TUT-RIM: Collaborative Intelligent Heavy Machinery and Robotics

From Eero Heinänen

The TUTRIM project was motivated by the possibilities to increase productivity and safety at worksites by using autonomous mobile robots. With cooperation between four departments of Tampere University of Technology (Intelligent Hydraulics and Automation, Automation Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Systems, Signal Processing) we implemented an unsupervised, autonomous multi-robot worksite in the domain of civil engineering.

The main task was to get the independent, autonomous and heterogeneous robots to cooperate to achieve a common goal in a partially known environment. For this purpose ROS was a reasonable choice as it enables different communication types to be used and it acts as an abstraction layer in the message exchange between dissimilar robots. Also, we used ROS Industrial to integrate one industrial robot to the system. Other components of the worksite are a wheel loader, a micro aerial vehicle and a kinect-based localization system at the industrial robot station.

For more information please see: http://vision.cs.tut.fi/projects/tutrim/index.html

ROS binary logger package

From Enrico Villagrossi

We would like to announce the release of the new ROS binary logger package. The package is designed to be an alternative to rosbag when:

  1. multiple and long messages acquisitions are required (the binary files have smaller dimensions)
  2. only the offline data analysis is required and no replay of the experiment is necessary in ROS (e.g. data analysis with MATLAB)

The usage of binary files allows to reduce the dimensions of the log files and allows to speed up the post processing of such files (e.g MATLAB spend ~0.1s to unpack 300MB of binary file). The package allows to record some common ROS message such as: sensormsgs/Imu, sensormsgs/JointState, geometry_msgs/WrenchStamped, etc... New message types can be easily added and the users are encouraged to contribute. Two MATLAB scripts are also provided to unpack the binary file.

You can find the code here: https://github.com/CNR-ITIA-IRAS/binary_logger More information and a short description can be found in the repository.

Contacts: Manuel Beschi manuel.beschi@itia.cnr.it - Enrico Villagrossi enrico.villagrossi@itia.cnr.it

From André Araújo

We are pleased to announce the 2nd edition the international summer course RobotCraft 2017: Robotics Craftsmanship International Academy, from 3rd of July until 3rd September, in Coimbra, Portugal. Besides providing a general overview of the science and art behind robotics and teaching the basis, the course have a strong component of ROS, starting from the integration of the developed mobile robot during the course, to the high level AI routines implementation in ROS.

In the 1st version, RobotCraft 2016,

we hosted 65 students coming from all over the world, from different nationalities, with distinct formation fields and degrees, from BSc to PhD students.

The robotics international school is organized by Ingeniarius, Ltd in association with Faculty of Sciences and Technology of University of Coimbra, and the Robotics Group from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department,

The course will promote:

  • Concepts and theorems for the introduction to robotics, describing the history of robotics and its evolution;

  • Understand the potential use of ROS framework;

  • Integration of the developed mobile robot in ROS;

  • Development of multi-robots and AI algorithms in ROS;

  • Acquire C/C++ programming skills;

  • Acquire basic 3D modelling and printing concepts, applied in the design of robotic platforms;

  • Acquire basic electromechanical concepts, applied in the development of robotic platforms;

  • Understand the potential use of Atmel microcontrollers, using the Arduino platform;

  • Understand the use of sensors (e.g., range finders, encoders, cameras) and actuators (e.g., servo motors, stepper motors, DC motors) used in robotics;

  • Explore and apply the concepts of networks and different communications architectures to robotics;

  • Explore and apply concepts of artificial intelligence in robotics;

  • Consolidate concepts learned during the modules for the full design of a mobile robotic platform, including 3D design, electromechanical assembly, low-level and high-level programming, and artificial intelligence.

For more info please check, http://robotcraft.ingeniarius.pt/ .

See you soon in Coimbra!

Announcing ROSCon 2017: September 21st and 22nd in Vancouver

We're happy to announce that ROSCon 2017 will be held September 21-22, 2017 at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, Canada. IROS 2017 will be held at the same venue September 24-28, so plan to attend both of these great events!

More details will be forthcoming. In the mean time you can get more information about ROSCon by reviewing past ROSCon events 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, or 2012. Where you can find the past presentations listed and most include both slides and video recordings.

Tango ROS Streamer

From Ruben Smits via ROS Discourse

Dear ROS community,

For developers who want to write robotic applications on the Android platform, or who want to extend their robot with new sensors for indoor positioning and 3D perception, Intermodalics created the ROS Streamer App for Tango.

This Android app for Tango compatible devices provides real-time 3D pose estimates using Tango's visual-inertial odometry (VIO) algorithms, camera images and point clouds into the ROS ecosystem. The app and code are freely available for download in the Play Store and Github. More information can be found on the ROS wiki page. The application has been developed in close cooperation with Ekumen and Google.

Intermodalics is committed to maintain and improve the app, so stay tuned for new features and improvements. As an open source project we invite you to propose or contribute new features as well.

Future updates will contain even more Tango features such as area learning (SLAM) and 3D reconstruction.

We hope that this application and code will facilitate the use of Tango devices in robotic applications.

The Intermodalics Apps Team apps@intermodalics.eu

Announcing the release v0.6 of RAPP Platform and RAPP API

From Manos Tsardoulias

We are happy to announce the v0.6 version of RAPP Platform and RAPP API, oriented to provide an online platform for delivering ready-to-use generic cloud services to robots!

The changes in comparison to v0.5.5 follow:

  • RAPP Platform Web services now support authentication via a tokens mechanism

  • Several new functionalities were introduced in the form of ROS nodes along with the respectful API web calls. These include object recognition via a Caffe wrapper (http://caffe.berkeleyvision.org/), e-mail management, geolocator, hazard detection in a household environment (detects if lights were left on or doors open), human detection, news explorer, path planning and a weather reporter.

  • Web services: Introduced a framework developed on-top of hop.js for easily implementing Web Services (documenation)

  • Python Platform API was refactored, supporting high level API and advanced API implementations, as well as static request and response objects.

  • RAPP Platform Wiki has been updated with the current description of all nodes, including full tutorials on how to create a new functionality, a new web service or even robotic applications.

  • RAPP Platform scripts (installation and deployment) were transferred in a separate repository

You can download a ready-to-launch VM containing the RAPP Platform v0.6 from here. Furthermore RAPP Platform v0.6 is already publicly launched in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki premises. You can find more information on how to invoke its cloud services here.

Links of interest:

RAPP is a 3-year research project (2013-2016) funded by the European Commission through its FP7 programme, which provides an open source software platform to support the creation and delivery of robotic applications. Its technical objectives include the development of an infrastructure for developers of robotic applications, so they can easily build and include machine learning and personalization techniques to their applications, the creation of a repository from which robots can download Robotic Applications (RApps) and upload useful monitoring information, as well as developing a methodology for knowledge representation and reasoning in robotics and automation. More information on RAPP can be found at http://rapp-project.eu/.

New Package PlotJuggler

From Davide Faconti

I would like to announce PlotJuggler, a Qt based application that allows the user to load, search and plot data. Many ROS user would use MATLAB or rqt_plot for this purpose, but these solutions might be frustrating to use when the data to be analyzed is considerably large.

PlotJuggler is meant to be a better alternative to rqtplot and rqtbag, providing a more user friendly interface.

Features:

  • Multiplot: add multiple curves to a plot. Arrange plots in rows, columns, tabs and/or separate windows.

  • Zoom: easily zoom a plot. You can lock the X axis of all of the plots.

  • Save/Load layouts: one you have organized your layout, you can save it on a file to be reused later.

  • Complete Undo/Redo: CTRL-Z does what you would expect it to do.

  • DataLoad plugins: easily load CSV or rosbags.

  • DataStreaming plugins: subscribe to one or multiple ros topic(s) and plot their data live.

  • RosPublisher plugin: re-publish the original ROS messages using the interactive tracker.

You can get a first impression of how PlotJuggler works here

PlotJuggler: a desktop application to plot time series. from Davide Faconti on Vimeo.

PlotJuggler: live streaming of a ROS Topic from Davide Faconti on Vimeo.

PlotJuggler: loading and re-publishing messages from ROS bags from Davide Faconti on Vimeo.

PlotJuggler is still in its "alpha" stage and under heavy development. I would like to get some feedback from the community to understand how this tool need to evolve.

You can find the code here: https://github.com/facontidavide/PlotJuggler

NOTE: you will also need this package too https://github.com/facontidavide/rostypeintrospection

Celebrating 9 Years of ROS!

This year marks the occasion of ROS turning 9 years old! Through these years ROS has grown into a strong world-wide community. It's a community with a large variety of interests: from academic researchers to robotic product developers as well as the many robot users. Academic use of ROS continues to grow. Citations of the first ROS paper "ROS: An Open-Source Robot Operating System" has grown to 2,871.

To get a better sense of what's happening in the ROS community, if you have not already done so, I highly recommend reviewing the ROSCon 2016 program. You can also find all the video recordings in this gallery. ROSCon 2016 was another great event bringing ROS community members together to share how they're using ROS to solve their challenges. As the goal of ROSCon is to share information between the entire community we record the talks and make them available online. We've sold out our venues the last two years and are looking forward to another ROSCon next fall!

roscon-group-thumb.png

Part of understanding our growing community is to try to measure it. For the last 6 years we've been generating metrics reports. These reports can give a sense of aggregate what's happening in the ROS community. Our most recent report is from July 2016. David Lu has put together plots of several of the metrics across the last 6 years which can be quite informative.

This year we wanted to dig a little deeper into the code metrics, so we downloaded the source of all of packages listed in the Indigo Igloo rosdistro and ran some analysis.

  • The total line count is over 14 million lines of code
  • There have been 2477 authors
  • And 181509 commits
  • Averaging 73.3 commits per author

You can see the commits as a function of month in this graph.

commits_by_year_month.png

Our committers are active around the world as evidenced by the commits coming in at all hours of the day.

hour_of_day.png

And the git commits record 24 different time zones (out of 39 possible).

Analyzing the repository for significant lines of code using SLOCCount shows:

  • 4,077,199 significant lines of code.
  • This represents an estimated 1,236 person-years of development.
  • For a sense of scale, that is an average of 137 developers contributing full time over the last 9 years!

For those of you curious about the breakdown by language lines of code, it is as follows:

  • cpp: 2608592 (63.98%)
  • python: 553332 (13.57%)
  • ansic: 297629 (7.30%)
  • xml: 280615 (6.88%)
  • lisp: 149439 (3.67%)
  • java: 135343 (3.32%)
  • ruby: 26484 (0.65%)
  • sh: 21120 (0.52%)

This only represents the packages publicly released into the Indigo rosdistro index.

Note that the tools only worked on Git repos so code from other source control systems was excluded. There are also a few projects which predate ROS but have ported to use ROS and their history is included.

We're looking forward to continuing growth through 2017 leading up to the 10-year anniversary of ROS. With the Beta 1 version of ROS 2.0 out, there will be space for new development. We're looking forward to our next release, Lunar Loggerhead, to coincide with Ubuntu's next release, Zesty Zapus. With both of these, the ROS community can continue to rely on the many libraries, tools, and capabilities they have come to know and enjoy, as well as begin to experiment with the new features in ROS 2.0

Another exciting project to watch is the upcoming TurtleBot 3! The TurtleBot and TurtleBot 2 have been great platforms for learning and prototyping. However by packing that same capability into a smaller platform with more punch we look forward to it providing another avenue to grow the ROS community.

We write these anniversary posts to help give you a sense of how ROS has been doing over the past year, but we'd certainly encourage you to find out for yourself. Get involved. Write or edit a wiki page. Answer a question on ROS Answers. Come to ROSCon. And, when you're ready, think about helping to maintain ROS itself, or even contributing a brand new ROS package.

OSRF is doing great, but the long-term success of ROS depends on every member of the incredibly awesome ROS community. If you're already an active part of the ROS community, we can't thank you enough; and if you're not, think about how you can help ROS grow and thrive for the next nine years, and beyond.

Find this blog and more at planet.ros.org.


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