be smaller, more efficient, and have a longer battery life.

“As adoption of ROS continues to increase, our developer community wants to incorporate the latest computing platforms,” says Brian Gerkey, CEO of OSRF.  “Given the intersection between robotics and mobile and embedded systems, we believe that offering Snapdragon’s SoC capabilities to our users will be a big hit.”

“Qualcomm Technologies is proud to join OSRF and the ROS community to create an official, supported release for Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processors,” said Matt Grob, executive vice president and CTO, Qualcomm.  “We’re excited about the potential for future innovation and invention in the robotics community with the combination of ROS and Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.”

ROS (for “Robot Operating System”) is a collection of tools and libraries that simplify the task of creating and programming robotic platforms and applications.  ROS is overseen by OSRF, who make the OS freely available to any and all users via open source licenses.  Since its introduction in 2007, ROS has grown to become the de facto OS for roboticists all over the world.

Availability

ROS for Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processors will be available on the Linux OS and is anticipated to be available in Q4 2014 and on the Android OS in the first half of 2015. For more information on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, please visit, https://www.qualcomm.com/#/products/snapdragon

About The Open Source Robotics Foundation

The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) is an independent non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community. The mission of OSRF is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development.  More information on OSRF is available at www.osrfoundation.org or by following the company on Twitter @OSRFoundation

Media Contacts:

Tim Smith

Element Public Relations

tsmith@elementpr.com

415-350-3019

Qualcomm and Snapdragon are trademarks of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries.  All Qualcomm Incorporated trademarks are used with permission.

by Tully Foote on September 12, 2014 02:43 PM

September 10, 2014
ROSCon 2014 is coming fast!
ROSConChicago_Layered-200x300.png

We're looking forward this weekend to another great ROS event!

This will be the third ROSCon. To get into the mood take a look through the old sites for 2012 and 2013. They include links to the old programs as well as video recordings of the presentations available for viewing. 

This year we have a great program with 19 reviewed presentations on the use of ROS in environments ranging from deep mines to low earth orbit. 

As you prepare please think about topics for lightning talks or birds of a feather discussions. Everyone will have an opportunity to pitch both at the conference. For lightning talks you can prepare a few slides but don't try to do things which are too fancy. 

We look forward to seeing you there. There will be some construction on the Blue Line which may make travel from the airport a little harder. We have posted detail on the website

If you're attending you can add photos to the Google+ Event, or if you can't make it but want to see what's going on watch the event as well as hashtags #ROSCon2014 or #ROSCon

We'd like to thank our generous sponsors, especially: Qualcomm, Clearpath Robotics, Rethink Robotics, and Cruise Automation.

by Tully Foote on September 10, 2014 09:34 PM

September 09, 2014
New ROS package available for the Barrett Hand
From Román Navarro García via ros-users@

Hi Everyone,

We're pleased to announce a new package for the Barrett Hand BH8-28X

This package allows the control of the hand either in velocity or position, and reading the current state of the joints and the sensors (fingertip torque and tactile sensors).

The software includes packages with the model description and a graphical interface (rqt) to interact with the hand.

Links:

http://wiki.ros.org/Robots/BarrettHand -> Technical description
http://wiki.ros.org/barrett_hand -> ROS package description 


Groovy and Hydro are currently supported, Indigo soon.

If you are interested in verifying all these features of the hand, you can visit us from 14th until 18th of September in booth nº303 at IROS 2014.

Best regards,

by Tully Foote on September 09, 2014 09:46 PM

Virtual machines with ROS Indigo pre-installed
From Nootrix via ros-users@

Hi there,

Just wanted to let you know that we have issued two virtual machines with ROS Indigo Igloo pre-installed: one 64 bits and the other 32bits.
http://nootrix.com/2014/09/ros-indigo-virtual-machine/

Enjoy,
Eddy


by Tully Foote on September 09, 2014 04:15 AM

September 07, 2014
ROS running on ISS
Cross-posted from the ROS blog.

We have an update from NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC): ROS is now up and running on Robonaut 2 (R2) aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

R2-task-panel-thumb-480x270-921.jpg

ROS was delivered to ISS aboard a SpaceX rocket as part of a recent resupply mission that also included a set of robotic legs that will be attached to R2 soon.

NASA was able to upgrade the R2 torso earlier this month after on-orbit surgery to remove old processors and electronics and install new ones. On August 12, R2 powered up using ROS for the first time.

As we mentioned in a prior post, the R2 team at JSC has been using ROS for R2 development on Earth for the last couple of years. They combine ROS with OROCOS RTT to produce a flexible development environment with real-time capabilities.

Allison Thackston and Julia Badger from the R2 team will be addressing the audience at ROSCon on the unique challenges of deploying software in space systems. Their presentation, “ROS in Space,” will open the second day of the conference. ROSCon takes place on September 12 and 13 in Chicago, IL. For more information and registration details, visit the ROSCon website.

R2-stow-pose-thumb-480x318-936

by Brian Gerkey on September 07, 2014 05:33 PM

September 06, 2014
Intel NUC for ROS
This post has been a long time coming -- I think I promised it to several HBRC members at the July SIG...

I've frequently been asked "what computer do you use on your robots?", usually from someone looking at a variety of sub-$100 ARM boards. ARM processors have come a long way, but for a ROS computer, they are not the easiest choice. Austin Hendrix has done a lot of work to get a buildfarm up and running for ARM processors -- but there is still a long way to go and many things will not work "out-of-the-box".
So my choice? Well, it's not under $100, but it is a very fast, fairly low power machine (here, I define low-power in the sub-15W range). The latest generation of Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing) modules offer quite a few options for small Intel Core-based computers. I'm using the 4th-generation i3-based D34010WYK. This offers quite a bit of compute power for ROS, especially when you consider that early TurtleBots ran on a single-core Atom. I've used 35W TDP i3 processors on a number of mobile manipulation problems and been able to run the OpenNI/OpenNI2-based drivers, the navigation stack and MoveIt! without much difficulty. If you're looking for a bit more processor, there is an i5-based version for $100 more.
Intel NUC (image from Intel NUC website)
These computers are sold as either a board (somewhat hard to find for sale) or as a kit which includes the case. Either option requires memory, hard drive and wifi card to be added. My setup is:
  • 8GB Crucial Ballistix Sport SODIMM. Whatever you choose, be sure it is 1.35V RAM -- the newer NUC models work ONLY with 1.35V RAM (many modules are 1.5V).
  • 120GB Crucial mSATA SSD. Intel offers a larger case version of the NUC that fits a standard 2.5" drive, but the smaller versions only take an mSATA drive.
  • Intel 7260 Wireless-AC Card. This card will work best with Ubuntu 14.04, older versions will need an updated kernel (at least 3.13) to get working drivers. No need for antennas as they are already in the case.
These boards take 12-24V DC input, but are probably most efficient at 19V. I'm powering mine off a 12V battery connected to a Pololu 5A Step-Up Regulator that is configured to output the desired 19V. My batteries will never get even close to 19V even when fully charged, and so the regulator should not have any issues.
I would recommend installing Ubuntu 14.04 and using ROS Indigo for these machines. If you want to use an older Ubuntu distro, you should definitely make sure your wifi card is compatible, because the Ethernet port will not work with the drivers present on the 12.04 installer and you will have to connect to ubuntu.com to update somehow. Another alternative is to look for a NUC based on the 3rd-generation Intel Core processors, but these might be hard to locate.

by Michael Ferguson (noreply@blogger.com) on September 06, 2014 10:45 PM

September 05, 2014
Cartesian Path Planner Plug-In for MoveIt!

Dear ROS-I Community,

My name is Risto Kojcev, a joint PhD student between the BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and MicroBio Robotics Institute at the Italian Institute of Technology, in Pisa Italy.

This year I was participating in the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) directed by the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) and ROS-Industrial (ROS-I) Consortium. The title of my project was Cartesian Path Planner Plug-In for MoveIt.

In this blog post I would like to share the vision behind the GSoC project and its usefulness in the real robotic applications.

Technical Details of the Plug-In

The project aim was to develop a user friendly Cartesian Path Planner Plug-In for MoveIt!. In the current version of the project, the user can simultaneously interact with a Qt Widget and the RViz environment to define and set Cartesian Way-Points, which can then be passed to the Cartesian Planner of the MoveIt package and executed both on a simulated and real robot. [Cartesian waypoints can also be loaded externally from a yaml file.]

For the User Interaction in the RViz environment the Interactive Marker package was used. The plug-in offers two types of Interactive Markers. The first one is called Interaction Marker and is used to add the second type of Interactive Marker, the actual Cartesian Way-Points. The Cartesian Way-Points can be moved around freely in the RViz environment, and a menu that offers additional components for removing the Way from the Cartesian Plan and more detailed 6DOF control is available for each Way-Point. The color of the Way-Points lets the user know if a certain Way-Point is within the range of the Inverse Kinematics (IK) solution for the loaded robot model. In the case when the point is within the range of the IK Solution the color of the way-point is blue and yellow otherwise.

The user can also interact with the Cartesian Planner through a Qt Widget. In this widget all the Way-Points are displayed, offering additional details about each Way-Point Pose, which can be edited and adjusted by the user. Furthermore, the user can perform the same operations as in the RViz environment: adding a new Way-Point or removing it. The Way-Points can be saved to a file and the Plug-in also offers the user to load a previously saved way-points file.

The Cartesian Planner part of this Plug-in offers the user a means to adjust the parameters of the Cartesian Planner and execute a Cartesian Path set from the previously added Way-Points.

More detailed tutorials and description of the Plug-in can be found on the moveit_cartesian_plan_plugin wiki page. For the source code of the project, reporting bugs and further development suggestions, please visit the github repository.

Applications and Future Development

The design goals behind the Cartesian Plug-in was to create a simple and user friendly environment, which targets larger groups of users, from ROS beginners to more ROS experienced users. It is envisioned to find its applications in a lot of industrial applications, for example welding, painting or performing more complex actions. This Plug-in is a good starting point for future development of other applications, not just in the industrial robotics area, where Cartesian path planning is useful. For example to even further automate the creation of Way-Points an external perception system can be used which would generate Cartesian Way-Points and then the user can review the Cartesian Path, correct it and execute it, or even save it if necessary.

I would like to conclude this blog post by sharing my gratitude towards all the ROS-I community members and my mentor Shaun Edwards, who shared their suggestions during the project development. I am very happy that I had the chance to participate in this awesome program and this was a great experience for me and most of all I had lot of fun working on this project. I hope that this project would find its place in many applications and it would be useful for lot of users.

by Paul Hvass on September 05, 2014 08:00 PM

September 03, 2014
2014 ROS Metrics Report Available
The 2014 edition of the ROS Metrics Report is now posted at: http://download.ros.org/downloads/metrics/metrics-report-2014-07.pdf

This is the 4th version of the ROS Metrics report. All are versions are available at: http://wiki.ros.org/Metrics 

The ROS community has grown in almost every metric. The one exception is that the number of wiki pages has dropped. This is due to a concerted cleanup effort earlier this year which removed a lot of empty pages with little to no content. 

The other metric which warrants note is the large growth in the number of unique IPs per month, up to 49,153 from last years sampling of 11,078.  And the total downloads of packages more than doubled to 3,570,374 downloads. 

And all of these numbers do not count the any statistics for mirrors either private or public

If you have a moment we recommend you take a look. There are many interesting statistics such as ROS users by country and the top 40 most downloaded packages. 

Related to this look for more information on the ROS ecosystem from William Curran's talk next week at ROSCon 2014.  Event Program


by Tully Foote on September 03, 2014 07:57 PM

September 02, 2014
ROS running on ISS

We have an update from NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC): ROS is now up and running on Robonaut 2 (R2) aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

R2-task-panel.jpg

ROS was delivered to ISS aboard a SpaceX rocket as part of a recent resupply mission that also included a set of robotic legs that will be attached to R2 soon.

NASA was able to upgrade the R2 torso earlier this month after on-orbit surgery to remove old processors and electronics and install new ones. On August 12, R2 powered up using ROS for the first time.

As we mentioned in a prior post, the R2 team at JSC has been using ROS for R2 development on Earth for the last couple of years. They combine ROS with OROCOS RTT to produce a flexible development environment with real-time capabilities.

Allison Thackston and Julia Badger from the R2 team will be addressing the audience at ROSCon on the unique challenges of deploying software in space systems. Their presentation, "ROS in Space," will open the second day of the conference. ROSCon takes place on September 12 and 13 in Chicago, IL. For more information and registration details, visit the ROSCon website.

R2-stow-pose.jpg

by Brian Gerkey on September 02, 2014 03:12 PM


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