May 2013 Archives

ROS Industrial releases a 1 Year Montage Video

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ROS Industrial has been going for a full year now. Here is a compilation of ROS-Industrial application videos from the first year of the ROS-I repository. See and for more info:

Announcing sphero_ros

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From Melonee Wise via ros-users@

Hi Everyone,

I put together a stack for the sphero, sphero_ros:

 The stack includes:
  * a standalone sphero python driver with extensive API documentation (
  * standard ros node which provides all the standard goodies, odometry, imu data, tf frames, collision data etc
  * a urdf 
  * bringup with standard launch files to get you started

I only implemented the essentials of the base sphero API so there is room for people to implement more, so if you're interested please contribute and help the stack improve :)

Robot Web Tools Launches

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From Russell Toris via ros-users@

Dear Robotics and JavaScript Communities-

It is our pleasure to announce the official launch of the Robot Web Tools organization. Robot Web Tools is a collection of open-source modules and tools for building web-based robot apps.

A variety of routes are available for architecting a robot web application. A common route is building web technologies on an existing robot framework. The Robot Operating System (ROS) is one of the top frameworks to program robots and can run on a variety of robots, from a TurtleBot to a PR2 to an Arduino connected to a computer. ROS - and other robot middleware frameworks - provide common robot functionality, including drivers for interfacing with a variety of sensors and actuators and algorithms for navigation, perception, and manipulation.

While ROS works great for applications on the robot, another layer is needed to connect external devices and applications. rosbridge is both a JSON spec for interacting with ROS and a transport layer, providing a WebSocket for clients to communicate over. In the browser layer sits the core JavaScript libraries: roslibjs, ros2js, and ros3djs. These libraries communicate with ROS on the robot over rosbridge's WebSocket server. It's a lightweight, evented library that provides a convenient abstraction to core ROS functionality.

Robot Web Tools is being spearheaded by five supporting organizations: Brown University, Robert Bosch LLC, Willow Garage Inc., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Yujin Robot.

The real benefits of the Robot Web Tools organization is JavaScript modules and tools that build off these foundations. With this new effort, we have provided a new website, ample documentation, a new email list, and a collection of tutorials and live demos. We encourage robot and web programmers of all levels to get involved with the community, contribute their projects, and help to grow this emerging technology.

For more information, check us out on our homepage,, or see our current projects listed at Links to tutorials and wiki documentation can be found in repository READMEs located at

To keep up to date, be sure to subscribe to our Google Group email list at!forum/robot-web-tools (

-- Russell Toris, Community Manager & The Robot Web Tools Team

Announcing MoveIt!

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From Sachin Chitta via ros-users@

moveit logo

Willow Garage is proud to announce the initial release of MoveIt! : new software targeted at allowing you to build advanced applications integrating motion planning, kinematics, collision checking with grasping, manipulation, navigation, perception, and control. MoveIt! is robot agnostic software that can be quickly set up with your robot if a URDF representation of the robot is available. The MoveIt! Setup Assistant lets you configure MoveIt! for any robot, allowing you to visualize and interact with the robot model quickly.

MoveIt! can incorporate both actual sensor data and simulated models to build an environment representation. Sensor information (3D) can be automatically integrated realtime in the representation of the world that MoveIt! maintains. CAD models can also be imported in the same world representation if desired. Collision-free motion planning, execution and monitoring are core capabilities that MoveIt! provides for any robot. MoveIt! updates its representation of the environment on the fly, enabling reactive motion planning and execution, which is essential for applications in human-robot collaborative environments.

MoveIt! interfaces with controllers through a standard ROS interface, allowing for ease of inter-operability, i.e. the ability to use the same higher-level software with a variety of robots without needing to change code. MoveIt! is architected to be flexible, using a plugin architecture to allow users to integrate their own custom components while still providing out-of-the-box functionality using default implementations. Furthermore, the ROS communication and configuration layer of MoveIt! is separated from core computational components such as motion planning or collision checking, the latter components being provided separately as C++ libraries.

Workspace analysis tools allow robot designers to test out the capabilities of their robot designs before building the hardware, using environment and object specific task specifications to quantify the workspace characteristics of different designs. This reduces costly mistakes and iterations in the design stage. We are actively working on completing the pick and place capabilities in MoveIt!, integrating with object recognition, perception, and grasping to allow manipulators to execute generalized pick and place actions.

Get MoveIt!

More Information about MoveIt!, including instructions on how to get and use it, can be found on the MoveIt! website. MoveIt! is currently an alpha release.


Willow Garage gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following people to MoveIt! and associated packages that MoveIt! uses and depends on:

  • Lydia Kavraki, Mark Moll, and associated members of the Kavraki Lab (Rice University) for developing OMPL - a suite of randomized planners that MoveIt! uses extensively.
  • Dinesh Manocha and Jia Pan of UNC Chapel Hill for developing FCL - a package of collision checking algorithm used extensively by MoveIt!
  • Maxim Likhachev (CMU), Ben Cohen (Penn) and Mike Phillips (CMU) for developing SBPL, a search-based planning library integrated with MoveIt!
  • Armin Hornung, Kai Wurm, Maren Bennewitz, Cyril Stachniss, and Wolfram Burgard for developing Octomap - software for 3D occupancy mapping used by MoveIt!
  • Mrinal Kalakrishnan, Peter Pastor and Stefan Schaal at USC for developing STOMP, the distance field components in MoveIt! and the implementation of the CHOMP algorithm in Arm Navigation
  • Dave Coleman from the University of Colorado, Boulder for developing the MoveIt! Setup Assistant and adding documentation to the MoveIt! website.

MoveIt! evolved from the Arm Navigation and Grasping Pipeline components of ROS and we gratefully acknowledge the seminal contributions of all developers and researchers to those packages, especially Edward Gil Jones, Matei Ciocarlie, Kaijen Hsiao, Adam Leeper, and Ken Anderson.

We also acknowledge the contributions of the Willow Garage interns who have worked on MoveIt!, Arm Navigation and associated components, members of the ROS and PR2 communities who have used, provided feedback and provided contributions to MoveIt! and Arm Navigation and members of the ROS community for developing the infrastructure that MoveIt! builds on.

We also acknowledge the contributions of the ROS-Industrial consortium led by the Southwest Research Institute for supporting and building up infrastructure for applying MoveIt! and Arm Navigation to industrial robots and environments. Similarly, we acknowledge the contributions of Fraunhofer IPA to MoveIt! and support for the ROS-Industrial effort in Europe.

For more information visit

Announcing orst-ros-pkg

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From Dan Lazewatsky via ros-users@

The Personal Robotics Lab in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon State University is proud to announce our repository, orst-ros-pkg. Our current released stacks and packages are:

 - - ROS Wrapper around Fanelli et al.'s Real Time Head Pose Estimation from Consumer Depth Cameras [1]. Provides 6-dof head pose estimation using data from a Kinect or other similar device.

 - - Contains packages for projecting interfaces into the world, and interacting with those interfaces, as well as utilities for camera-projector calibration, and intersecting rays with various types of world models.

 - - A utility for graphically building projected interfaces to be used with the above stack.

 - - A simple ROS interface to the phidgets_ir board enabling learning IR codes, and using ROS messages to transmit codes.

The above packages were developed as part of the Robots for Humanity Project [2].

 - - RQT plugin for monitoring ROS processes, similar to Ubuntu's System Monitor.

[1] Fanelli et al.'s Real Time Head Pose Estimation from Consumer Depth Cameras. 33rd Annual Symposium of the German Association for Pattern Recognition (DAGM'11), 2011.

[2] Chen, T.L.; Ciocarlie, M.; Cousins, S.; Grice, P.M.; Hawkins, K.; Kaijen Hsiao; Kemp, C.C.; Chih-Hung King; Lazewatsky, D.A.; Leeper, A.E.; Hai Nguyen; Paepcke, A.; Pantofaru, C.; Smart, W.D.; Takayama, L., "Robots for humanity: using assistive robotics to empower people with disabilities," Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE , vol.20, no.1, pp.30,39, March 2013

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