April 2011 Archives

BiliBot: New Video, Now with Rebate

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The Bilibot developers have been busy with their Create+Kinect platform and have two new things to share. First, there's a new video (above) that shows off their "Developer Edition", including the brand-new arm. Second, they're offering a rebate of up to $350 if you release original, innovative applications for Bilibot to the rest of the community. It's a great incentive to put the platform in the hands of more developers and encourage collaboration in the community.

For more information, please visit Bilibot.com.

Congrats to the GRASP Lab's PhillieBot for throwing out the first pitch at a Phillies Game! PhillieBot is the creation of Professor Vijay Kumar, Jordan Brindza, Jamie Gewirtz and Christian Moore. It features a Barrett arm on a Segway base and it runs ROS. They worked on several modifications to the Barrett arm to get up to pitching speeds, though the Phillies requested that they limit the pitch to a mild 30-40mph.

From awesome quadrotors to modular robots to the PR2 Beta Program, the GRASP Lab is doing some impressive work with ROS.

More information:

ROS C Turtle Update

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Thumbnail image for cturtle_poster.jpgA new version of ROS C Turtle has been released. This update includes ROS 1.2.6, support for CCNY's MAV libraries, and several other updates listed below.

New Release of RGBDSlam

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Announcement from Felix Endres from the University of Freiburg to ros-users

Dear ROS Users,

we are happy to announce a new release of our entry to the ROS-3D contest.

There have been many changes, we would like to share with the community:

  • Improvments w.r.t accuracy and robustness of registration
  • Performance improvments w.r.t computation time
  • A more convenient user interface with internal 3D visualization
  • Many convenience features, e.g., saving to pcd/ply file, node deletion etc

It is available for download.

Quick Installation (see README in svn repo for more detail) for Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install ros-diamondback-desktop-full ros-diamondback-perception-pcl-addons ros-diamondback-openni-kinect meshlab
$ svn co http://alufr-ros-pkg.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/freiburg_tools/hogman_minimal
$ svn co https://svn.openslam.org/data/svn/rgbdslam/trunk rgbdslam
$ roscd rgbdslam && rosmake --rosdep-install rgbdslam

Best regards,


In Nao related news, Aldebaran is having an open house during National Robotics Week in Boston on the 11th of April and in Chicago on the 12th. Also for those who already have a Nao, the Nao Robot stack has been updated to version 0.3.

Announcement from Armin Hornung to ros-users

Dear ROS (and Nao) users,

I'm happy to announce the release of version 0.3 of the "nao" stack
(http://www.ros.org/wiki/nao). Along with many bugfixes and
improvements, it is now compatible to ROS cturtle and diamondback with
NaoQI 1.6-1.10. The packages were restructured with all messages now in
nao_msgs (more general and Nao-independent ones are in
humanoid_nav_msgs) for cleaner dependencies. The new nao_tactile node
allows access to Nao's bumpers and touch sensors (thanks to Stefan
Osswald), and a new base_footprint frame enables a better compatibility
with existing planning methods (thanks to Daniel Maier). For a complete
changelog, see:

The source package release is available at:

or via source checkout from Freiburg's ROS repository:

Best regards,

Congrats to the NimbRo@Home (University of Bonn) for their victory at the RoboCup German Open. During the competition, their Cosero and Dynamaid robots worked together to prepare breakfast. They demonstrated many difficult mobile manipulation tasks, like opening and retrieving orange juice from a refrigerator, pouring milk into a ceral bowl, fetching a spoon, and recognizing a pointing gesture. They were also able to deal with unknown environments.

The competition was a great demonstration of ROS software used to solve difficult challenges. ROS, PCL, and OpenRAVE were popular components in the competition -- five out of the eight robots used ROS-related software. The Nimbro@Home robots use ROS for communication as part of their four-layer modular control architecture, which is described in their 2011 paper.

The CCNY Robotics Lab was the first to bring us Kinect drivers for ROS, so it's not surprising that they have some awesome Kinect demos they have been working on.

In the above video, they show some of the latest results of their 6D pose estimation. Simply by moving the Kinect around an office, they are able to register multiple scans together and create a 3D model of the scene. Their code works with no extra sensors: they simply move around the Kinect freehand.

The work was done by Ivan Dryanovski, Bill Morris, Ravi Kaushik, and Dr. Jizhong Xiao. They are using custom RGB-D feature descriptors for the scan registration and use OpenCV, PCL, and ROS under the hood. They are working on releasing and documenting their code. In the meantime, you can checkout the rest of the cool software available in ccny-ros-pkg.

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

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