September 26, 2016
ROS-Industrial Training and Conference 2016: schedule now online
fraunhofer izs - Institute center stuttgart

fraunhofer izs - Institute center stuttgart

The schedule for the upcoming ROS-Industrial Training and Conference 2016, to be held during a three-days event (Nov 2-4) at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, is now available. For this year's edition of the Conference we have the pleasure to host two keynote speakers. During the first day Brian Gerkey, CEO and founder of the Open Source Robotics Foundation, will recap ROS' origin and tell the audience how advanced robotics is performed during "the era of open-source software". During the second day Prof. Michael Beetz from the University of Bremen will illustrate how knowledge-based services such as openEASE can improve interoperability in robotics and lower the barriers for robot programming.
The training session has been updated as well, with our colleagues at FH Aachen delivering a fully day of hands-on ROS training, and ROS-Industrial Consortium Europe members PPM AS and IT+Robotics srl providing training on their packages FlexGui and cROS during the second day.
Please note that there is a significant discount if you register for both events, and a further reduction for ROS-Industrial Consortium members. See you in Stuttgart on November 2-4!

by Mirko Bordignon on September 26, 2016 05:40 PM

September 23, 2016
catkin-tools tip pt.2
From TORK blog

Following our previous post about a nice hidden tip for catkin-tools, here’s another one.

When finishes compilation, `catkin build` shows a pop-up window at the top-right on your screen (if you’re on Ubuntu Linux), which indicates `Build Finished` or `Build Failed`. This is nice in that you can work on another windows without payting attention to catkin’s progress. Caveat is, though, that “Finished” and “Failed” aren’t that obviously differentiating whatsoever.
With the newer version of catkin-tools, 0.4.3 or higher, the window pops up with a distinguishable colors; Green for success and red for failure.

This little but significantly effective change is done by our TORK associates again. The change was made swiftly and neatly as it has always been in the opensource software community.

by Isaac Saito (noreply@blogger.com) on September 23, 2016 08:57 PM

More than 30,000 Questions on ROS Answers

We've reached another milestone for ROS Answers, 30,000 questions asked!

answers.ros.org_30000.png

The 30,000th question was asked Friday by @Mani who regularly helps answer others questions as well.

To see the many contributors to the site please view the list of users

Congratulations to the answers.ros.org community for making the site the thriving resource that it is today. Keep up the fantastic work, and keep the questions--and answers--coming.

With the awareness on the site. If you've asked a question and not marked it answered. Please consider revising it with more details or to add clarity. And likewise consider trying to answer one question each time you're on the site.

by Tully Foote on September 23, 2016 01:32 AM

September 21, 2016
Grid Map Library

From Péter Fankhauser via ros-users@:

We'd like to announce our new Grid Map package, developed to manage two-dimensional grid maps with multiple data layers and designed for mobile robotic mapping in rough terrain navigation.

The package is available for ROS Indigo, Jade, and Kinetic and can be installed from the ROS PPA. After multiple development cycles and use in many projects, the library is well tested and stable.

Features:

  • Multi-layered: Developed for universal 2.5-dimensional grid mapping with support for any number of layers.

  • Efficient map re-positioning: Data storage is implemented as two-dimensional circular buffer. This allows for non-destructive shifting of the map's position (e.g. to follow the robot) without copying data in memory.

  • Based on Eigen: Grid map data is stored as Eigen data types. Users can apply available Eigen algorithms directly to the mapdata for versatile and efficient data manipulation.

  • Convenience functions: Several helper methods allow for convenient and memory safe cell data access. For example, iterator functions for rectangular, circular, polygonal regions and lines are implemented.

  • ROS interface: Grid maps can be directly converted to and from ROS message types such as PointCloud2, OccupancyGrid, GridCells, and our custom GridMap message.

  • OpenCV interface: Grid maps can be seamlessly converted from and to OpenCV image types to make use of the tools provided by OpenCV.

  • Visualizations: The grid_map_rviz_plugin renders grid maps as 3d surface plots (height maps) in RViz. Additionally, the grid_map_visualization package helps to visualize grid maps as point clouds, occupancy grids, grid cells etc.

Source code, documentation, and tutorials available at https://github.com/ethz-asl/grid_map

by Víctor Mayoral Vilches on September 21, 2016 08:37 AM

September 20, 2016
ROS Interface for Impedance/Force Control

Originally published at the ROS Industrial blog:


This summer, Risto Kojcev, sponsored by the Google Summer of Code (GSOC) and directed by the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) and the ROS-Industrial (ROS-I) Consortium developed a user friendly ROS Interface to control and change a manipulator into Cartesian Impedance control mode. The external forces that the robot applies to the environment can also be set with the developed interface.

Risto shares:

Our first goal was to create a set of common messages containing the necessary parameters for setting Impedance and Force control. This allows interaction between the ROS ecosystem and the ROS driver of the robot. The messages are created based on the commonly used parameters for Impedance/Force control and discussion with the ROS community. The relevant current set of ROS messages are available in the majorana repository. I would also like to encourage the Robotics community to contribute to this project by sharing their suggestions. I believe that this set of messages could still be more generalized and improved based on community input.

The second goal was to develop a user interface which allows the user to set the necessary parameters for Cartesian Impedance/Force Control and interactively switch between control modes. In this case I have expanded previous GSoC 2014 Project: Cartesian Path Planner Plug-In for MoveIt!. The updated plugin now contains the relevant UI fields for setting Cartesian Impedance and Force Control. Depending on the implementation and the properties of the robot controller, this plugin also allows interactively switching between control modes during runtime.

by Víctor Mayoral Vilches on September 20, 2016 06:40 PM

Personal Letter from ROS-Industrial Founder Shaun Edwards
490A6839.JPG

After 11 years, I have decided to leave Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). It has been an incredible ride. I have had the opportunity to work on a wide range of robotics projects. I’ve worked on some of the largest robots in the world, as well as the most advanced autonomous vehicle technologies. And while it probably goes without saying on this blog; I was part of the team that launched the ROS-Industrial project. I can honestly say that Southwest Research is one of the best places to work (seriously…would your boss let you work at a Silicon Valley incubator with the goal of developing software that you just plan to give away…well mine did!).

Despite this, there are some opportunities that I have not been able to pursue in my role at SwRI. Over the past 5 years, I have promoted ROS-Industrial for new applications in the industrial robotics market. While we’ve had some success with early adopters (you know who you are – thanks for your support), it’s now time for me to fully invest myself in such an endeavor. In the coming weeks, I will be officially joining early ROS-Industrial supporter, Erik Nieves, and the team at PlusOne Robotics. PlusOne Robotics is still in stealth mode, but we plan to utilize ROS-Industrial to enable “new” collaboration between industrial robots and people in logistics applications.

I’m very excited about this opportunity, but I realize this raises some obvious questions about my role within ROS-Industrial. While things will change, nothing will change overnight. Myself, SwRI, and all the ROS-Industrial developers are committed to seeing ROS-Industrial continue on and flourish.

One of the greatest aspects of open source development is that participation is not limited to what company for which you work, but rather the value of your sweat equity. My plan is to continue my leadership role, facilitating technical planning and organization, maintenance, and community building, within ROS-Industrial as an employee of PlusOne. I endorse and support SwRI’s continued role within ROS-Industrial. As a non-profit, I believe SwRI’s leadership is essential to balancing the needs of ROS-Industrial’s stakeholders. I have been lucky to work with some great developers at SwRI, and I’m excited to see who replaces me in the near future. Without access to SwRI’s robotics facilities, I will inevitably have to transfer some package maintenance responsibilities. These maintenance responsibilities will be transferred over the next few months. If all goes as planned, then I expect this change will be mostly transparent to the ROS-Industrial community.

In closing, I’d like to reiterate my appreciation for Southwest Research Institute and the ROS-Industrial community.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at shaun.edwards@gmail.com

Permalink

by Shaun Edwards on September 20, 2016 02:49 PM

September 19, 2016
Google Summer of Code Project - ROS Interface for Impedance/Force Control

Submitted by: Risto Kojcev, IIT and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna

As part of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2016 directed by the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) and ROS-Industrial (ROS-I) Consortium, we have developed a user friendly ROS Interface to control and change a manipulator into Cartesian Impedance control mode. The external forces that the robot applies to the environment can also be set with the developed interface.

Below are some of the technical details and relevant repositories that were developed as part of this project.

Our first goal was to create a set of common messages containing the necessary parameters for setting Impedance and Force control. This allows interaction between the ROS ecosystem and the ROS driver of the robot. The messages are created based on the commonly used parameters for Impedance/Force control and discussion with the ROS community. The relevant current set of ROS messages are available in the majorana repository. I would also like to encourage the Robotics community to contribute to this project by sharing their suggestions. I believe that this set of messages could still be more generalized and improved based on community input.

The second goal was to develop a user interface which allows the user to set the necessary parameters for Cartesian Impedance/Force Control and interactively switch between control modes. In this case I have expanded previous GSoC 2014 Project: Cartesian Path Planner Plug-In for MoveIt!. The updated plugin now contains the relevant UI fields for setting Cartesian Impedance and Force Control. Depending on the implementation and the properties of the robot controller, this plugin also allows interactively switching between control modes during runtime.

I would like to share my gratitude for the ROS-I community members and my mentor Shaun Edwards, who shared their suggestions during the project development. I hope that this project will find its place in many applications.

Relevant links:

by Paul Hvass on September 19, 2016 08:23 PM

September 15, 2016
Sharing PAL Robotics’ experience in biped humanoids at KoroiBot final workshop

One long shot in robotics is to make biped humanoids walk in a robust and stable way. If we want robots to help us in our daily life, they have to adapt to a world which fits us, to our world. Walking with two legs, keeping balance and immediately reacting to any obstacle is natural to us, and the places where we live were built according to that. Robots that can walk like humans will be able to gracefully navigate whenever we need them to assist us.

Nowadays the state of art of biped robots still has a long road to get there. That is because biped walk for humanoid robots remains a very complex task. Walking robots with two legs are something that very few platforms are able to do, and the arduousness increases if we talk about human-sized robots. PAL Robotics has been able so far to successfully develop three different models of biped humanoid robots that can walk. The most advanced biped humanoid robot at the moment is REEM-C, a 1.65m tall robot that can dynamically walk at 1 Km/h while keeping the balance.

The EU Project KoroiBot has the goal of improving the humanoid robots’ dynamic walk with “human-inspired mathematical models, optimization and learning”. Yesterday the final workshop of KoroiBot ended in Heidelberg, Germany. PAL Robotics’ CEO Francesco Ferro is one of the advisors of the KoroiBot project and gave a presentation during the workshop. Francesco Ferro shared PAL Robotics’ experience of 12 years developing humanoid biped robots, starting with REEM-A (2004). Since the very beginning, PAL Robotics’ core activity has been the R&D in advanced humanoid biped autonomous systems.

It is important that the robotic community join its efforts and share experiences to make service humanoid robots a reality in our daily life. As an example of the above, REEM-C’s simulation is open-source and available online on its ROS Wiki, making it free for everyone to just download it and start playing with a REEM-C humanoid robot!

The post Sharing PAL Robotics’ experience in biped humanoids at KoroiBot final workshop appeared first on PAL Robotics Blog.

by Judith Viladomat on September 15, 2016 09:13 AM

September 14, 2016
A Simulation System based on ROS and Gazebo for multi-robot cooperation research

From Weijia Yao via ros-users@

I am a member of NuBot team, a RoboCup Middle Size League, participating team. We have built a simulation system based on ROS ang Gazebo to research into multi-robot cooperation strategies. Although it mainly focuses on soccer robots, it could be modified for other purposes as well. If you are interested, please check out this repository: single_nubot_gazebo. There is a simulation competition based on this, check out simatch.

by Tully Foote on September 14, 2016 09:02 PM

September 12, 2016
3D Automatic Path Planning for Surface Grinding

Submitted by: Victor Lamoine, Institut Maupertuis

The Bezier library is a ROS tool that allows users to plan complex trajectories on 3D surfaces, and while it can be used for many purposes, it was created to generate 3D grinding trajectories. To demonstrate the usefulness of this library to industrials, we applied our latest developments on a demonstrator.

The demonstrator consists of a Fanuc robot with a grinding end effector and a table on which a shackle is laid and maintained in position. The robot first takes multiple scans with a 3D sensor to determine the position and orientation of the shackle. When the scan is over, the user can choose the grinding parameters and generate the trajectory. It is possible to simulate the trajectory before running it on the robot. The user is then able to launch the trajectory on the robot. All of these steps are summarized in this video:

This demonstrator was created as part of the Bezier project at the Institut Maupertuis. You can find more information about the Bezier library on the official repository.

Note that the library is modular and can be used for other tasks such as painting, deburring, 3D printing, or any other application that requires complex 3D path planning.

by Paul Hvass on September 12, 2016 02:44 PM

September 08, 2016
ROS-Industrial Job Opportunity at SwRI

Our team works on leading technologies in industrial robotics, and we are looking for talented and motivated candidates to join us. Do you want to work in a flexible and stimulating environment on diverse technical challenges in applied research and development? At SwRI, you will have the chance to provide technical leadership in the development and application of advanced robotic solutions for commercial and defense manufacturing clients; manage open source repositories and collaborate with international teams on open source development; design, build, debug and install industrial robotic and automation systems; develop and test new manufacturing and industrial processes; develop software for industrial controls and manufacturing systems; lead the preparation of proposals and cost estimates; interact with clients to promote new business and develop technical requirements; participate on and lead technical teams; and so much more. The possibilities are endless. Check out two job openings at SwRI: Research Engineer and Senior Research Engineer.

Education/Experience:

Requires a MS or PhD degree in Robotics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or related field with at least a 3.5 GPA. Must have at least 5 - 15 years of experience with developing software and controls for robotics and automation and have experience with large scale C++ software development. Beneficial skills include: ROS (Robot Operating System) development, OpenCV and vision system development, optimal and search-based planning for high degree of freedom systems, open source software project management. Beneficial knowledge includes: industrial robotics, mobile robotics, 2D/3D computer vision, path planning for robotics, machine learning, optimization, perception/sensing for robot guidance, localization. Travel on an as needed basis to conduct project work. A valid/clear driver's license is required.

Special Considerations:

Applicant selected will be subject to a government security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen.

Job Locations: San Antonio, Texas

Interested? Please apply here:
https://resapp.swri.org/ResApp/Job_Search_Results.aspx?DETAIL=10-00928

No advanced degree? Check out: https://resapp.swri.org/ResApp/Job_Search_Results.aspx?DETAIL=10-00927

Permalink

by Paul Hvass on September 08, 2016 07:57 PM

September 06, 2016
Gaitech Educational Portal for ROS

From Anis Koubaa via ros-users@

Gaitech International Ltd http://www.gaitech.hk/ is happy to announce the release of its educational portal, Gaitech EDU.

Website: http://edu.gaitech.hk/

Gaitech EDU provides a comprehensive educational framework on Robot Operating System (ROS) through a series of tutorials and online videos.

Gaitech EDU is an educational website on robotics and in particular on Robot Operating System (ROS). The objective is to provide an easy-to-follow educational content that helps in better mastering the concepts of ROS and promoting its use for developing robotics software. Gaitech company strives to contribute to the development of ROS and provides its customers and ROS users with technical support and an open education framework to learn ROS.

Gaitech Education website is NOT meant to be a substitue of ROS wiki documentation website, but a complementary website that is more oriented to providing education and teaching material.

As the primary objective of Gaitech EDU is to promote education of ROS, tutorials were designed with teaching objectives in mind. Each tutorial starts with Learning outcomes that the student or the learned is expected to know at the end of the tutorial. Then, the tutorial is provided in both textual format and/or video illustrations. Finally, a series of review questions are proposed so that the student self-evaluation his understanding about the concepts presented in the tutorial. It can be used as additional teaching resources in robotics courses using ROS.

More details could be found in the FAQs in the website http://edu.gaitech.hk/

In addition, Gaitech provides the Gaitech EDU Forum http://forum.gaitech.hk/ where users and customers may ask questions and post comments about the educational content. In addition, a mailing list http://lists.gaitech.coins-lab.org/listinfo.cgi/gaitech_edu_users-gaitech.coins-lab.org is available to stay tuned with any updates of the educational content.

Enjoy using and sharing Gaitech EDU portal. We will be happy to receive your comments about the Gaitech EDU Portal.

by Tully Foote on September 06, 2016 01:13 AM

August 31, 2016
RIME-MII Federal Funding Opportunity

The US Department of Defense is sponsoring the 8th Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which will focus on collaborative robotics. Below, you will find a summary of the Federal Funding Opportunity, which we quote from proposer’s day invitation website:

“The Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MII) bring together industry, institutions of higher education (four- and two-year universities, community colleges, technical institutes, etc.), and federal and state agencies to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications. The MIIs help bridge the gap between basic/early research and product development by developing and scaling critical technologies in the manufacturing readiness level 4 to 7 ranges. These MIIs are to provide shared assets to help companies – particularly small manufacturers – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, creating an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. Each Institute is to have a specific technical or market focus, serving as a regional hub of manufacturing excellence, providing the critical infrastructure necessary to create a dynamic, highly collaborative environment spurring manufacturing technology innovations and technology transfer leading to production scale-up and commercialization…”

“The Government intends for this FOA to support the establishment of a RIME-MII to advance state-of-the-art application of collaborative robotic technologies in manufacturing environments. The motivation for the RIME-MII is to increase U.S. competitiveness in robotics applied primarily in manufacturing environments by 1) encouraging the development and scale up for commercialization of critical enabling technologies such as human-robot/robot-robot collaboration; perception and sensing; robotic control: adaptation, learning, and repurposing; autonomy and mobility; and, dexterous manipulation; 2) establishing common standards and testing protocols allowing the integration of multiple robotics technologies; 3) creating a robotic technology solution repository (to include modeling tools, databases, catalogue of technology demonstrations and concept sharing mechanisms ); and 4) providing workforce training and education programs to ensure the U.S. workforce can effectively collaborate with robots in a broad spectrum of manufacturing environments.”

We believe that it is not a coincidence that the objectives of RIME-MII align so well with the goals and vision of ROS-Industrial software project and its supporting consortium, which include:

  • Supporting advanced robotics capabilities for manufacturing
  • Standardizing interfaces for cross-platform compatibility
  • Modularizing and scaling components to larger systems
  • Enabling collaborative development environment
  • Developing the workforce through training curriculum and hands-on classes
  • Transferring technology via open source license
  • Providing affordability for small and medium enterprises

The ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas is supportive of teams who are willing to include ROS-Industrial among their technical thrusts. Along the same lines, we believe that the ROS-Industrial project stands to benefit from the involvement of the greater manufacturing industry in the RIME-MII. We invite industry to reach out to proposing teams to learn more and to choose to be involved to support the open solution for advanced robot software: ROS-Industrial.

Need a connection to a proposing team? Please contact ROS-Industrial Consortium Program Manager Paul Hvass: paul.hvass@swri.org

by Paul Hvass on August 31, 2016 09:00 PM

August 26, 2016
Series on ROS-Industrial Development Process - Contribution

Overview

We often receive questions from those unfamiliar with open-source development about what process we follow to ensure the quality of the ROS-Industrial software. The process we utilize (see figure above) is probably not that different from any large software project. The main differences being that the team is made up of many different stakeholder (for lack of a better term) and any stackeholder is welcome to contribute. With this open model, one might assume we have more checks in place to intercept "bad" contributions, but in practice that's not required. We utilize the same checks for our open source projects as we would for any project. Specifically, all code is verified at multiple steps in the process. Contributions from trusted sources as well as unknown sources are given the same level of scrutiny. This is the beginning a multiple-post series detailing the ROS-Industrial process, with our first post focusing on contributing software changes and fixes.

Contributing

ROS-Industrial is a community project. We welcome contributions from any source, from those who are extremely active to casual users. The following sections outline the steps on how to contribute to ROS-Industrial. It assumes there is an existing repository to which one would like to contribute (item 1 in the figure above) and one is familiar with the git "Fork and Branch" workflow, detailed here.

  1. Before any development is undertaken, a contributor would communicate a need and/or issue to the ROS-Industrial community. This can be done by submitting a bug to the appropriate github repo, the issues repo, or by emailing the users group. Doing so may save you time if similar development is underway and ensure that whatever approach you take is acceptable to the community of reviewers once it is submitted.
  2. The second step (item 2 in the figure above) is to implement your change. If you are working on a code contribution, we highly recommend you utilize the ROS Qt-Creator plugin. Verify your change successfully builds and passes all tests.
  3. Next, push your changes to a "feature" branch in your personal fork of the repo and issue a pull request (PR)(item 3). The PR allows maintainers to review the submitted code. Before the PR can be accepted, the maintainer and contributor must agree that the contribution is implemented appropriately. This process can take several back and forth steps (see example). Contributors should expect to spend as much time reviewing/changing the code as on the initial implementation. This time can be minimized by communicating with the ROS-Industrial community before any contribution is made.

Next week we will continue the series on the topic of ROS-I Maintainers…

by Shaun Edwards on August 26, 2016 10:30 PM

New Package: rosparam_handler package

From Claudio Bandera via ros-users@

so I was very frustrated with how I had to define parameters for my nodes in several places. The declaration, the call to getParam and then everything again in a second place when I wanted to have a parameter that is configurable through dynamic reconfigure. Furthermore, you had to make sure the redundant parameters lived in the same namespace, otherwise you would run into serious trouble... This made it quite hard and error prone to add or refactor parameters later.

To solve this problem, I have created the rosparam_handler package. It is inspired by the cfg files and code generation provided by dynamic_reconfigure, but extends the functionality greatly.

The rosparam_handler let's you:

  • specify all of your parameters in a single file
  • use a generated struct to hold your parameters
  • use a member method for grabbing the parameters from the parameter server
  • use a member method for updating them from dynamic_reconfigure.
  • make your parameters configurable with a single flag.
  • set default, min and max values
  • choose between global and private namespace
  • save a lot of time on specifying your parameters in several places.

If this sounds interesting to you, have a look at the README, Tutorials and the source code at https://github.com/cbandera/rosparam_handler

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

by Tully Foote on August 26, 2016 09:53 PM

August 24, 2016
The Barcelona ROS Summer Course will start in 2 weeks

Ricardo Téllez via ros-users@

The Barcelona ROS (Robot Operating System) Summer Course will start in 2 weeks. This is the final call.

ABOUT THE EVENT

  • A single week of basic ROS learning in Barcelona. These courses are available for students and teachers with no previous knowledge of ROS. 100% practical since minute one.

  • Dates: 5th to 10th of September

  • Morning (from 9:30 to 13:30): teaching by doing exercises. Teaching is 100% practical. Students must complete several exercises along with the teachers' explanations of different subjects.

  • Afternoon (from 14:30 to 16:30): working on a ROS project. Students are presented with a project they have to solve by the end of the week working by themselves in the afternoons, with the support of the teachers.

  • Exam and ROS Certification: There will be a test at the end of the course. Those who pass the test with at least 8 out of 10 will receive a ROS certification.

  • Spots Still Available: due to the high demand of the course, we increased the number of seats to 13. There only remain 3 free spots.

  • Location: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 608, 3ºD, 08007 Barcelona, SPAIN

TIME TABLE

  • Monday: ROS BASICS: basic structure of ROS programs and its concepts

  • Tuesday: ROS TOPICS: how to create topics and how to access them

  • Wednesday: ROS SERVICES: how to create services and how to use them

  • Thursday: ROS ACTIONS: how to create action servers and use them

  • Friday: ROS DEBUG: ROS tools that allow to find errors and debug

  • Saturday: Course Exam from 9:30 to 11:30

REQUIREMENTS FOR ATTENDANCE

  • Basic knowledge of Python programming

  • A laptop (can have any operating system)

IMPORTANT LINK

CONTACT US

  • You can contact us with questions and doubts here: info@theconstructsim.com

by Tully Foote on August 24, 2016 07:23 PM

0.3mm indoor localization with ROS and HTC Vive

From Limor Schweitzer and his team at RoboSavvy:


Small step for Virtual Reality (VR), big step for autonomous robots. One of the key issues with autonomous robot applications is indoor localization. HTC Vive has singlehandedly solved this age-long problem.

This 800$ system (will go down to 200$ in a few months once lighthouses and base stations are available without the headset in addition to minuscule lighthouse sensors) is comparable to a 150 000$ Ir marker multi-camera system. The Vive gives you 60fps, 0.3mm resolution, across any size internal volume (currently a 5m cube box but will be extendable) So unless you are doing indoor 3D drones, you don't need more than 60Hz and a camera system will give ~cm resolution. No other indoor localization system can get anywhere close to the Vive specs.

Initially the idea was to just use this to calibrate our robot's odometry/localization mechanisms (visual, wheels, LIDAR, IMU) However, there was this unexpected turn of events the past month whereby Valve is opening up the technology for non-VR applications so it may actually be possible to rely on this for real indoor applications and use the other forms of localization as backup.

We ended up integrating the Vive API for tracking the handheld devices with ROS. This provides ROS robots with the most precise absolute indoor localization reference. Source code is available at:

https://github.com/robosavvy/vive_ros

by Víctor Mayoral Vilches on August 24, 2016 12:06 AM

August 22, 2016
Announcing package for the Schunk lightweight robot arm LWA4P

From Georg Heppner via ros-users@

it is my pleasure to announce the schunkcanopendriver[1] package that you can use to control the lightweight robot arm LWA4P [2] produced by Schunk.

The LWA4P or Powerball arm is, as probably most of you know, a lightweight robot arm, especially suited for mobile applications due to the internal controllers and no need for a separate controller. The package was specifically designed for the LWA4P and currently supports interpolated position as well as profile position mode, full emcy messages,pdo reconfiguration and much more. It comes with a detailed 3D-Model, urdf, and everything else you need. The package was tested on multiple platforms with indigo, jade and kinetic and already worked well during public exhibitions such as the Schunk expert days and others. A comprehensive documentation is already provided on the wiki and should allow you to easily use the package in your projects.

The package is currently available via git [3] and package manager. For older distributions some workarounds of ros control are required. It is designed to work with the peak can adapters in chardev mode.

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_canopen_driver [2] http://mobile.schunk-microsite.com/en/produkte/products/powerball-lightweight-arm-lwa-4p.html [3] https://github.com/fzi-forschungszentrum-informatik/schunk_canopen_driver

by Tully Foote on August 22, 2016 06:06 PM

August 19, 2016
Report from the second ROS Summer School in China

From Zhang Xinyu, following from the second ROS Summer School in China 2016, July 22-28:

day6_2.jpg

The 2nd ROS Summer School in China was held on 22-28 July 2016 at Shanghai. It attracted over 400 participants. This event was organized by Intelligent Robot Motion and Vision Laboratory (directed by Dr. ZHANG Xinyu, http://www.robotics.sei.ecnu.edu.cn) and sponsored by Graduate School of East China Normal University.

This summer school includes 4 keynote speeches given by senior academic researchers, 7 invited talks delivered by the industrial representatives and 13 lectures given by ROS experts. Students from 75 universities and institutes, and developers from 64 industrial companies participate this seven-day event. During the summer school, a 3km running activity as arranged every early morning to promote a closer community of learners.

More details about this and previous events available at:

by Víctor Mayoral Vilches on August 19, 2016 05:17 PM

Brian Gerkey (OSRF) Intro to ROS Presentation from the ROS-I APAC Workshop in Singapore

We were fortunate to have OSRF represented at the ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific Workshop, which was hosted by ARTC and NTU in Singapore this July. Thanks Brian and Morgan! If you haven't seen a recent presentation about ROS and the community of ROS users, Brian's presentation was for you (refer to video below). For more about the workshop check out this blog post.

by Paul Hvass on August 19, 2016 02:40 AM

August 17, 2016
World MoveIt! Day August 23rd

world_moveit_day.png

Join us for an international hackathon to improve the MoveIt! code base, documentation, and community. Following the heels of the repo merge, we hope to fix all broken links in the documentation, close as many longstanding pull requests and issues as possible, and have some fun with a newly released integrated simulation of MoveIt! manipulation + Gazebo + Fetch for us to test. An hour long Q&A session is scheduled at 9am Pacific to allow the community to meet the people merging their pull requests.

We will be having several event locations including:

  • Fetch Robotics in San Jose, California. Contact: Michael Ferguson
  • ROS Industrial at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Contact: Paul Hvass
  • Xamla Robotics Team at Provisio GmbH in Münster, Germany. Contact: Andreas Köpf
  • JSK at the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. Contact: Kei Okada

If you aren't near an organized event we encourage you to have your own event in your lab/organization/company and video conference in to all the other events. We would also like to mail your team or event some MoveIt! stickers to schwag out your robots with.

For more details, see the event page.

by Tully Foote on August 17, 2016 12:01 AM

August 16, 2016
ROSCon 2016 early registration deadline: August 26th

The ROSCon registration rates increase after Friday, August 26! Register now at: https://events.osrfoundation.org/roscon-2016-registration/ to get the early registration discount.

To save money, remember to book your hotel room soon as well. The Conference has reserved a limited block of rooms at a discounted rate which is available until September 1st or until the block is full. To get the reserved rooms at the discounted rate book through this link More information is available at: http://roscon.ros.org/2016/#location.

For more information about ROSCon including the program and information on the location please visit: http://roscon.ros.org/

We can't put on ROSCon without the support of our generous sponsors, who now include Canonical, Dorabot, Nvidia, and SICK.

We'd like to especially thank our Platinum and Gold Sponsors: Fetch Robotics, Clearpath Robotics, Intel, Nvidia, ROBOTIS, ROS-Industrial Consortium / Southwest Research Institute, SICK, and Yujin Robot.

by Tully Foote on August 16, 2016 11:15 PM

GoCart New Zealand field tests and upcoming expo schedule
Hello everyone,

Hope you are enjoying summer and winter in Australia and New Zealand! Recently, our team visited New Zealand for field tests. We performed 3 weeks long field tests at Labtests and Mercy Parklands Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand. Labtests is a healthcare laboratory and Mercy Parklands is an aged-care facility.

At Labtests, we delivered samples between different departments with our GoCart mini. Labtests staffs named our GoCart mini as “R Poo- Pee 2.” You will understand why our GoCart mini got such a funny name when you see our upcoming field test video.  At Mercy Parklands we dodged and danced with the old folk ferrying dinners from the kitchen to wherever an appetite could be found! Before our team arrived, staffs at Mercy Parklands had a naming contest for our big GoCart and chose “FRANK (Facilitate, Retrieve And Negotiate to the Kitchen).” Staffs and residents were calling “FARANK” whenever it was passing by corridor and you could feel the excitement and warmth. We did food deliveries for lunch, dirty dish pickup and afternoon tea deliveries at Mercy Parklands with our big GoCart. Both field tests were very successful and I will share our field test video on YouTube soon so please stay tuned!

My team including myself will start exhibiting our GoCart family to public starting from IFA in early September and if you could come out and visit our booth in one of those expos, it would be great. Here are list of expo schedules we will be exhibiting.

    • IFA: Sept. 2 ~ 7, Berlin, Germany
    • REHACARE: Sept. 28 ~ Oct. 1, Dusseldorf, Germany
    • ROSCON: Oct. 8~9, Seoul
    • RobotWorld: Oct. 12~15, Seoul
    • R&D Korea: Nov. 17~19, Seoul

Enjoy your day and hope to see you soon!

by Yoon Kang (noreply@blogger.com) on August 16, 2016 07:27 AM

August 14, 2016
Cloud-Based ROS Projects for the Classroom

ROSVirtual, the cloud-based robotics learning platform, has recently added the PROJECTS learning module.  This section of the site is intended to bring together the various elements of robot design, simulation, and testing via well-defined projects suitable for the classroom. 

PROJECTS is just one of eleven learning modules that covers various robotics software and hardware topics with 130+ tutorials and videos at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.  ROSVirtual also features a live programming environment that includes platform-agnostic web access to:

  • ROS Indigo
  • Eclipse Java/C++ with FIRST/FRC plug-ins
  • Python
  • FIRST/FRC WPILib
  • RViz robot visualization
  • Gazebo robot simulation with FIRST FRCSim plug-in
  • Class assignment and tracking dashboard

The P1005 project (shown above) asks students to design their own 6-DOF arm geometry using a Unified Robot Description Format (URDF) file, an important design element used with the Robot Operating System (ROS).  The project goes on to integrate the URDF design into an RViz visualization where motion planning and control are applied.

Visit ROSVirtual at www.rosvirtual.com today to create a free account and learn more.

August 14, 2016 02:25 PM

August 08, 2016
DUO3D Stereo vision integration into ROS

From Alexander Popovich

I'm happy to announce the ROS integration of the DUO 3D stereo sensor by Code Laboratories. The DUO is an ultra-compact imaging sensor with global shutter and a standard USB interface for ease of use and connectivity. The DUO is intended for use in research, autonomous navigation, robotics and industrial areas. The camera's high speed and small size make it ideal for existing and new use cases for vision based applications.

all-duos-1.6.png

The DUO MLX solution consists of:

  • Factory Calibrated Stereo Camera
  • Industrial Grade Monochrome/Global Shutter Sensors
  • Integrated Accelerometer/Gyroscope/Temperature (6 DoF IMU)
  • Fully Programmable Active LED Array (3xIR 850nm High Power LEDs)
  • DUO SDK License
  • DUO Dense3D License
  • USB Mini-B Cable

You can find the ROS driver wiki page here: http://wiki.ros.org/duo3d-driver For more information about DUO sensor please visit product page at: https://duo3d.com

by Tully Foote on August 08, 2016 09:27 PM


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