November 2011 Archives

motion_analysis_mocap released

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Announcement from Thomas Moulard (LAAS) to ros-users

Dear all,

I am pleased to announce the release of the motion_analysis_mocap stack.

This stack aims at integrating data from the Motion Analysis motion capture system into ROS.

This first public release provides a node which retrieve information from Cortex, the software provided by Motion Analysis and publishes them as both ROS topics (geometry_msgs/TransformStamped) and TF transformations.

Patches and feedbacks are welcomed through or GitHub.

Thomas Moulard

Announcement by Patrick Goebel of Pi Robot to ros-users


I have posted a couple of new ROS tutorials for those getting started with either speech recognition or controlling a pan & tilt head:

Please let me know if you run into any bugs.


iTaSC software release

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Announcement by Dominick Vanthienen to ros-users

Dear ROS and OROCOS community,

The Robotics Group of the K.U.Leuven likes to announce the release of the new iTaSC software (iTaSC-2.0alpha). Information, documentation and installation instructions can be found on . More documentation and example code will be made available in the coming weeks.

Kind regards,

The K.U.Leuven Robotics Group

What is iTaSC?

iTaSC stands for instantaneous Task Specification using Constraints, which is developed at the K.U.Leuven during the past years. The framework generates motions by specifying constraints in geometric, dynamic or sensor-space between the robots and their environment. These motion specifications constrain the relationships between objects (object frames) and their features (feature frames). Established robot motion specification formalisms such as the Operational Space Approach, the Task Function Approach, the Task Frame Formalism, Cartesian Space control, and Joint Space control are special cases of iTaSC and can be specified using the generic iTaSC methodology.


This year ROS celebrates another anniversary--four years of a great community building open-source libraries for robotics.

We're excited to celebrate this milestone by announcing ROSCon 2012, the first ROS developer's conference. On May 19-20 in St. Paul, Minnesota (following ICRA), ROS developers from around the globe will gather to learn, share, exchange, and network on all topics ROS.

The conference features:

  • Presentations by ROS experts, including robot-specific development, useful packages and stacks, developer tools, and embedded systems.
  • Tech talks and tutorials on the new tools and libraries.
  • Updates and discussion about the tools and libraries you already use.
  • Lightning talks and many informal sessions to learn more and share ideas.

The call for presentation proposals is now open, and the deadline for submissions is 12/4/2011. To learn more, go to

Continued Growth

By all measures, the ROS community has doubled in size since last year. The number of open-source, public code repositories grew from 50 in 2010 to 126 in 2011, and the number of ROS packages increased from 1643 to 3128. This explosive growth was driven in large part by the release of the Microsoft Kinect and has resulted in many new innovative applications.


If you're interested in more information on the growth of ROS, you can see your community metrics report from 2011.

Improved Libraries and New Platforms

The third ROS distribution release, Diamondback, kicked off 2011 with Kinect and OpenNI compatibility, as well as smaller, easier-to-use libraries. Diamondback also introduced our open stack release system, which enables contributors around the world to provide their libraries as part of the ROS distributions.

The fourth and most recent release, Electric Emys, marked a milestone by providing complete, stable libraries for arm_navigation and PCL to complement upgraded build, communication, navigation, and image processing libraries.

Electric Emys also expanded ROS support so you can use it on various low-powered platforms and more operating systems. There are much-improved capabilities on:

  • Android and Java (Damon Kohler, Keith Hughes, and Lorenz Mösenlechner)
  • Arduino (Michael Ferguson and Adam Stambler)
  • Windows (Daniel Stonier)
  • OS X (William Woodall)
  • Python 3 (Michael Karg, Severin Lemaignan, and Lorenz Mösenlechner)

Thanks to the developers above that made this possible. Thanks also go to the many institutions and individuals that have used the new stack release system to contribute libraries to the Diamondback and Electric releases, including:

Open Processes

ROS is now in use on so many platforms and in such a variety of applications that it's difficult to have a centralized planning process for releases. Building on the ROS Enhancement Proposal (REP) process, the special interest groups (SIGs) you've created now plan future releases of ROS. Anyone can create one. Anyone can participate and contribute.

In addition to the REP and SIG processes, more community members are stepping forward to take over core ROS libraries to guide their development. Thank you to Chad Rockey (laser_drivers), Brett Grandbois (dynamic_reconfigure), and Ruben Smits (orocos_kinematics_dynamics) for taking on this important responsibility, as well as thanks to Jack O'Quin (camera_drivers) for his continued and excellent stewardship.

A final thank you goes to the many, many people that make happen -- it is the primary resource for helping users get things done. In particular, thanks to the frequent contributors: Christian Dornhege, Eric Perko, Jack O'Quin, Martin Günther, Lorenz Mösenlechner, Michael Carroll, Koen Buys, Ivan Dryanovski, Chad Rockey, Andy Somerville, Mac Mason, Felix Endres, Patrick Goebel, Dimitri Prosser, David Lu, Antons Rebguns, Stefan Kohlbrecher, and Raphael Favier.

What's New for 2012: ROS Fuerte, Groovy Galapagos and ROSCon

ROS Fuerte Turtle and ROS Groovy Galapagos will be released in 2012. Fuerte, the March 2012 release, has 16 SIGs in the open-source robotics community collaborating on many improvements to ROS communication protocols and tools, as well as the libraries for motion planning, perception, manipulation, and simulation. Fuerte focuses on making libraries better and easier to use, both with and without ROS middleware. The build infrastructure will undergo major changes, and hopefully you can use these numerous libraries in more applications.

ROSCon 2012 happens in May, and we hope the many people that make ROS happen -- REP writers, SIG participants, stack maintainers, participants -- can meet all under one roof and carry us on to ROS Groovy Galapagos!

Announcing new ROS repository: iri-ros-pkg

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Announcement from Jose Luis Rivero to ros-users

Dear ROS community:

The Robotics Lab at Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC), research centre in Barcelona, wants to announce its official supported ROS repository.


The code is mainly related to "Mobile Robotics" and "Perception and Manipulation" at this moment. Full list of our robots, stacks and packages can be found here

Stacks and Packages

The repository hosts ROS stacks for drivers and devices, as well as IRI robots stacks:

  • Generic drivers
    • asterx1
    • firewire_camera (auto configuration of format 7)
    • hokuyo_laser
    • leuze_laser
    • loquendo_tts
    • pmd_camera (camcube and camboard)
    • tcm3_compass
  • WAM Arm stack (supports new libbarret library)
  • Segway RMP Stack
    • rmp200
    • rmp400
  • EstiraBot (WAM Arm based robot. Deformable objects manipulation)
  • Zyonz (WAM Arm based robot. Gardening, plants manipulation)
  • Tibi/Dabo (SegwayRMP200 based robot. Urban HRI interaction)
  • Teo (SegwayRMP400 based robot. Navigation/Mapping operations)

Source code

The full SVN can be downloaded here.

If you want to get a working "out-of-the-box" copy in a ROS enviroment, please follow our docs about how to make a rosinstall checkout.


cross-posted from

In a little less than three months, Yiping Liu from Ohio State University made a significant update to the camera pose stack by making it possible to calibrate cameras that are connected by moving joints, and storing the result to a URDF file. The camera pose stack captures both the relative poses of the cameras and the state of the joints between the cameras. The optimizer can run over multiple camera poses and multiple joint states.

The goal was to calibrate multiple RGB cameras, such as the Microsoft Kinect, Prosilicas, webcams, and other mounted cameras, on a robot, relative to other cameras. The results are automatically added to the URDF of the robot.

Yiping set up a PR2 with a Kinect camera mounted on its head to demonstrate the calibration between the onboard camera and statically mounted cameras. The PR2 was directed close enough to the statically mounted camera and store the captured checker board pattern. The internal optimizer can produce better results with accumulated measurements.

In the other use case, the PR2 looks at itself in a previously mapped space. Yiping built a simple GUI in cameraposetoolkits for choosing the camera to calibrate. The PR2 moved in front of the selected camera and calibration was performed. The package publishes all calibrated camera frames to TF in realtime. You can watch Yiping's camera calibration tests on his video.

To use the camera pose toolkits in your work and to find the latest update, check the site. Yiping also created tutorials with helpful information about calibrating multiple cameras.

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