The Lily Camera developed using ROS

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From Henry Bradlow

"Throw your Lily in the air like you just don't care" is a popular comment on YouTube for the new Lily Camera. The fully autonomous flying camera went viral on May 12th when it was announced by Lily Robotics. It focuses on filming you, so you can focus on your activity.

Many people in the robotics and film communities have predicted that a product like the Lily Camera would enter the market, given the recent popularity of using drones for filming. While several companies have attempted to develop similar products, no company has achieved the capacity or flexibility of the Lily Camera, and no company has earned such enthusiastic attention.

What distinguishes the Lily Camera is its ease of use. The user throws the camera into the air and the Lily Camera automatically follows the user, capturing shots that are unmatched by any other device. The engineers at Lily Robotics integrate strategies from robotics, computer vision, and signal processing to ensure that Lily always knows the location of itself and the user it is filming. To achieve this situational awareness, the Robot Operating System, ROS, is heavily utilized.

In Lily Camera prototypes, ROS was used for passing messages between the tracking device and the Lily Camera. According to Rowland O'Flaherty, Lily Robotics' lead controls engineering, "Based on the sheer nature of how ROS is structured, it is seamless to pass messages between different devices. Sometimes you even forget that there are separate devices communicating with each other."

ROS is also leveraged for the testing and development of the Lily Camera. The engineers at Lily Robotics use RViz, ROS's 3D visualization tool, to simulate the movements of the camera for development, to visualize live test flights for real-time analysis, and to replay test flights for debugging and examination. Rowland added, "We can either run a simulated flight or a real flight with a flip of a switch thanks to ROS. Both the simulator and the real robot run the same code (ROS nodes), which rapidly increases the development cycle." 

ROS Jade Turtle Release

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We're happy to announce the official release of ROS Jade Turtle [1]! 


Jade Turtle is the ninth release of ROS and is primarily targeted at the Ubuntu distributions Trusty, Utopic, and Vivid. Our current count of packages is 520, you can compare the packages available in Indigo vs. Jade here:

You can install Jade by following the Jade installation instructions here:

I'm also happy to officially announce the name of the next release of ROS as Kinetic Kame, which we'll refer to as just "kinetic"!

We've also just finished deploying the new website and updated the documentation[3] on the new way to do prereleases for Jade and Indigo:

We're also aware of, and working on, an issue that affects rosbuild on newer Ubuntu's. The issue is a blocker, but not on Trusty. We hope to have a solution in the next few weeks. Please follow this issue if you are interested:

Finally, I want to thank all of the people who helped make this release and get it started strong and on time by the release date (which is also World Turtle day [2])! Thanks also to Tully who put together a video representation of the 40 some odd contributors across around 500 packages:

Thanks to everyone, and enjoy ROS Jade!

ROS and rospy on Talk Python To Me Podcast

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Episode 7 of Talk Python To Me features Dirk Thomas talking about the use of Python in ROS and rospy. The episode description is: 

Programming is fun. Robots are fun. Programming robots is awesome! This episode Michael speaks with Dirk Thomas from the ROS (Robot Operating System) project. You will learn how to use ROS and ROSPy to program robots.

We discuss how to use ROS from some of the largest and most complex robots built (including one on the International Space Station!) all the way down to basic robots controlled via micro-controllers such as arduinos.  

You can listen to the podcast or download it from:

Robotics Fast Track now accepting applications

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Cross posted from

We're excited to announce that OSRF and BIT Systems are seeking innovative and revolutionary robotics projects for the Robotics Fast Track (RFT) effort, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The goals of Robotics Fast Track are:

  1. Enable rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics capabilities designed to respond to, and even anticipate, quickly evolving needs in space, maritime, ground, and air operations. RFT will focus on the development of groundbreaking robotic hardware and software by funding novel approaches as well as creative adaptations of existing technologies.
  2. Achieve breakthrough capabilities in less time and at a fraction of the cost typical of government-supported robotic development processes by engaging highly agile organizations and individuals who traditionally have not worked with the U.S. government.

Learn more and apply at!

Call for Proposals: ROSCon 2015

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ROSCon 2015

ROSCon 2015

October 3rd-4th, 2015  Hamburg, Germany
Immediately following IROS

Important Dates

Call for Proposals -- May 15th, 2015
Proposal submission deadline -- July 7th, 2015
Proposal acceptance notification -- July 14th, 2015



ROSCon 2015 is a chance for ROS developers of all levels, beginner to expert, to spend an extraordinary two days learning from and networking with the ROS community. Get tips and tricks from experts and meet and share ideas with fellow developers from around the globe.

ROSCon is a developers conference, in the model of PyCon and BoostCon. Following the success of the inaugural ROSCon in St. Paul, Minnesota, the second version in Stuttgart, Germany, last years event in Chicago, Illinois, this year's ROSCon will be held in Hamburg, Germany. Similar to previous years, the two-day program will comprise technical talks and tutorials that will introduce you to new tools and libraries, as well as teach you more about the ones you already know. The bulk of the program will be 30-40 minute presentations (some may be longer or shorter). To submit a proposal please read the Call for Proposals.

If you don't want to make a formal presentation, you should still bring your new project or idea to ROSCon! There will be sessions of Lightning Talks, which are 5-minute mini-talks that are scheduled just-in-time at the conference. There will also be open space for Birds-of-a-Feather (BoF) meetings, impromptu hacking sessions, and informal presentations.

If you are looking for information on past ROSCons see their separate websites including past programs, slides and videos of the presentations are available from their programs: ROSCon 2012 Program, ROSCon 2013 Program, and ROSCon 2014 Program.

As more information becomes available this years program will be filled out here.

Submission Guidelines


Presentations and tutorials on all topics related to ROS are invited. Examples include introducing attendees to a ROS package or library, exploring how to use tools, manipulating sensor data, and applications for robots.

Proposals will be reviewed by a program committee that will evaluate fit, impact, and balance.

We cannot offer sessions that are not proposed! If there is a topic on which you would like to present, please propose it. If you have an idea for an important topic that you do not want to present yourself, please post it to

Topic areas


All ROS-related work is invited. Topics of interest include:

  • Best practices
  • Useful packages and stacks
  • Robot-specific development
  • ROS Enhancement Proposals (REPs)
  • Safety and security
  • ROS in embedded systems
  • Product development & commercialization
  • Research and education
  • Enterprise deployment
  • Community organization and direction
  • Testing, quality, and documentation
  • Robotics competitions and collaborations

Proposal submission


A session proposal should include:

  • Title
  • Recommended duration: Short (~20 minutes) or Long (~45 minutes)
  • Summary, 100 word max (to be used in advertising the session)
  • Description (for review purposes): outline, goals (what will the audience learn?), pointers to packages to be discussed (500 Words Maximum)

To submit a proposal please visit:

Further Info


The event website is  You can contact the organizing committee at

RSS 2015 Workshop on Robot Simulation

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A workshop on Realistic, Rapid, and Repeatable Robot Simulation (R4SIM) will be held at the Robotics Science and Systems conference in Rome, Italy.

The R4SIM workshop is motivated by the need for robotics simulators that

  1. lower the barriers to entering robotics research,
  2. provide a means to realistically and comprehensively simulate systems in conditions, or at scales, that would be unfeasible or impossible to test experimentally, and
  3. enable efficient and reliable transition to and from hardware experiments.

Check out the workshop, call for papers, and important dates at

And a full CFP is located here:

ROS Cheatsheet updated for Indigo Igloo

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From Aaron Blasdel via ros-users@

The good old ROS CheatSheet has just been released for Indigo. If you know anyone just starting out in ROS please send this on to them.

I recently performed some much needed cleanup, reformatting, and content addition for the CheatSheet. Most notably the GUI tools section has been greatly improved and includes information on the RQT toolset.

Further it now comes in two flavors, New and Improved Catkin Flavor and Original Extra Crispy Rosbuild. Many thanks to Kei Okada of the JSK lab for adding this dual build functionality and his edits for Hydro!

If you find any errors or glaring omissions please create an issue so we can discuss them or a pull request to fix it on the ros/cheatsheet repo.

I hope this is helpful!

Middlesex University intro to ROS summer school

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From Nick Weldin

Middlesex University is running a one week Intro to ROS summer school 6-10 July in London, UK. It will be a practical hands on class with 10 turtlebot robots and a Baxter Research Robot. More details are available  at

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