February 2013 Archives

From Mani Monajjemi on ROS Users

Hi Everyone,

`ardrone_autonomy` is a new ROS driver based on newly released Parrot
AR-Drone SDK 2.0 which supports both AR-Drone 1 & 2 quadrocopters.
This driver is a fork (& update) of `ardrone_brown` driver with lots
of performance improvements and new features.

The code and documentation can be accessed from here:

With Best Regards,
Mani Monajjemi

vcstools, rosinstall, wstools Patch Releases

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There were several patch releases from the vcstools repository.  

vcstools 0.1.29 was released with patches to support newer versions of git. For the full changelog see: https://github.com/vcstools/vcstools/blob/master/doc/changelog.rst

rosinstall 0.1.25 was released with several minor patches. 

wstool 0.0.3 was released with a few minor patches as well. 

Thanks to Thibault Kruse for most of the updates as well as patches from Bob Teeter, Scott Logan and mmedvede.

Bloom version 0.3.0

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The new version of bloom has some significant changes, including a slightly different command workflow. Please review the updated tutorials for information on how this workflow has changed:

This version of bloom has some usability improvements for releasing packages for multiple versions of ROS in the same release repository. Additionally, there are new features and modifications to the workflow to better support releasing third party packages into a specific ROS distribution, which is related to REP 136. See the updated third party package tutorial for more info:

One of the biggest changes is that the bloom configurations are stored in a new format. You can ensure that your bloom release repository is up-to-date by cloning it, running `git-bloom-config` in the repository, and pushing the changes made during the up conversion using `git push --all`.

For more details on what has changed in bloom 0.3 from previous versions see the change log:

Please tag any related questions on answers.ros.org with the bloom tag and post any bugs discovered on the bloom issue tracker:

First ROS-I Consortium Meeting March 6-7th

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The first meeting of the Consortium will take place on March 6-7th. We will commence with a general information session, open to the public, on the afternoon of March 6. The Consortium Members' Meeting will be held March 7. For more information, please see the Consortium Events page.

New Package optris_drivers

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From Stefan May on ROS Users

Dear ROS users,

a new ROS wrapper for Optris thermal imagers is available at:

It works on 32-bit platforms and is tested on Ubuntu 12.04 for the moment.

Feel free to give me feedback, if you share one of those devices.

Best regards,

   Stefan May

New Package: V-REP

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From Marc Freese of Coppelia Robotics on ROS Users

Dear ROS community,

We are happy to announce that the V-REP robot simulator, that includes an extensive and powerful ROS interface, is now open source. As of now, it is also fully free and without any limitation for students, teachers, professors, schools and universities. No registration required. Moreover, V-REP is now available for customization and sub-licensing.

V-REP is the Swiss army knife among robot simulators: you won't find a simulator with more features and functions, or a more elaborate API:

- Cross-platform: Windows, Mac OSX and Linux (32 & 64 bit)
- Open source: full source code downloadable and compilable. Precompiled binaries also available for each platform
- 6 programming approaches: embedded scripts, plugins, add-ons, ROS nodes, remote API clients, or custom solutions
- 6 programming languages: C/C++, Python, Java, Lua, Matlab, and Urbi
- API: more than 400 different functions
- ROS: >100 services, >30 publisher types, >25 subscriber types, extendable
- Importers/exporters: URDF, COLLADA, DXF, OBJ, 3DS, STL
- 2 Physics engines: ODE and Bullet
- Kinematic solver: IK and FK for ANY mechanism, can also be embedded on your robot
- Interference detection: calculations between ANY meshes. Very fast
- Minimum distance calculation: calculations between ANY meshes. Very fast
- Path planning: holonomic in 2-6 dimensions and non-holonomic for car-like vehicles
- Vision sensors: includes built-in image processing, fully extendable
- Proximity sensors: very realistic and fast (minimum distance within a detection volume)
- User interfaces: built-in, fully customizable (editor included)
- Robot motion library: fully integrated Reflexxes Motion Library type 4
- Data recording and visualisation: time graphs, X/Y graphs or 3D curves
- Shape edit modes: includes a semi-automatic primitive shape extraction method
- Dynamic particles: simulation of water- or air-jets
- Model browser: includes drag-and-drop functionality, also during simulation
- Other: Multi-level undo/redo, movie recorder, convex decomposition, simulation of paint, exhaustive documentation, etc.

For more information, please visit http://www.coppeliarobotics.com or have a look at following demo video:

Best regards,


New Package: usb_cam on groovy

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From Adrian Cooke on ROS Users

Hey all,

I ported usb_cam from the bosch_drivers package to work on Groovy. The port can be found in my [roshome repository](https://github.com/agcooke/roshome/tree/master/src/usb_cam)

The patch is attached.

Are there other usb cam drivers available on groovy by default?

I also have tried twice to add a question to answers.ros.org and it does not work. I click the 'Ask your question' button and then just get shown the same page...

New Package: matlab_rosbag

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From Ben Charrow on ROS Users

Hi all.

I wanted to announce the initial release of matlab_rosbag, a small library which lets you read bags in matlab.  This library is intended to replace the one-off python / C++ programs / shell scripts that you have to write anytime you want to analyze or play with data inside of matlab.   A few selling points:

* ROS doesn't need to be installed on a system to use the library, you just need to download a mex function and a matlab class file.

* The library wraps the C++ rosbag API and so it supports bag file format 1.2 and later, including things like reading compressed messages.

* Message instances are converted to matlab structs using the message definitions contained within the bag.

Currently, there are several things that matlab_rosbag doesn't do such as writing to a bag, filtering messages by connection id, and reading all metadata.  None of these would be particularly hard to add, I just haven't had the time yet.

You can get the source code and pre-compiled binary releases for OS X and Linux from github:


New Package: ccny_rgbd

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From Ivan Dryanovski on ROS Users

Hello everyone,

We are pleased to release ccny_rgbd, a collection of tools for fast
visual odometry and 3D mapping with RGB-D cameras. Highlight of the
software include:

 * RGB-D image processing pipeline
 * Fast, lightweight visual odometry, operating at 30+ Hz on VGA data
(single thread, no GPU)
 * 3D map server which supports saving/loading and graph-based optimization

The documentation is available at the ROS wiki:

 *  https://github.com/ccny-ros-pkg/ccny_rgbd_tools

This video shows an overview of the functionality:


The code is available for download on github, and currently supports
ROS fuerte and groovy:

 * http://www.ros.org/wiki/ccny_rgbd

The software was developed in conjunction with our upcoming ICRA2013
publication [1].



[1]  Ivan Dryanovski, Roberto G. Valenti, Jizhong Xiao. Fast Visual
Odometry and Mapping from RGB-D Data. 2013 International Conference on
Robotics and Automation (ICRA2013).

A quick update that I added Colored octomap export directly from the
keyframe_mapper. Info and some images available:


New Package: differential_drive

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From Jon Stephan on ROS Users

Hi ROS users,

I'd like to announce the differential_drive package.  This provides some of the low level nodes needed to interface a differential drive robot to the navigation stack.  I think this will be especially useful for beginning hobby roboticists like myself, and it provides the following nodes:
  • diff_tf - Provides the base_link transform.
  • pid_velocity - A basic PID controller with a velocity target.
  • twist_to_motors - Translates a twist to two motor velocity targets
  • virtual_joystick - A small GUI to control the robot.

The ROS wiki page (with links to tutorials) can be found here: http://www.ros.org/wiki/differential_drive

My hacked K'nex robot is an example using this package: http://code.google.com/p/knex-ros/wiki/ProjectOverview

This is my first released package, I hope someone out there finds it useful.


Clearpath Robotics to Stand Firm Behind ROS

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A Press Release from Clearpath Robotics

Kitchener, ON, Canada - February, 2013

We have received many inquiries about the future of ROS since the announcement of a change in Willow Garage's business plan. To our many valued clients, you may rest assured that we will continue to support and build upon ROS and open-source robotics software for our products.

We are proud to say that we were one of the first companies to support and use ROS, and we are humbled to see how much it has advanced the robotics industry. We believe that the strength of the global ROS community is at critical mass and we are confident it will continue to thrive and grow.

The transition of ROS stewardship from Willow Garage to the Open Source Robotics Foundation has been under way for many months and Clearpath will do everything in it's power to assist with this transition. Our position as a partner to both academic and industrial research has given us a unique perspective on commercializing robotics from the lab to the real world, and the ROS ecosystem is making this happen faster than we had ever hoped.

The first 5 years of ROS has changed our industry forever. We can't wait to see what the next 5 years of ROS will bring.


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Crossposted from osrfoundation.org

First of all, we'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Scott and Steve and the entire Willow Garage team who have, over the last five years, made an unprecedented contribution to the robotics community. Willow Garage set out to have impact, and there can be no doubt that ROS has had a worldwide impact, on a scale greater than we ever hoped. Thank you!

As you may have heard, there are some changes underway at Willow Garage. Given the recent news, we're working with our friends at Willow Garage to accelerate the transition of ROS stewardship to OSRF. One of the goals in establishing OSRF was to provide a long-term home for ROS, and that's where we're headed with this transition. Through generous support from the National Robotics Initiative, we're assembling a team at OSRF to continue to guide the development of ROS. We don't expect ROS development to slow down, nor do we expect any interruption to the online resources that we've all come to rely on (e.g., the ROS wiki and ROS answers).

At OSRF, we look forward to taking a more prominent role in the ROS ecosystem. We'll be seeking increased community involvement in ROS development, decision-making, maintenance, and support. Open source software works best when everyone is invested and involved, and we will work closely with the ROS community, including product development groups, research teams, students at all levels, hobbyists, and interested groups everywhere.

Here's to ROS's next five years!

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

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