February 2014 Archives

Mathworks Releases TurtleBot Matlab API and Demo

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Following the release of the ROS support Te Mathworks has put together a demonstration of how to use the interface to control a TurtleBot in simulation or on a real robot. 

For more information see the submission on the Matlab Central File Exchange: http://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/44853-use-matlab-ros-io-package-to-interact-with-the-turtlebot-simulator-in-gazebo

Introducing ROStful: ROS over RESTful web services

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From Ben Kehoe via ros-users@

Hello all,
ROStful is a lightweight web server for making ROS services, topics, and actions available as RESTful web services. It also provides a client proxy to expose a web service locally over ROS.

Here at Berkeley we are working to bring Software as a Service (SaaS) paradigms into robotics. We have created ROStful as a starting point for creating SaaS tools using existing ROS services and actions.

ROStful web services primarily use the rosbridge JSON mapping for ROS messages. However, binary serialized ROS messages can be used to increase performance.

The purpose of ROStful is different from rosbridge: rosbridge provides an API for ROS through JSON using web sockets. ROStful allows specific services, topics, and actions to be provided as web services (using plain get and post requests) without exposing underlying ROS concepts.
The ROStful client proxy, however, additionally provides a modicum of multi-master functionality. The client proxy is a node that connects to a ROStful web service and exposes the services, topics, and actions locally over ROS.

The ROStful server is WSGI-compatible and can therefore be used with most web servers like Apache and IIS.

Try it out (there are no dependencies!), and let us know what you think! https://github.com/benkehoe/rostful

Two minor notes:
Serialized ROS messages are sent with the MIME type 'application/vnd.ros.msg'. If there's a standard anyone else is using, let us know.
In the absence of a standard component description format, ROStful uses an INI-based format that may be of interest for creating such a standard description. See here for details.

Announcing ROS Kong 2014

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We're pleased to announce that we will be hosting ROS Kong 2014, an international ROS users group meeting, in Hong Kong on June 6h, immediately following ICRA. This one-day event will complement ROSCon 2014, which will happen later in the year (see below). 

ROS Kong 2014 will feature invited speakers, lightning talks, and Birds-of-a-Feather sessions. There will be plenty of time to meet other ROS users both from Asia and around the world. 

If you are interested in attending, please save the date: Friday June 6h, 2014.  We will be setting up registration and distributing more information in the coming month. We have a large auditorium but registration will be limited. 

If you have any questions or are interested in sponsoring the event please contact us at roskong-2014-oc@osrfoundation.org.

In related news, we are tentatively planning to hold ROSCon 2014 in Chicago in September, in conjunction with IROS.  Stay tuned for more on that event.

Update: Registration is open at: https://events.osrfoundation.org/ros-kong-2014/

Bloom 0.5.0 Released

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Just in time before lots of people start releasing into Indigo, I am happy to announce bloom 0.5.0!

Here are some of the highest level changes to bloom:

- OAUTH is now used to open pull requests with github.com, hopefully cutting down on the number of times you have to enter your password.
- Some additional checks have been added to prevent invalid pull requests from being opened.
- bloom also asks you to add doc and source information for your repository in addition to setting a maintenance status.
- Fedora rpm generation (they are not generated by default yet). Thanks to Scott K Logan and others for getting this into bloom.

There are a few more changes, but you can read the whole changelog here:

If you run into any bugs, please open issues on the issue tracker here:

From Clearpath Robotics:

Thalmic Labs and Clearpath Robotics have joined forces to prove gesture controlled robots are possible. Thalmic Labs, developers of Myo Gesture Control, released the Myo alpha developer unit to Clearpath Robotics for testing. Clearpath has successfully integrated the Myo armband with their Husky Unmanned Ground Vehicle to start, stop and drive the vehicle using simple arm movements.


"There are a lot of interesting applications for using the Myo for robot control and our team is very excited to have the opportunity to work with the Alpha dev unit," said Ryan Gariepy, Chief Technical Officer at Clearpath Robotics. "We've been eagerly following Thalmic's progress and we've got a dozen different robots here we could do some more tests with."


Clearpath Robotics used the Robot Operating System (ROS) for most of the integration work. The Husky software package exposes a standard Twist interface, so the team was required to convert the Myo data into that format to create compatibility. The team did so by using their experimental cross-platform serialization server in socket mode.


For Myo integration and development, Clearpath Robotics added standard Windows Socket code into the provided Thalmic example code, and then determined the proper mapping from the Myo data to the desired robot velocity using timeouts and velocity limits. Further details on Myo integration cannot be released at this time.

Recent Job Opening Postings

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There have been a few new job postings on ros-users@ one for VP Engineering and the other for Senior Electrical Engineer. They are shown below. 

Vice President, Engineering

Position:               Vice President, Engineering
Location:              Kitchener, Ontario
Experience:         10 years' experience in technical leadership, with
relevant software or robotics development background

About Us
Clearpath Robotics Inc. specializes in the design and manufacture of
unmanned vehicle systems, software, and components for academic
research and industrial products.  Our clients range from Fortune 500
businesses to some of the best known technical institutions on the
planet.  Based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Clearpath Robotics employs
highly talented people who live and breathe robotics.  We believe that
work must have a high "cool" factor, and we're looking for people who
share in our passion to create remarkable solutions and change the

About the Job
We are dramatically scaling up our engineering team in all areas from
mechanical design to control software development. We need a technical
leader to help us continue our growth while improving our quality
standards and technical capabilities. If you'd like to be a part of
how unmanned vehicles are making an impact and don't want to be
limited by a specific market, this is where you should be!

You will gradually transition into leading the entirety of the
day-to-day engineering activities at Clearpath and our subsidiaries.
You will scale our team from our current size to hundreds of
roboticists while keeping a strong culture and satisfied team members,
and will also be responsible for ensuring that our capabilities grow
to match our ambitions. You will work with the development team and
any managers you may hire to ensure that the team is operating as
smoothly as possible and that we are maintaining the right balance
between agility and established process. You will work with members of
various teams to ensure that the engineering aspects of new product
introduction are clearly covered, and will likewise ensure that the
level of technical debt at Clearpath is at an appropriate level. You
will work side-by-side with the CTO to ensure that there is a constant
flow of new capabilities and technologies through the company to our
markets and clients. You may have to take robots for occasional walks.

 Your primary responsibilities will be:
*    Team leadership, scaling, and recruitment
*    Team and resource management
*    Owning overall quality and results across the company
*    Process ownership and supervision

Additional tasks may include:
*    Product roadmap execution
*    Strategic planning and budgeting
*    Improving any and all aspects of how we build robots
*    Risk, reliability, and failure mode analysis

Compensation includes base salary, benefits, stock options, and other
perks. While our office is based out of Kitchener, ON, occasional
remote work is feasible. We welcome more users of our telepresence

About You
You want to work for a rapidly growing company that thinks big and
dreams huge while making sure the people on your team get home for
dinner.  You are driven, view work as more than just a job, and are
never satisfied with a project left half-done.  You want to be
surrounded by people like you; creative, fun-loving, and passionate
about their work.  You are motivated by making an impact on your the
world and you thrive on challenging and rewarding problems. Oh, and
you've got the skills we need.

Required Experience/Skills:
*    Degree in engineering/CS or a related field, with applicable background
*    Extensive experience in leading and building teams with 50+ people
*    Software management background (robotics software development
definitely counts!)
*    Experience in engineering budgeting and planning
*    Comfort with implementing and maintaining process without causing
the development team to revolt
*    Has shipped product! Better yet, product has packed and shipped itself

Bonus points for:
*    Research, development, or implementation of robotics-specific algorithms
*    Exposure to the hardware side of robotics or product development,
including risk assessment and scheduling
*    Business case development experience
*    Ability to diagnose broken robots by their sounds and smells
*    Building teams for follow-on support and QA
*    Development and testing of safety-critical or high-reliability systems

What Now?
Apply through our online job portal using this link:
http://jobsco.re/1c1Hqyp, or send an email to
ryan@clearpathrobotics.com. Please submit cover letter along with your
resume. Instructions for sending supporting documentation, including
testimonials as well as conference papers, journal articles, source
code, portfolio media, references, or other indications of exceptional
past work will be provided in the confirmation email sent by our
system upon receiving your application. Please include "VP
Engineering" in the subject of any further communications. If your
skills don't fit this job description, but you're still interested in
working with us please apply to our "General Robotics Enthusiast"
position.No recruiters or form cover letters, please. They do not
please our mechanical masters. Detailed corporate information package
available upon request.

Senior Electronics Engineer

Yujin Robot's Innovation Team is looking for an experienced and passionate senior electronics engineer with product development experience in robotics, embedded devices, mobile phones, the automotive industry or a similar technology field. You will provide input to the overall design of Yujin Robot's future prototypes and products, be responsible for the technical design and specification of the robot's electronic system and develop individual electronic components.

The recently formed Innovation Team is a small, highly motivated and multinational group with a focus on turning the promise of the future into Yujin Robot's products of tomorrow. Since robots are complex electronic systems, in which various sensors, actuators, computers, network devices and power supplies need to work together, the engineer we seek does not need to be an expert in each related field, but needs to understand enough to build a reliable system. Hence, we are looking for a generalist, rather than a specialist. Since we aim to turn our prototypes into products, experience in product development is crucial. You will be the bridge to our electronics suppliers and development partners and also work closely with Yujin Robot's other electronic engineers to solve day-to-day challenges. Driving the electronics development for our prototypes and products will require you to be comfortable with defining the technical design and specification for the overall electronic system as well as individual components. The latter also includes logic and circuit design. Electronic component development will also require you being experienced with outsourcing design work.

You will be free to do things your own way, however this will require you to be highly self-organised while still being able to ride with the team. We offer flexible working hours, good payment and enough off-time to recharge in a highly creative and dynamic workplace.

Key Roles & Responsibilities
- Design and technical specification of the robot's electronics system
- Logic and circuit design of electronic components
- Management of outsourcing jobs
- Collaboration with Yujin Robot's electronics team, external suppliers and development partners

- Minimum 5 years experience in product development
- Minimum bachelor's degree or equivalent
- Expert/mother tongue Korean and professional English
- Experience in outsourcing design work
- Experience with ORCAD or similar tools
- Highly self-organised and natural team worker
- Energetic and passionate

- Experience in power supply design
- C/C++ firmware programming
- Experience in the robotics field

If you feel ready to join our team, write to jobs@yujinrobot.com, tell us why you are right for the job (cover letter, max. 1 page) and don't forget to attach your CV (max. 2 pages). All application material needs to be submitted as a PDF. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

rosc alpha released

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From Nikolai Ensslen via ros-users@

Hi all,


in December we released "Subscribing Submarine" an alpha version of rosc, that was announced at last year's ROSCon. For some reason we forgot to mention this here and invite you to review and play around with it. - Hereby I'm catching up on this, and of course also encourage you to join the further development!


rosc is a dependency-free ROS client implementation in ANSI C which aims to support small embedded systems as well as any operating system. Its long-term goal is to become a hardened, efficient and highly portable implementation of the ROS middleware (including future evolutions of it), making it a good choice for use in industrial applications or product development.


Essential features:

  • XMLRPC communication
    • HTTP/XML parser
    • XMLRPC message generator
  • Port interface handling (services, topics, XMLRPC)
  • ROS message (msg-File) header/source generation
  • TCPROS (un-)marshalling

Planned future extensions:

  • Transport layer independency
  • Realtime capability
  • Development debugging features
  • Compiler optimization packages
    • special size optimizations
    • using special pragmas (like pack)
  • Multimaster/masterless concept

You can try out the alpha under Linux now. The code is beyond experimental, but not yet mature enough for critical setups.  


In ROS Wiki, see http://wiki.ros.org/rosc

Find the code at https://github.com/synapticon/rosc/releases

Documentation http://synapticon.github.io/rosc/


Have fun,


RoNeX and Matlab

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RoNeX, the latest product from the Shadow Robot Company, enables sensors and actuators to be connected seamlessly to ROS.

Thanks to the guys at Mathworks, data from sensors attached to RoNeX devices can now be easily accessed from Matlab. We are very excited about this Matlab and ROS based Rapid Prototyping Platform, especially when complex sensors are required.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you want more info:contact@shadowrobot.com

STDR Simulator (Simple Two Dimensional Robot Simulator)

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From Manos Tsardoulias


Dear all,

We are happy to announce the first release (v0.1) of STDR Simulator (Simple Two Dimensional Robot Simulator) ROS package. It is a fact that a variety of robot simulators is available. Some characteristic examples are the Player/Stage/Gazebo project, USARSim, Webots, V-REP and many many others. We acknowledge that these frameworks are state-of-the-art and provide a vast amount of services, ranging from realistic 3D simulation to hardware support. Though the prize you ought to pay is that they are either extremely architecturally complicated and confuse the novice robotics researcher or they require a lot of computational power to provide realistic 3D simulation. In addition, almost all of the pre-mentioned frameworks have a lot of dependencies that make the installation procedure time consuming and sometimes impossible due to dependency errors. What we envisioned was a simple simulator that its installation wouldn't require more than a few clicks, one that would allow the robotic researcher to materialize their ideas in a simple and efficient manner.

That is why we decided to create STDR Simulator. STDR Simulator's two main goals are:

  • It doesn't aim to be the most realistic simulator, nor the one with the most functionalities. Our intention is to make a single robot's, or a swarm's simulation as simple as possible, by minimizing the needed actions the researcher has to perform to start theirs experiment. In addition, STDR can function with or without a graphical environment, which allows for experiments to take place even using ssh connections.  

  • STDR Simulator is created in a way that makes it totally ROS compliant. Every robot and sensor emits a ROS transformation (tf) and all the measurements are published in ROS topics. In that way, STDR uses all ROS advantages, aiming at easy usage with the world's most state-of-the-art robotic framework. The ROS compliance also suggests that the Graphical User Interface and the STDR Server can be executed in different machines, as well as that STDR can work together with ROS Rviz!

We hope that STDR Simulator will be useful to the beginner robotics researcher aiming at comprehending the area, as well as to an advanced roboticist who wants to try his ideas in mapping, navigation or path planning.

STDR Simulator is - of course - open source and can be downloaded from our Github page (https://github.com/stdr-simulator-ros-pkg/stdr_simulator) or through the official ROS binary distributables (ros-hydro-stdr-simulator). Since this release is the initial one we expect things to not fully work, so it would perfect if you could provide us with some comments / suggestions / bugs that you discover. Our bug tracker is:


Finally you can find a detailed description of STDR Simulator in our wiki page or our website:

The development team:

  • Manos Tsardoulias (administrator/developer), PhD in Electrical Engineering (etsardou [at] gmail [dot] com)

  • Chris Zalidis (maintainer/developer), Student in Electrical Engineering (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) (zalidis [at] gmail [dot] com)

  • Aris Thallas (developer), Student in Electrical Engineering (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) (aris.thallas [at] gmail [dot] com)

rviz in Stereo

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From Acorn Pooley via ros-users@

Hello all,

I have modified Rviz so it can render in stereo.  This will work on
Linux if you have a Quadro card, 3DVision glasses, and a
stereo-capable display (it should also work on any system that
supports quad-buffered stereo display).

For now this requires building Ogre and Rviz from source.  If this
does not scare you and you want to try it out, you can read how here:
(its not really that hard if you have the necessary stereo graphics


Good luck!

ROS Answers reaches 15,000 questions

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We're excited to share that answers.ros.org has grown to over 15,000 questions, submitted by over 6,000 registered users!


The site has matured into an excellent crowd-sourced resource for the ROS community. There are over 10,000 questions with accepted answers and another approximately 2,000 questions with at least one proposed answer. The site has recently maintained a sustained velocity of over 15 questions per day. It's been only eleven months since we hit 10,000 questions last March

The answers.ros.org site is a community effort and everyone's participation, from asking or answering questions, to cleaning up tags, is greatly appreciated . Each and every contribution improves the site for the ROS community.  If you have not yet joined us on answers.ros.org, give it a try and help us get to 20,000!

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

Please submit content to be reviewed by emailing ros-news@googlegroups.com.

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