ROSCon 2014 comes to a close

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Crossposted from

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

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

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

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

Microsoft Kinect v2 Driver Released

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From Thiemo and Alexis via ros-users@

Dear ROS Community,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshots are also on the GitHub page.

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

Best regards,

Thiemo and Alexis

Institute for Artificial Intelligence
University of Bremen

ROSCon 2014 is coming fast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New ROS package available for the Barrett Hand

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From Román Navarro García via ros-users@

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

Links: -> Technical description -> ROS package description 

Groovy and Hydro are currently supported, Indigo soon.

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

Best regards,

Virtual machines with ROS Indigo pre-installed

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From Nootrix via ros-users@

Hi there,

Just wanted to let you know that we have issued two virtual machines with ROS Indigo Igloo pre-installed: one 64 bits and the other 32bits.


2014 ROS Metrics Report Available

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The 2014 edition of the ROS Metrics Report is now posted at:

This is the 4th version of the ROS Metrics report. All are versions are available at: 

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

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

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

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

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

ROS running on ISS

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


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

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

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

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


ROS Dependency Analysis Graph

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From Ben Arvey via @ros-users

Hello, my name is Ben Arvey and I've been developing a set of analysis tools for ROS under the direction of Dr. Bill Smart. Our lab is giving a talk at ROSCon concerning our research, of which this is one aspect.

I'm looking for some preliminary feedback from developers. Any information about what you need in an analysis tool would be very helpful!

Here's the web app (Chrome works best):

Here's a page with some basic documentation info and suggestions for feedback:

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