August 2016 Archives

New Package: rosparam_handler package

From Claudio Bandera via ros-users@

so I was very frustrated with how I had to define parameters for my nodes in several places. The declaration, the call to getParam and then everything again in a second place when I wanted to have a parameter that is configurable through dynamic reconfigure. Furthermore, you had to make sure the redundant parameters lived in the same namespace, otherwise you would run into serious trouble... This made it quite hard and error prone to add or refactor parameters later.

To solve this problem, I have created the rosparam_handler package. It is inspired by the cfg files and code generation provided by dynamic_reconfigure, but extends the functionality greatly.

The rosparam_handler let's you:

  • specify all of your parameters in a single file
  • use a generated struct to hold your parameters
  • use a member method for grabbing the parameters from the parameter server
  • use a member method for updating them from dynamic_reconfigure.
  • make your parameters configurable with a single flag.
  • set default, min and max values
  • choose between global and private namespace
  • save a lot of time on specifying your parameters in several places.

If this sounds interesting to you, have a look at the README, Tutorials and the source code at

Please let me know if you have any feedback, suggestions or any trouble using the package.

The Barcelona ROS Summer Course will start in 2 weeks

Ricardo Téllez via ros-users@

The Barcelona ROS (Robot Operating System) Summer Course will start in 2 weeks. This is the final call.


  • A single week of basic ROS learning in Barcelona. These courses are available for students and teachers with no previous knowledge of ROS. 100% practical since minute one.

  • Dates: 5th to 10th of September

  • Morning (from 9:30 to 13:30): teaching by doing exercises. Teaching is 100% practical. Students must complete several exercises along with the teachers' explanations of different subjects.

  • Afternoon (from 14:30 to 16:30): working on a ROS project. Students are presented with a project they have to solve by the end of the week working by themselves in the afternoons, with the support of the teachers.

  • Exam and ROS Certification: There will be a test at the end of the course. Those who pass the test with at least 8 out of 10 will receive a ROS certification.

  • Spots Still Available: due to the high demand of the course, we increased the number of seats to 13. There only remain 3 free spots.

  • Location: Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 608, 3ºD, 08007 Barcelona, SPAIN


  • Monday: ROS BASICS: basic structure of ROS programs and its concepts

  • Tuesday: ROS TOPICS: how to create topics and how to access them

  • Wednesday: ROS SERVICES: how to create services and how to use them

  • Thursday: ROS ACTIONS: how to create action servers and use them

  • Friday: ROS DEBUG: ROS tools that allow to find errors and debug

  • Saturday: Course Exam from 9:30 to 11:30


  • Basic knowledge of Python programming

  • A laptop (can have any operating system)



  • You can contact us with questions and doubts here:

From Limor Schweitzer and his team at RoboSavvy:

Small step for Virtual Reality (VR), big step for autonomous robots. One of the key issues with autonomous robot applications is indoor localization. HTC Vive has singlehandedly solved this age-long problem.

This 800$ system (will go down to 200$ in a few months once lighthouses and base stations are available without the headset in addition to minuscule lighthouse sensors) is comparable to a 150 000$ Ir marker multi-camera system. The Vive gives you 60fps, 0.3mm resolution, across any size internal volume (currently a 5m cube box but will be extendable) So unless you are doing indoor 3D drones, you don't need more than 60Hz and a camera system will give ~cm resolution. No other indoor localization system can get anywhere close to the Vive specs.

Initially the idea was to just use this to calibrate our robot's odometry/localization mechanisms (visual, wheels, LIDAR, IMU) However, there was this unexpected turn of events the past month whereby Valve is opening up the technology for non-VR applications so it may actually be possible to rely on this for real indoor applications and use the other forms of localization as backup.

We ended up integrating the Vive API for tracking the handheld devices with ROS. This provides ROS robots with the most precise absolute indoor localization reference. Source code is available at:

Announcing package for the Schunk lightweight robot arm LWA4P

From Georg Heppner via ros-users@

it is my pleasure to announce the schunkcanopendriver[1] package that you can use to control the lightweight robot arm LWA4P [2] produced by Schunk.

The LWA4P or Powerball arm is, as probably most of you know, a lightweight robot arm, especially suited for mobile applications due to the internal controllers and no need for a separate controller. The package was specifically designed for the LWA4P and currently supports interpolated position as well as profile position mode, full emcy messages,pdo reconfiguration and much more. It comes with a detailed 3D-Model, urdf, and everything else you need. The package was tested on multiple platforms with indigo, jade and kinetic and already worked well during public exhibitions such as the Schunk expert days and others. A comprehensive documentation is already provided on the wiki and should allow you to easily use the package in your projects.

The package is currently available via git [3] and package manager. For older distributions some workarounds of ros control are required. It is designed to work with the peak can adapters in chardev mode.

Please let me know if you have any feedback, suggestions or any trouble using the package.

Best Regards Georg Heppner

[1] [2] [3]

From Zhang Xinyu, following from the second ROS Summer School in China 2016, July 22-28:


The 2nd ROS Summer School in China was held on 22-28 July 2016 at Shanghai. It attracted over 400 participants. This event was organized by Intelligent Robot Motion and Vision Laboratory (directed by Dr. ZHANG Xinyu, and sponsored by Graduate School of East China Normal University.

This summer school includes 4 keynote speeches given by senior academic researchers, 7 invited talks delivered by the industrial representatives and 13 lectures given by ROS experts. Students from 75 universities and institutes, and developers from 64 industrial companies participate this seven-day event. During the summer school, a 3km running activity as arranged every early morning to promote a closer community of learners.

More details about this and previous events available at:

World MoveIt! Day August 23rd


Join us for an international hackathon to improve the MoveIt! code base, documentation, and community. Following the heels of the repo merge, we hope to fix all broken links in the documentation, close as many longstanding pull requests and issues as possible, and have some fun with a newly released integrated simulation of MoveIt! manipulation + Gazebo + Fetch for us to test. An hour long Q&A session is scheduled at 9am Pacific to allow the community to meet the people merging their pull requests.

We will be having several event locations including:

  • Fetch Robotics in San Jose, California. Contact: Michael Ferguson
  • ROS Industrial at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Contact: Paul Hvass
  • Xamla Robotics Team at Provisio GmbH in Münster, Germany. Contact: Andreas Köpf
  • JSK at the University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. Contact: Kei Okada

If you aren't near an organized event we encourage you to have your own event in your lab/organization/company and video conference in to all the other events. We would also like to mail your team or event some MoveIt! stickers to schwag out your robots with.

For more details, see the event page.

ROSCon 2016 early registration deadline: August 26th

The ROSCon registration rates increase after Friday, August 26! Register now at: to get the early registration discount.

To save money, remember to book your hotel room soon as well. The Conference has reserved a limited block of rooms at a discounted rate which is available until September 1st or until the block is full. To get the reserved rooms at the discounted rate book through this link More information is available at:

For more information about ROSCon including the program and information on the location please visit:

We can't put on ROSCon without the support of our generous sponsors, who now include Canonical, Dorabot, Nvidia, and SICK.

We'd like to especially thank our Platinum and Gold Sponsors: Fetch Robotics, Clearpath Robotics, Intel, Nvidia, ROBOTIS, ROS-Industrial Consortium / Southwest Research Institute, SICK, and Yujin Robot.

DUO3D Stereo vision integration into ROS

From Alexander Popovich

I'm happy to announce the ROS integration of the DUO 3D stereo sensor by Code Laboratories. The DUO is an ultra-compact imaging sensor with global shutter and a standard USB interface for ease of use and connectivity. The DUO is intended for use in research, autonomous navigation, robotics and industrial areas. The camera's high speed and small size make it ideal for existing and new use cases for vision based applications.


The DUO MLX solution consists of:

  • Factory Calibrated Stereo Camera
  • Industrial Grade Monochrome/Global Shutter Sensors
  • Integrated Accelerometer/Gyroscope/Temperature (6 DoF IMU)
  • Fully Programmable Active LED Array (3xIR 850nm High Power LEDs)
  • DUO SDK License
  • DUO Dense3D License
  • USB Mini-B Cable

You can find the ROS driver wiki page here: For more information about DUO sensor please visit product page at:

ROSCon 2016 Diversity Scholarships

The ROSCon 2016 organizing committee aims for ROSCon to represent the entire ROS community, which is diverse and global. In addition to promoting technology that is open source, we also strive to ensure that our communities themselves are as open and accessible as possible, since we recognize that diversity benefits the ROS ecosystem as a whole.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, and wherever you do it, if you're interested in ROS, then we want you to join us at ROSCon. To help reduce the financial barriers to conference attendance, the ROSCon organizing committee is offering a number of scholarships to members of traditionally underrepresented groups in the tech community. These scholarships will include a complimentary conference registration pass and two nights' twin-share* accommodation. Please note that all other expenses (including travel and any visa requirements) will be the responsibility of the participant.

*To maximize the impact of the scholarship funds, scholarship recipients will be asked to share a room with another recipient.


We invite applications from members of groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the tech community (including but not limited to: women, LGBTQ+, people of color, people with disabilities, and people from ethnic minorities in their country of residence), who may not otherwise be able to attend ROSCon.

How to apply

To apply, please fill out this form by the 14th of August, describing how you are involved with ROS and the robotics community and what you hope to get out of attending ROSCon 2016. Scholarships will be awarded based on a combination of need and impact. Every applicant will be notified of the outcome of their application by the 20th of August.

For more information about ROSCon 2016, including the program, code of conduct, and childcare options, please see

Open source drones are a trend when it comes to development capabilities. Chris Anderson @ DIYDrones shares the following:

The above video (sorry for the shaky camera -- we were excited) shows a fun exercise in in using the Solo drones to autonomously play Pong with themselves. Each "paddle" is made up of two Solos. The "ball" is the fifth. All this is automatically controlled by ROS, running on the ground. Instructions on how to do this are in the documents below.


DIYDrones Post

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This page is an archive of entries from August 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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