August 2011 Archives

It's Electric!

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ROS Electric Emys is now officially available! This amped up, current release of ROS features new, stable libraries for arm navigation and point cloud processing. There is also improved support for Android, Arduino, Windows, ARM, and Python 3. Please see the release page for some of the cool new tools and libraries in Electric, such as "interactive markers" for creating custom GUIs in RViz.

Many thanks to the ROS community for making this release possible. In order to better recognize your contributions, we have started an authors and contributors list. The numerous libraries, features, and bug fixes that you have provided enable ROS to run faster, better and on more platforms. We also appreciate the many contributors on who make using ROS a better experience for everyone.

Getting Electrified

Please see the ROS Electric Emys page for more information on what's new in Electric, how to migrate from Diamondback, and how to download the release.

ROS Electric RC 1 Now Available

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electric_rc1_200w.pngROS Electric Release Candidate 1 is now available. Thanks to all of you who have participated in the ROS Electic Beta process. We have been able to fix numerous issues as well as bring many more stacks into compatibility with Electric.

During this release candidate, we ask users of platforms like OS X, Arch, Fedora, Gentoo, OpenSUSE, Debian, and Slackware to please verify the ROS Electric installation instructions for those platforms.

A super mega thanks for this RC1 goes to:

  • Michael Karg, Severin Lemaignan, and Lorenz Mösenlechner: Python 3 support for major ROS libraries in order to support MORSE
  • William Woodall: OS X integration efforts
  • Thibault Kruset: widespread efforts with rosinstall, roslisp, and elsewhere
  • Chris Mansley: rosinstall patches.

This RC1 is limited to robot-generic software. Users of specific robot platforms like the PR2 should wait for system integrators to give the go-ahead on those platforms.

For a list of updates that ROS Electric provides, please see the ROS Electric Beta announcement.

Announcement from Armin Hornung of Humanoid Robots Lab, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg to ros-users

I'm pleased to announce the release of OctoMap 1.2, along with the updated octomap_mapping ROS stack for diamondback, electric, and unstable (see official octomap page and ROS wiki page). This is major step up from the OctoMap 1.0 release and features many under-the-hood improvements (speedup, leaner code, testing, bug fixes) as well as an improved interface for fellow developers. Key features of the new version are: an adjustable sensor model, node-iterators, time-stamped nodes, and an improved make system. A clean separation of the visualization library means that the octomap_mapping stack no longer depends on Qt or OpenGL (our visualization "octovis" will be released later as an additional ROS package). Furthermore, all output in the octomap package is now using proper ROS log levels (thanks to Eric Perko for the patch).

Detailed changelog

Download OctoMap (stand-alone library and visualization)

ROS packages for diamondback, electric, and unstable are being built and will be available soon. Until then, you can get the `octomap_mapping stack from alufr-ros-pkg

Your friendly neighborhood OctoMap team (Kai and Armin)

rosinstall 0.5.17 now available

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Version 0.5.17 of rosinstall has been released. You can update using the commands below. This update contains the new experimental rosws tool, updated --distro and --dev options for the roslocate tool, and numerous bug fixes. Please try it out and provide feedback on the new rosws tool and new roslocate with distro specific options.

Update commands

sudo pip install -U rosinstall


sudo easy_install -U rosinstall


The good folks at have released EU-compatible designs for the TurtleBot powerboard as well as metric versions of the TurtleBot trays. They've also adapted the design for consumer Roombas for those that cannot purchase a Create in Europe.

For more information and to download the designs, please see the post

New repository: pandora-auth-ros-pkg

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Announcement by Miltiadis Allamanis to ros-users

Hello ROS Community!

The PANDORA Robotics Team at the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece wants to announce our new ROS repository at

The repository contains, for now, two stacks:

  • ros_pandora_generic contains packages that are platform-independent. Packages include utilities such as a remote watchdog timer, a remote mutex/counter. We have also implemented a wrap-around the Google Mocking framework and created mock objects for Subscribers/ Service Servers/ ActionLib Servers to be used for testing (such as range tests). There are also a number of other utility classes for testing. Finally, we include an EPOS Gateway implementation, that we have used for our motors.
  • ros_pandora_platform_specific contains packages that are specific to our PANDORA robot, build for the RoboCup Rescue 2011 Competition. More specifically, there are currently two packages using our testing utilities to test interfaces and perform range tests and one package implementing our Qt GUI.

We will continue to update our repository with new packages throughout the next months.

Best regards

Announcement by Ivan Dryanovski of ccny-ros-pkg to ros-users

Hi everyone,

We pushed out new debian releases of the asctec_drivers, mav_tools, and scan_tools stacks, The stacks support diamondback, electric, and unstable.

Here are some highlights of the changes:


  • canonical_scan_matcher has been renamed to laser_scan_matcher;
  • laser_scan_matcher now supports multiple sources of predictive input such as imu, odometry, and alpha-beta velocity tracking; can work with laser scans or pcl pointclouds
  • laser_ortho_projector behavior significantly changed to match new laser_scan_matcher - check the wiki page for details


  • Imu messages published by asctec_proc now take data from the IMUCalcData/acc_*_calib fields (instead of previous incorrect acc_*). The values are measured in different frames of reference; if you are using the /mab/Imu messages, you will need to account for this change.

We also improved the nodelet support in all packages and fixed various bugs reported by the community.



PR2 rubiks solver stack now available

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Announcement from Lorenzo Riano of University of Ulster (uuisrc-ros-pkg) to pr2-users:

We have added a new stack with the packages to run the Rubik's cube solver on the PR2. We will add the documentation shortly. In the meantime you can find it at:

Please report any bug-issue-feature request to

Cloud computing with Qbo

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Thecorpora's Qbo showed off some cloud skills at the Campus Party in Valencia: the Qbo in Valencia was able to learn to recognize Tux, the Linux penguin, using a cloud-based object recognition system. Cloud-based recognition systems enable us to access seamlessly and collaboratively update knowledge about the world. During their live demo in Valencia, an engineer in Madrid was able to teach the image of Tux to the system, which was then accessed by the Qbo in Valencia. For more information on this demo and Qbo, you can checkout the Qbo blog.

IHR TurtleBot

I Heart Robotics/Engineering has been cranking out TurtleBot accessories as well as a some DIY instructions so that you can get the most out of your TurtleBot hardware -- whether it be new capabilities, or a little bit of flair.

Find this blog and more at

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