November 21, 2014
ROS Korea users meetup, seminar, and tutorial
From Jihoon via ros-users@

Hello
      everyone,

There
      will be ROS Korea users seminar & meetup in Seoul, Korea on
      December 21, hosted by OROCA, one of largest korean robotics
      community. 

      The seminar will cover overview for beginners, navigation, moveit,
      UAV, and community briefly by speakers from various groups in
      Korea.

Also
          I hope to hang out with other users after seminar since it is
          first ROS event in Korea. So please drop by in the evening. :)

For more info see(in Korean) : http://cafe.naver.com/openrt/7283
For English info : Email me(jihoonlee.in@gmail.com)

In addition to the seminar there will be a ROS Tutorial. Here are some details about ROS tutorial.


Tentative Date : 2014/12/22
Time : 13:00 ~ 18:00
Location : TBD
Expected # of participants : 30~40
Organiser : Yoonseok Pyo(passionvirus@gmail.com), Jihoon Lee(jihoonlee.in@gmail.com)
Registration : e-mail to passionvirus@gmail.com
Contents:
  * ROS environment setup
  * ROS commands, pub/sub/srv
  * How to integrate sensors
  * SLAM and navigation using kobuki
  * How to write turtlebot rapps

Fully in Korean
Free of charge

by Tully Foote on November 21, 2014 07:16 PM

November 19, 2014
Yaskawa Motoman Offers Robots to Amazon Picking Challenge Teams
dual-arm-SDA10-juice-boxes Motoman-arm-picking-boxes

Yaskawa Motoman Robotics is pleased to announce sponsorship of the Amazon Picking Challenge to be held in conjunction with ICRA 2015. This open competition will further the development of robot skills required for e-commerce and other material handling. Yaskawa Motoman is offering consignment robots to select teams entering the challenge. Selected teams will receive their choice of robot model in January, 2015 and may keep them through June, subject to model availability. To apply for a Motoman consignment robot, please submit the following items via this form by midnight PST December 17, 2014.

  • Video of a simulated robot executing a picking task
  • Link to your team/organization website
  • Completed application describing your Motoman hardware utilization plan

Yaskawa Motoman will provide robots, software (including our MotoROS driver), and onsite technical support both at the team’s location and the event.

To support your development efforts, the ROS-Industrial Consortium will be updating its pick and place tutorial to include the Motoman MH5 II model. The tutorial will also be updated to ROS Indigo. Additional resource links:

by Paul Hvass on November 19, 2014 11:30 PM

ROS Japan Users Group + Kawada host a successful ROS Meetup #4
From Daiki Maekawa via ros-users@

Hi Everyone,

We held ROS JAPAN Users Group meetup as NEXTAGE Hackathon in KAWADA Robotics Inc. on November 8 2014.

We developed the function of obstacle avoidance behavior, stereo camera, and sample code for NEXTAGE.

?Demonstration movie



?Please see the photos of this meetup

See the links below for the presentation slides of this meetup.

by Tully Foote on November 19, 2014 09:58 PM

November 17, 2014
A rosbag implementation in Java
From Aaron Schiffman via @ros-users

Dear ROS-Users,

I've created a rosbag writer implementation for Java, and posted it to a new BitBucket repository. It should be functional for writing a rosbag format 2.0 none compression rosbag in Android or Java ROS implementations (Client or Server). If your interested the source repository is located at:
 
 
 
 
 
 
aaron_sims / jrosbag / source / -- Bitbucket
Source Branch master Check out branch jrosbag /
Preview by Yahoo
 
How to use the Bag class:
  1. Initialize the org.happy.artist.rmdmia.utilities.ros.bag.Bag class.
  2. Call bag.start(OutputStream os, Bag.CHUNK_COMPRESSION_NONE)); // Where os is the OutputStream you intend to write the file. Examples could be a FileOutputStream, or a network output stream that writes the file to Google Drive, or Dropbox (just examples).
  3. Call bag.addConnectionHeader(char[] topic, int conn, char[] connection_header_hex); for each new connection header on connection handshake. int conn is a unique int connection id chosen for the connection (might be a good idea to iterate through topic ids to create an int array, or other mechanism to chose a unique int. connection_header_hex will be the ROS Serialized Message in the connection header.
  4. Call bag.addMessage(long time, int conn, char[] message_data_hex); Pass in the long time, associated connection header int conn id, and the ROS serialized message to add to the rosbag file.
This Java code is poorly documented, however, I wanted to share it with ROS Community for Java/Android ROS clients that want to record rosbag files. Good luck using it. Releasing under Apache 2.0 license.

I wish I had more time to clean up the code better, and if you have questions or want to contribute send me a message.

Thanks,

Aaron 

by Tully Foote on November 17, 2014 07:38 PM

November 14, 2014
New Tutorials: Adding a global path planner as plugin in ROS
From Anis Koubaa via ros-users@

We have updated the tutorial on adding a global path planner as plugin in ROS. We have added testing using RVIZ.
The general tutorial is available on ROS Wiki site in this link

A more specific tutorial that shows how to add a real genetic algorithm planner is presented in this tutorial page

It is possible to work with other path planning algorithms. We implemented the iPath C++ library that provides the implementation of several path planners including A*, GA, local search and some relaxed version of A* and Dijkstra (much faster that A* and Dijkstra).  More will be added soon on Google Code. 

The iPath library is available as open source on Google Code under the GNU GPL v3 license. The library was extensively tested under different maps including those provided in this benchmark and other randomly generated maps
A tutorial on how to use iPath simulator is available on this link

Credits particularly go to Maram Al-Ajlan (Master Student at Al-Imam Mohamed bin Saud University, Saudi Arabia) and Imen Chaari (PhD student at Manouba University Tunisia) for their efforts in implementing the algorithms and integration to ROS. 

If you have any suggestions or questions about tools or tutorials, please contact me. 

Anis

by Tully Foote on November 14, 2014 08:58 PM

November 13, 2014
Software Engineer/PhD opening at Fraunhofer IPA

From Florian Weißhardt via ros-users@

Position: Software Engineer, possibility to obtain PhD degree

Location: Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany

Experience: Strong skills in software design and C/C++ development and rich experience in ROS development

Finding solutions to organizational and technological challenges, particularly within the production environment of industrial enterprises. That, in a nutshell, is the key focus of the research and development work carried out at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. With 14 individual departments engaged in the fields of Corporate Organization, Automation and Surface Engineering, our R&D projects aim to enhance production processes and make products more cost-effective and environmentally friendly by identifying and exploiting the potential for automation and streamlining at clients' companies.

The Fraunhofer IPA department for robot and assistive systems develops service robots for various application fields (e.g. domestic, inspection, logistics, production assistance, manufacturing, etc.) with the goal of reliable, robust and safe service of these robots in everyday environments. These applications require complex software systems including navigation, planning, perception and manipulation for dynamic and changing environments and intuitive human-robot interaction.

The position covers the development of concepts and tools to reduce integration effort and simplify application development for these complex robotic systems in the frame of public funded national and EU projects. The transfer of the results to industry by organizing workshops, publishing articles relevant magazines and exhibiting demonstrators at fairs and conferences is part of the job description as well.

You have completed your master or diploma degree with excellent results and are interested in interdisciplinary research with high-tech robots like Care-O-bot or KUKA iiwa. You could already gather experience in scientific working and optimally already presented your first results at an international conference. You are confident in software architectures and software engineering and have practical experiences with the development of robot applications in ROS.

We offer you a highly interesting and diverse work environment with both contact to top robotics researchers and industry. In addition to obtaining a phd degree, the position encompasses early transfer of project and staff responsibility. For the implementation and validation of your ideas, we offer exceptionally equipped laboritories and test environments.

Qualifications/Requirements:

  • Rich experience in ROS development
  • A Master/Diploma degree from a top university in computer science, robotics or software engineering
  • Strong skills software design and C/C++ development
  • Proficient oral and written English skills

Advantageous are:

  • Experience with model-driven engineering approaches
  • Oral and written German skills

Please include the following documents in your application:

  • Cover letter that expresses your motivation and (research) goals
  • CV
  • Transcripts of all obtained degrees (including scholar education)
  • References and certificates relevant to the position

Please send your application to martina.goetzner@ipa.fraunhofer.de referring to position IPA-2014-109.

by Paul Hvass on November 13, 2014 12:52 AM

November 12, 2014
Toyota HSR Hackathon assisted by TORK
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) hosted a 2-day hackathon on their HSR
(Human Support Robot) on October 23th and 24th in Tokyo. TORK assisted
the event and the software.

HSR has been developed as an elderly care for domestic situations as
well as in medical facilities. This time TMC invited researchers and
students from institutes in Japan. 15 participants got a hands-on
experience, tried out making small tasks to let the mobile-manipulator
robot interact with human, and had fun.

All of the higher-end functionalities such as self-localization,
vision-based collision avoidance, motion planning and so on are
available via a de-facto standard opensource robotics framework ROS
(Robot Operating System) (that is, as previously announced). It also
comes with script language interface so that it doesn't require
developers to be well acquainted with ROS.

With the feedback from the attendees this time TMC expects to boost
the development in the future.

A write up of the event with photos can be found here

Reference: Announcement on TMC Facebook page (in Japanese)

by Tully Foote on November 12, 2014 10:18 PM

November 10, 2014
ROS MAV SIG Call for Participation

ROS Aerial Vehicle Users,


We'd like to invite you to participate in an effort to develop a standard set of messages for communicating within robotics components on Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). At the IROS workshop on MAV's (proceedings) this fall it was identified that the MAV community has many different implementations of the same capabilities. They are often all closely related and are almost compatible but rarely is it easy to switch between different implementations, or use different implementations together. From that discussion it was proposed to work toward building up a common way to communicate and enable the MAV community to collaborate most effectively.

To make this happen we have setup a mailinglist and wiki pages to be a place to coordinate this effort (MAV SIG, mailing list). If you are interested in this topic we ask that you join, listen and participate so that we can get as broad a spectrum of voices as possible.


We have chosen the ROS SIG format as it has proven effective at developing standard messages which are used by many people every day. ROS SIG's are relatively unstructured and allow adaptation for differences in each community and process.


We plan to use the ROS .msg format as a way to formalize the messages, since it is a relatively compact way to express messages which has representations in many languages. The most important part of the process will not be the actual msg file that comes out, but the datatypes for which people can rely on being isomorphic when transitioning between systems.


Having common datatypes will allow us to have better modularity and interoperability. As an example from the ROS ecosystem, there are 10+ different laser scanner drivers in the ROS ecosystem and 18+ different camera drivers (ROS sensors). Because these drivers all use a standard set of messages a user of those sensors can switch which sensor they are using on their system, or deploy systems with different sensors and the rest system will continue to operate without modifications. There are more complicated examples such as the navigation stack which has a standard set of messages for sending commands and providing feedback. This same interface has been used for differential drive, holonomic, free flying, and even walking robots.


There are already dozens of MAV related ROS packages released and we hope that developing these standard messages can help coordinate the efforts of the many contributors already working on aerial vehicles in ROS.


If you would like to know more please check out the SIG (LINK). if you're at all interested please join the process. We've started a thread at here to kick off the process.  


Tully Foote (OSRF), Lorenz Meier (ETHZ / CVG, PX4), Markus Achtelik (ETHZ / ASL).

by Tully Foote on November 10, 2014 06:13 PM

Software Engineer/PhD opening at Fraunhofer IPA

From Florian Weißhardt via ros-users@

Position: Software Engineer, possibility to obtain PhD degree

Location: Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany

Experience: Strong skills in software design and C/C++ development and rich experience in ROS development

Finding solutions to organizational and technological challenges, particularly within the production environment of industrial enterprises. That, in a nutshell, is the key focus of the research and development work carried out at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. With 14 individual departments engaged in the fields of Corporate Organization, Automation and Surface Engineering, our R&D projects aim to enhance production processes and make products more cost-effective and environmentally friendly by identifying and exploiting the potential for automation and streamlining at clients' companies.

The Fraunhofer IPA department for robot and assistive systems develops service robots for various application fields (e.g. domestic, inspection, logistics, production assistance, manufacturing, etc.) with the goal of reliable, robust and safe service of these robots in everyday environments. These applications require complex software systems including navigation, planning, perception and manipulation for dynamic and changing environments and intuitive human-robot interaction.

The position covers the development of concepts and tools to reduce integration effort and simplify application development for these complex robotic systems in the frame of public funded national and EU projects. The transfer of the results to industry by organizing workshops, publishing articles relevant magazines and exhibiting demonstrators at fairs and conferences is part of the job description as well.

You have completed your master or diploma degree with excellent results and are interested in interdisciplinary research with high-tech robots like Care-O-bot or KUKA iiwa. You could already gather experience in scientific working and optimally already presented your first results at an international conference. You are confident in software architectures and software engineering and have practical experiences with the development of robot applications in ROS.

We offer you a highly interesting and diverse work environment with both contact to top robotics researchers and industry. In addition to obtaining a phd degree, the position encompasses early transfer of project and staff responsibility. For the implementation and validation of your ideas, we offer exceptionally equipped laboritories and test environments.

Qualifications/Requirements:

  • Rich experience in ROS development
  • A Master/Diploma degree from a top university in computer science, robotics or software engineering
  • Strong skills software design and C/C++ development
  • Proficient oral and written English skills

Advantageous are:

  • Experience with model-driven engineering approaches
  • Oral and written German skills

Please include the following documents in your application:

  • Cover letter that expresses your motivation and (research) goals
  • CV
  • Transcripts of all obtained degrees (including scholar education)
  • References and certificates relevant to the position

Please send your application to martina.goetzner@ipa.fraunhofer.de referring to position IPA-2014-109.

by Tully Foote on November 10, 2014 02:00 AM

November 03, 2014
Delivering ROS in a Box
The Inno Team here at Yujin Robot are very excited to finally be able to talk about our latest project. So without further ado, we'd like to introduce GoCart™!



gopher_design_a0small2.jpg

GoCart is the first iteration of a family of robots we are calling Gopher.  They're designed to be small, agile, team oriented, and able to do anything from specialised gofer'ing services through to lightweight logistics. And while GoCart is a little different than we initially envisaged, it is quickly becoming a natural first step having evolved through business networks and partners in relevant markets.

In many ways this is a break from the past and a shiny new business direction for Yujin Robot, but in many others it is a return to our roots (navigation and manufacturing). The last four years have been an exploratory period in which Yujin has incrementally developed an international outlook. Working with foreign companies to improve manufacturing processes, introducing new work styles, mixed Korean and international teams, adoption of external ideas and of course, ROS. ROS in particular we've used heavily in an experimental way via government projects, TurtleBot, and as a tool for internal development. There actually hasn't been much we haven't tried - right from low level embedded development through to navigation, manipulation and user interfaces via web and Android. Right now though, GoCart is a chance to refocus on our core strengths and transfer everything new that we've learned into a real opportunity.

So what is this opportunity? GoCart is our solution to lower cost and improve the quality of care in health and elderly care facilities. With it, we will automise the time-consuming task of transporting meals within facilities. This will free up time for staff, allowing them to spend more time caring for patients and residents. GoCart will be available as a “robot as a service” (RAAS) at an affordable monthly rate per unit. This will include the robot, on-site set-up, and 24-7 support and maintenance. With GoCart health and elderly care facilities will reduce their overall operational cost.

We're also thrilled to work with Synapticon on this project to build an affordable motor-sensor network for service robotics rather than duplicating everything in-house. GoCart’s low-level control system consists in parts of SOMANET hardware and software modules. It’s job is to handle sensor data processing, power management, and motor control.

GoCart’s list of sensors includes PSDs, ultrasonic range finders, a gyroscope, a 3D sensor, and Yujin Robot’s new d-SLAM™ system using multiple stereo-camera boards. d-SLAM maps and localises and all other sensors specifically focus on obstacle avoidance. d-SLAM also enables us to drop the overpriced laser range finders and provides tremendous advantages in dynamic, cluttered environments.

WIFI is used for the communication between GoCarts and with the admin station to enable teamwork, monitoring, and remote control. For developing and implementing GoCart’s meal-transport service, we will leverage various tools from ROCON. We use capabilities and the rapp platform to manage robot applications (tasks), the concert to orchestrate multiple robots and smart device clients and service tools to facilitate the service development.

GoCart is fully ROS powered. Apart from ROS’ core modules and the ROCON stacks, we also use popular software packages such as the navigation framework, openni_launch and ecto amongst others. We also extend ROS with our own modules where needed - some open, some closed. The single most important priority driving development is to get GoCart out there doing road miles as quickly and as robustly as possible. Consequently, this often fuels our choice to use and contribute to the ROS world when and where it isn’t a differentiator for us.

All in all, we’re excited to be finally putting ROS into what will be a core product for Yujin Robot and at the same time stretching ROS in directions it hadn’t anticipated in being (ab)used.

Right now, GoCart is just emerging - its first iteration is a design concept and technology proof - but we will be very quickly moving on-site for testing. It’s shaping up to be a very busy, but amazing couple of years!

by Daniel Stonier (noreply@blogger.com) on November 03, 2014 04:58 AM

October 29, 2014
New Package: mongodb_store

From Nick Hawes via ros-users@

I would like to announce the release of a new suite of tools to enable the persistent storage, analysis and retrieval of ROS messages in a MongoDB database.

The mongodb_store package:

http://wiki.ros.org/mongodb_store

... provides nodes to store arbitrary ROS messages in a MongoDB database, query the database and retrieve messages, with helper classes in C++ and Python. Nodes are also available to provide rosbag-like functionality using the [same db format] (http://wiki.ros.org/mongodbstore#LoggingofTopics:mongodblog) and also [parameter persistence across system runs] (http://wiki.ros.org/mongodbstore#Parameterpersistence:config_manager.py).

Packages are available on Ubuntu for Indigo and Hydro, e.g.

  • ros-indigo-mongodb-log - The mongodb_log package
  • ros-indigo-mongodb-store - A package to support MongoDB-based storage and analysis for data from a ROS system, eg. saved messages, configurations etc
  • ros-indigo-mongodb-store-msgs - The mongodbstoremsgs package

These tools were developed by the STRANDS project to support the development, debugging and runtime introspection of long-term autonomous mobile robots, but we hope they will be useful to the ROS community more generally.

In the near future we plan to release tools for serving maps from mongodb_store and for logging streams of RGB-D data in a compressed format .

Note that there is an overlap in functionality between these tools and warehouse-ros. We developed our own solution as the existing packages appeared to be unsupported and special-purpose, but as this appears to be changing, we may want to look at combining these two packages.

For feedback, pull requests, feature requests and bug reports please go to: https://github.com/strands-project/mongodb_store/issues

by Tully Foote on October 29, 2014 10:47 PM

October 24, 2014
Voxel Layer Visualisation
If you get into 3D obstacle detection with ROS as we are with our new gocart robot, you are bound to use voxel layers.
 The problem is that they cannot be visualised directly but have to be converted.

Luckily the costmap_2d comes already with a node to do this:

<launch>
  <node name="voxel_grid_2_point_cloud" pkg="costmap_2d" type="costmap_2d_cloud">
    <remap from="voxel_grid" to="/move_base/local_costmap/obstacle_layer/voxel_grid"/>
    <remap from="marked_cloud" to="/move_base/local_costmap/obstacle_layer/marked_cloud"/>
    <remap from="unknown_cloud" to="/move_base/local_costmap/obstacle_layer/unknown_cloud"/>
  </node>
</launch>



This gets us finally the obstacle map with our plushie and turtle bot into rviz:

by Alexander Reimann (noreply@blogger.com) on October 24, 2014 09:16 AM

October 23, 2014
Software Engineering Positions at FYS Systems

From Michael Ferguson via ros-users@

FYS Systems is looking for software engineers with broad experience on real robot platforms and a deep background in one or more of the following areas: navigation, motion planning, robot perception, human-robot interfaces. We have multiple openings, for both junior and senior-level engineers, with both immediate start dates and throughout early 2015.

Required Skills:

  • BS or MS in Computer Science, Robotics, or a related field.
  • 1+ year of software engineering experience, or extensive software engineering experience in undergraduate or graduate program.
  • Experience with C++ and/or Python in a Linux Environment.
  • Experience in robot navigation, motion planning, perception, or human-robot interfaces.
  • Experience with Robot Operating System (ROS).

Nice To Haves:

  • Experience with MoveIt, SBPL and/or OMPL.
  • Experience with OpenCV or PCL.
  • Experience with web development.
  • Experience with CMake.

To apply, please visit: https://fyssystems.has-jobs.com/SoftwareEngineerSunnyvale/32999/0

by Tully Foote on October 23, 2014 06:09 PM

October 22, 2014
Call for authors for a ROS Handbook

From Anis Koubaa via ros-users@

I am coordinating with Springer publisher to edit a handbook on Robot Operating System. There are only a few books on ROS http://wiki.ros.org/Books which mainly represent a brief introduction to ROS and a few basic applications. This does not translate the huge amount of work being done in the community and I feel the need to have a complete reference on the topic.

The prospective handbook will cover ROS from foundations and basics to advanced research works from both academia and industry. Tutorials and research papers will both be sought. The book should cover several robotics areas including but not limited to robot navigation, UAVs, arm manipulation, multi-robot communication protocols, Web and mobile interfaces using ROS, integration of new robotic platform to ROS, computer vision applications, development of service robots using ROS, development of new libraries and packages for ROS, etc. Every book chapter should be accompanied with a working code to be put later in a common repository for the readers.

To express your interest to the handbook and your intention of a chapter proposal, I would like to invite you fill in the following form. The proposed chapters are just considered as an initial expression of interest and will be included in the handbook proposal. It does not mean any kind of commitment for the author at this stage. An official call for chapters with instructions and deadline will be announced soon.

Thank you and look forward to receive your feedback,

Anis

by Tully Foote on October 22, 2014 05:37 PM

October 21, 2014
NavVis announces ROS based large scale mapping technology

NavVis presents new large scale mapping technology: The impressive shipping exhibition at Deutsches Museum can now be explored online and in 3D.

NavVis utilizes a trolley that's equipped with three laser scanners and six cameras. As a human operator wheels that trolley through the area to be mapped, the scanners record the horizontal and vertical dimensions of the hallway while the cameras record panoramas. The software framework is based on ROS, which allowed for a very modular design, as Suat Gedikli, Chief Software Architect at NavVis, says. One of the main advantages of their mapping device is its efficiency: In contrast to Google's mapping trolley, the operator does not have to crouch to move out of the field of view of the panoramic camera. With the patented NavVis camera head, the six cameras are assembled in a way such that the trolley operator is in their blind spot and therefore not visible. Hence 360-degree panoramas can be continuously recorded while moving the trolley.

[NavVis]TrolleyM3_total_3.png

The start-up recently teamed up with Deutsches Museum to digitize their impressive shipping exhibitions, which were mapped in less than one hour. The result is a 3D map of the exhibition, overlaid with photos of every square inch of all the surfaces.

Bildschirmfoto 2014-09-_opt.png

Similar to Google Street View, their HTML5 based IndoorViewer allows people to virtually explore the museum online. Additionally, administrators can add content like text, images, video to various points on the map, which can then be accessed by users. This interactive feature also lets users do things like obtaining measurements between different points in the building (which is important for architects and in construction site monitoring applications).

NavVis, which was only founded in May of last year, is focused on public-oriented showcases and business-to-business applications. Felix Reinshagen, co-founder and managing director: "As the first step, our application is aimed at companies in the building management segment that are confronted with challenges such as documentation, inventory, path-finding and task management. We make our hardware, software and service available to them so that they can have their building and industrial plants digitized while handling the usage of their data according to their own requirements. An area the size of the Deutsches Museum is mapped and posted online within three working days for a four-figure amount."

by Tully Foote on October 21, 2014 09:01 PM

October 20, 2014
Industrial Calibration Library Update and Presentation

From Paul Hvass, via ros-users@

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.

More information can be found on the ROS-I blog post.

by Ugo Cupcic on October 20, 2014 08:31 PM

Alten Mechatronics Applies Robotic Technology in FEI Transmission Electron Microscopes (TEM)


Submitted by Simon Jansen, Alten Mechatronics

FEI designs, produces and supports a wide variety of high performance microscope systems, which can visualize details up to the picometer scale.

In their small dual beam (SDB) systems, a moving stage platform is present. This stage platform needs to be positioned in eight degrees of freedom (DOF).  Next to the stage, the microscope contains a lot more components such as an electron and ion column, multiple detectors and a gas injection system.  These SDB systems are not only used as pure microscopes, but also as nano workshop systems. It is possible to use these systems to add or remove material of a sample, while the sample is being inspected.

Because these microscopy system have such a wide variety of applications, the microscopy chamber gets rather full with components and parts. Therefore positioning and moving the eight DOF stage becomes more and more challenging.

In current systems, an in-house developed solution is used to plan the motion trajectories for the stage. The most important requirement is that the stage moves collision free between two configurations. Using the current solution, each movement between stage configurations is programmed by hand.  In some cases, this planning problem is just too complex and the current in-house developed solution is not able to find a solution. In other cases, the found solution takes too much time because axes can only be moved sequentially. This consumes a lot of time when moving eight axes and is therefore not feasible.

FEI is investigating alternative solutions to perform motion planning for their stage. For these alternatives it is important that the stage moves collision free within a certain time. This time should be minimized to obtain the highest possible throughput. A benefit of using motion planning is the possibility to move axes in parallel instead of sequentially. 

Alten Mechatronics performed a proof of principle study in which a simulation model of the microscope was developed. By using the motion planner MoveIt! collision free paths were generated for different stage configurations. Three cases were selected and compared to the current solution. One case was meant to benchmark the new motion planner, the two other cases to show the capabilities of the motion planner in extreme situations.

Alten showed that by using MoveIt! it became possible to calculate stage trajectories up to five times faster than trajectories found by using the in-house developed solution. For the other cases, it became possible to find trajectories that were not possible when using the in-house developed solution.

By using MoveIt! it is possible to realize complex stage movements which are guaranteed to be collision free and are resulting in a much higher throughput.

For the next phase, the results of the first ROS-Industrial Focused Technical Project (http://rosindustrial.org/ftp-status/) will be used to improve the performance of planner. In the first phase, MoveIt sometimes generated sub-optimal paths, which had to be rejected. With the optimization of the FTP, we will be able to guarantee near optimal solutions and be able to predict a lower reliable cycle time.

Mark Geelen & Simon Jansen Contact: rosindustrial(at-sign)alten.nl

by Paul Hvass on October 20, 2014 06:37 PM

October 14, 2014
3rd ROS-Industrial Training at Fraunhofer IPA: ROS for Industrial Applications

ROS-Industrial Technology Seminar: "ROS for Industrial Applications"

Friday, October 24, 2014
More information: Stuttgarter Produktionsakademie

Description

The open source “Robot Operating System” ROS offers highly developed robotics software components which can be used in flexible industrial applications. In this praxis-oriented tutorial users will get in touch with the basic functionalities of the ROS framework and the ROS-Industrial initiative. Participants will get an impression about the power of the system and learn how to use it in their own application.

Especially in dynamic environments with a variety of different work pieces there is a demand for highly flexible automation solutions supported by sensors and intelligent software components. A cost efficient, reusable and powerful solution is the open source framework ROS. It offers a huge amount of intelligent algorithms, methods and integrated libraries. An advantage is that software as well as hardware components can easily be exchanged due to a network based communication layer and standardized interfaces. This allows time saving and cost effective software development, which lowers the overall development costs.

In robotics research ROS is a well-established standard. The next step is to bring this power to industrial applications. For this purpose the ROS-Industrial initiative was founded. This tutorial will get the participants in touch with the theoretical basics of ROS and teach how to practically use it for their own industrial application.

Workshop Topics:

* ROS – Introduction and Basics
* 3D-Perception using ROS
* Localization and Navigation using ROS
* Motion Planning with MoveIt!
* Application Development using ROS
* Introduction to ROS-Industrial Initiative

In small groups the attendees will have the chance to gain hands-on experience within those topics under the guidance of experts of the respective field. The seminar is suitable for attendees both with or without experience in using ROS and will be held in bilingual language (German, English).

Also please feel free to forward this E-Mail to your colleagues, project collaborators or those who may be interested in this seminar.

If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Hope to see some of you in October (or for the 4th seminar on Thursday, March 5th, 2015)!

Contact Person:

Dipl.-Ing. Florian Weißhardt Project Manager ROS Industrial Fraunhofer-Institute For Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, Stuttgart Florian.Weisshardt@ipa.fraunhofer.de

by Julia Selje on October 14, 2014 04:19 PM

New Package: Advanced ROS Network Introspection (ARNI)
From Andreas Bihlmaier via ros-users@

Dear ROS community,

I'm pleased to announce http://wiki.ros.org/arni - a collection of tools for Advanced ROS Network Introspection.
From the wiki page:
"Advanced ROS Network Introspection (ARNI) extends the /statistics
features introduced with Indigo and completes the collected data with
measurements about the hosts and nodes participating in the network.
These are gathered from an extra node that has to run on each host
machine. All statistics or metadata can be compared against a set of
reference values using the monitoring_node. The rated statistics allow
to run optional countermeasures when a deviation from the reference is
detected, in order to remedy the fault or at least bring the system in a
safe state."

No modification of existing nodes is required in order to use the
monitoring features. Therefore, the barrier of entry is very low:
- See the arni tutorial
or
- git clone https://github.com/ROS-PSE/arni into your catkin_ws
- roslaunch arni_core init_params.launch
- start all your other nodes
- rosrun rqt_gui rqt_gui
- Plugins -> Introspection -> Arni-Detail
  (Click on an item (host, node, topic or connection) in the tree view
  to get more details and graphs in the other widget)
- Enjoy out of the box distributed metadata-based monitoring

If you want to use the more advanced features in your own ROS network,
see the documentation on how to write "specifications" and "constraints".

The documentation can be found in the wiki including the tutorials (http://wiki.ros.org/arni/Tutorials).

Please give feedback and report any bugs found.


Many thanks to my students that worked hard on this:
Matthias Hadlich, Matthias Klatte, Sebastian Kneipp, Alex Weber, Micha Wetzel

by Tully Foote on October 14, 2014 12:58 AM

October 11, 2014
Groovy Galapagos EOL Complete
As we have have now released indigo and are looking forward to Jade, it is time to retire Groovy. 

Groovy was first officially released at the end of 2012, but work toward the release had been started in early 2012.[1] During it's life cycle Groovy almost double the number of packages released reaching a maximum of 900. 

Reviewing the history of the rosdistro repository which contains the release metadata reveals that there was 2912 commits from 127 contributors over the history of the Groovy release. This represents the maintainers making the releases and does not count the many more contributors to the source code of the individual packages. There were commits on 612 different days over the 794 days tracked in this repository. This means on average there were releases of groovy packages more than 5 days per week. For a quick visualization of the activity on the repository we've put together a rendering of commits to the groovy subdirectory:These statistics only count catkin based releases, not the 178 rosbuild packages indexed separately.) 

ROS Groovy Galapagos Rosdistro Git Activity from OSRF on Vimeo.




As you may have already noticed, last week we disabled all the groovy jobs on the farm. We have kept them there for reference but do not intend to reenable them. Along those same lines, we can accept pull-requests to keep source builds working on groovy(such as  if a repository is relocated to a new host), but cannot accept pull-requests for new groovy releases. 

As always we'd like to pay trubute to the hundreds of people who put the time in to make groovy happen. It would not have happened without your efforts. 

by Tully Foote on October 11, 2014 11:21 AM

October 08, 2014
Amazon Picking Challenge @ ICRA 2015
From Joe Romano via ros-users@

Amazon Picking Challenge @ ICRA 2015

Greetings colleagues! We are excited to announce a new manipulation contest to be held at ICRA in May 2015 (http://icra2015.org) in Seattle, WA, USA.

This may be of particular interest to the ROS community since we are encouraging researchers to push their new developments into the open-source domain (as a requirement to be eligible for the available travel support and contest prizes). We hope this leads to the contribution of new and interesting work within ROS.

------------------

Amazon is able to quickly package and ship millions of items to customers from a network of fulfillment centers all over the globe. This wouldn't be possible without leveraging cutting-edge advances in technology. Amazon's automated warehouses are successful at removing much of the walking and searching for items within a warehouse. However, commercially viable automated picking in unstructured environments still remains a difficult challenge. In order to spur the advancement of this fundamental technology we are excited to be organizing the first Amazon Picking Challenge at ICRA 2015. It is our goal to strengthen the ties between the industrial and academic robotic communities and promote shared and open solutions to some of the big problems in unstructured automation. To this end the contest will be awarding travel grants to ICRA 2015, practice equipment, and a large prize pool for the competition winners.

This competition will challenge entrants to build their own robot hardware and software that can attempt simplified versions of the general task of picking items from shelves. The robots will be presented with a stationary lightly populated inventory shelf and be asked to pick a subset of the products and put them on a table. The challenge combines object recognition, pose recognition, grasp planning, compliant manipulation, motion planning, task planning, task execution, and error detection and recovery. The robots will be scored by how many items are picked in a fixed amount of time, with $26,000 in prizes being awarded. Participants will be encouraged to share and disseminate their approach to improve future challenge results and industrial implementations.
------------------

Find out more and sign up for email updates at the challenge website:
Or email us at:
committee@amazonpickingchallenge.org

by Tully Foote on October 08, 2014 08:30 PM

ROSCon 2015 Location and Date Survey
We had a great time at ROSCon 2014! (if you missed it we've posted videos of all the presentations online now at http://roscon.ros.org/2014/program/ )

Although it's a long way off still we need to look forward to when and where to hold the next instance. To help facilitate that process we'd like the communities feedback on what times and locations would best fit into their schedules. Please take a minute to let us know where you would be able to join us for our next event.  


There is a place for your name and email, but it's not required. 

by Tully Foote on October 08, 2014 12:17 AM

October 06, 2014
Announcing package for the Schunk Servo-electric 5-Finger Gripping Hand SVH
From Georg Heppner via ros-users@

Hi everyone,


it is my pleasure to announce the schunk_svh_driver[1] package that you can use to control the Servo-electric 5-Finger Gripping Hand SVH [2] produced by Schunk.

The SVH is the first 5 finger hand which is produced in series and enables a wide range of complex motions due to its 1:1 scale and anthropo­morphic design. It provides an easy interface for standalone usage as well as integration into your project, comes with a detailed 3D-Model based on the orginal CAD Data and was tested extensively during several public demonstrations like the Automatica. A comprehensive documentation is already provided on the wiki and should allow you to easily use the package in your projects. At [3] you can see a Youtube video of the hand in combination with the LWA4P for which an early version of this package was used.

The package is currently available via git [4] and will soon be available via package manager. It was tested with hydro and indigo but should work under most circumstances.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, suggestions or any trouble using the package.


Best Regards
Georg Heppner

[1] http://wiki.ros.org/schunk_svh_driver
[2] http://mobile.schunk-microsite.com/en/produkte/produkte/servoelektrische-5-finger-greifhand-svh.html
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPtSbPzROrs
[4] https://github.com/fzi-forschungszentrum-informatik/schunk_svh_driver

by Tully Foote on October 06, 2014 07:00 PM

October 02, 2014
Bridging the Gap between ROS and JAUS
from Danny Kent, via ros-users@

Hello ROS Users!

One of the questions we've heard quite often lately is how to bridge the gap between ROS and JAUS. The Joint Architecture for Unmanned Systems (JAUS) is an SAE International Standard for command and control of robots. A lot of people have built solutions based on ROS and need to quickly and reliably integrate those solutions using JAUS or vice versa. Previously, the learning curve to do has been difficult as there has been a lack of software to solve the problem. To assist with this problem we decided to build a software bridge between ROS and JAUS. We call it jROS and we've just finished our first cut at it!

jROS allows users to combine the power and flexibility of ROS with the maturity and robustness of the JAUS standard. The software consists of a set of ROS messages and services which are defined with respect to the JAUS message structure. This creates a 1-to-1 mapping of data in JAUS and ROS via our jROS Package. Adding the jROS topics to an existing ROS system is trivial. Once integrated, the ROS data can be exchanged with the JAUS network in a well-defined way. 

Take a closer look at jROS here: http://www.openjaus.com/products/jros

Best,
~Danny Kent, PhD
Co-Founder
OpenJAUS, LLC

by Ugo Cupcic on October 02, 2014 06:41 PM

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


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