December 2013 Archives

From Steven Peters, via ros-users@

The Open Source Robotics Foundation ( is seeking applicants for a full-time software engineering position to work on simulation-related projects.  Details are below and at:

To apply, send your application materials to:

Software Engineer: Simulation
Primary Function:
evelop and maintain the Gazebo robot simulator. There are many aspects to simulation including physics performance and accuracy, sensor generation, user interfaces, robot modelling, and rendering. The ideal candidate is proficient in at least one of these topics, and capable of expanding into others.

Roles and Responsibilities
  • Support and develop simulation of large indoor and outdoor environments with multiple heterogeneous robots.
  • Full lifecycle application development.
  • Support, maintain and document software functionality.
  • Software testing and quality assurance.

Skills / Job Requirements:
  • BS, MS, or PhD in Computer Science or equivalent.
  • Compensation commensurate to degree and experience.
  • Several years of software development experience.
  • Extensive knowledge of Linux environments.
  • Experience designing and developing large software systems.

Nice to Have's:
  • Experience developing and maintaining open-source software.
  • Experience as a user of physical simulation software.
  • Experience developing for Windows and/or OSX.
  • Experience using ODE or Bullet.
  • Experience using OGRE.
  • Experience using Qt.
  • Experience developing web applications.

Application Material:
  • Cover letter
  • Resume/CV
  • Downloadable code sample(s)
  • Two references and/or two letter of recommendation

To Apply:
Send your Application Materials and links to any projects you'd like us to look at to

Open Source Support Engineer Wanted

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Paul Van der Vorst from Clearpath Robotics, via ros-news@

Team pic 2.jpg

Work with a team of esteemed roboticists, play with the latest robotics equipment, contribute to the open source ROS community, and get paid to do it! What more could you ask for!?

Team pic 1.jpg

Clearpath Robotics is looking for someone who is passionate about giving back to the growing open-source robotics community, and they are calling on you to help them.

Tasks will range from high-level demo development on frameworks such as MoveIt! to maintaining distributions of LinuxRT and developing low level drivers. You will liaise with other members of the global robotics community to improve the general usability of ROS. A majority of your work if not all of your work will be public and open-source. You will work with other members of the Clearpath Robotics engineering team to identify closed-source development that is suitable for public release. You may be involved in outreach programs both locally and globally. Finally, you'll likely spend warm summer days driving robots around outside (cold winters too; this is Canada after all).

If you'd like to be a part of how ROS is changing everything from education to corporate research, this is where you'll want to be!

To view the job description and apply, follow this link.

Team pic 3.jpg

From Isaac Saito via ros-users@

we're happy to announce densowave, a ROS/MoveIt! interface for

industrial manipulators from Denso Wave Inc.

Key factors:

- Currently works with VS-060, vertical multi-joint robot from Denso Wave.
- ROS communicates using UDP-based standardized protocol (ORiN) to
the embedded controller computer that has been achieving
industry-proven reliability. It also has mechanism to detect faulty
commands. That said as a whole the system maintains the same level of
safeness with their commercial product setting.
- However ROS interface is still experimental and feedback is highly
appreciated. Please try out manipulation in RViz without the real
- Work done by U-Tokyo. Maintenance by Tokyo Opensource Robotics
Kyokai Association

Lastly, credit goes to Denso Wave who provides the robot's model to
the opensource community.

Kei Okada, Ryohei Ueda

ROS Spotlight: Pal Robotics' REEM-C

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This ROS Spotlight introduces a brand new, advanced platform for roboticists.


The REEM-C robot from PAL Robotics is a fully ROS-based biped with outstanding autonomy. This guy can walk around for up to 3 hours and has an idle time of 6 hours. REEM-C is equipped with laser sensors in the feet so that the navigation system has up-close input.

REEM-C is human-sized: it is 1.65 meters tall and weighs 80 kgs. It integrates all computation on board with two i7 computers. After spending long hours in the gym, this robot is able to lift and carry up to 10 kilos, which makes it among the strongest robots in its class.

With this robot, researchers have an out-of-the box solution for walking, navigation, manipulation, vision and speech recognition, all implemented using ROS. The hood is open and the system is ready to be modified to fit your project requirements.

The simulation model of the robot is publicly available with basic controllers already set up. Find more information about REEM-C on its ROS wiki page!

PAL Robotics first established itself by developing REEM-A, a biped robot able to play chess with a human. PAL continued with REEM-B, which was engineered to do general manipulation and walking, and the REEM series, which is a robot designed to interact with people in public, dynamic environments.

To learn more about REEM-C, their latest biped robot for research, check out thePAL Robotics website!

New Repository: steered_wheel_base_controller

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Jim Rothrock announced on ros-users@

The steered_wheel_base_controller repository contains the steered_wheel_base_controller ROS package, which in turn contains SteeredWheelBaseController, a base controller for mobile robots. The controller works with bases that have two or more independently-steerable driven wheels and zero or more omnidirectional passive wheels (e.g. swivel casters).


New Repository: kth-ros-pkg

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Francisco Viña from KTH Sweden announced on ros-users@

The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Sweden) is proud to announce the release of kth-ros-pkg. Some of our packages include:

  • kdl_acc_solver: KDL solver for calculating cartesian accelerations from joint positions, velocities and accelerations.
  • kdl_wrapper: C++ wrapper for easily getting KDL kinematic chains and using KDL kinematic solvers with robots defined in ROS through URDF in the parameter server.
Future packages will include :
  • door_opening_control: adaptive controllers for simultaneous control and estimation of kinematic parameters of sliding and revolute doors.

As well as adaptive control/kinematics estimation for tool calibration, joint human-robot manipulation of objects, etc.

Our github repo:

From Berend Kupers, Alten Mechatronics cross-posted on ROS-Industrial blog

Alten Mechatronics, in collaboration with CSi Palletising systems, developed a demonstrator using an ABB IRB6640 robot to show that a system based on ROS-Industrial can easily cope with unknown products and uncertainties in the environment. Very little setup time was required for the actual hardware.

Two pallets were placed in the workspace of the robot. On one of these pallets three boxes of unknown size were randomly placed. The size, position and orientation of the boxes were determined using a Kinect, the Openni package and the PCL library. Based on this information, a path was calculated by MoveIt! and was then sent to the robot controller using the ABB ROS-Industrial package.

To make offline testing of the connection between the ROS-pc and the ABB motion controller possible, Alten Mechatronics developed a setup in which a ROS-pc was connected to a pc running the official ABB ABB RobotStudio software. This reduced the hardware set up time to less than one day. The current implementation reached a grasping accuracy of approximately 1cm, which indicates the accuracy of the vision system can be improved. This can be done by using more accurate sensors (e.g., laser triangulation, Time of Flight cameras) and more advanced filtering algorithms. For this demonstrator, the existing ABB drivers had to be adapted to allow controlling the gripper using the I/O interface of the IRC5 controller, which indicates a the need for a standardized Robot I/O interface in ROS-Industrial, to make implementation even easier.

Shadow Robot's RoNeX available for ROS Hydro

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The Shadow Robot Company is excited to announce ROS Hydro support for RoNeX, a scalable, industrial strength fieldbus for robots.

RoNeX allows ROS users to prototype and build ROS robots quickly and easily, providing a seamless link between ROS and a variety of sensors and actuators.

"At Shadow we use ROS in almost every project, so ROS Hydro drivers were our first priority" said Ugo Cupcic, Head of Software at Shadow. "We have been using RoNeX internally for prototyping new robots and our engineers all needed great ROS support, so that really set a high bar for the software team to meet!"

Devices connected via RoNeX can be directly accessed via ROS topics. Custom transmissions have also been implemented for ROS Hydro, so it's incredibly simple to control joint based robots just by adding a few extra lines to a URDF description.

ROS Hydro drivers are available now from your standard ROS repositories for the RoNeX General Input/Output Module. Shadow expects to announce an SPI Module very soon, with ROS Hydro drivers to follow shortly afterwards.

The RoNeX ROS wiki page can be found here and source here. More details on RoNeX here.

MoveIt! Survey Results

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From Sachin Chitta on ros-users@

Thank you for your responses to the MoveIt! survey. We had a fantastic response with 105 total respondents by the deadline. There are 65 different robots on which MoveIt! is being used now according to the survey (listed below), with multiple instances of the most popular robots using MoveIt!

A compiled summary of the MoveIt! survey results is available online:!-2013-Survey.pdf (also available on the MoveIt! wiki). 

Best Regards,
Sachin Chitta

Robots Using MoveIt!

Compiled list of robots running MoveIt! based on survey responses (please point out any duplicates). 
The list is in alphabetical order and figures in brackets indicate the number of respondents 
who reported using MoveIt! with that particular robot.

Total Number of different robots: 65

Aldebaran Nao (2)
Aldebaran Romeo
Arbotix PhantomX Pincher
Barrett WAM
Boston Dynamics Atlas (7)
BioRob Arm
CloPeMa Robot
Comau NM45
Cyton Veta
Demining robot
Denso robot (vs060)
DIY Mobile Manipulator
Dr. Robot
Fanuc m10ia
Fraunhofer Care-O-bot
Fraunhofer Rob@Work
HDT arm with Base for RCTA project Rescuer 
Hiro (Nextage)
HRP-4 (simulation) (3)
iarm ABB
Kawada Hiro
Kinova Jaco (3)
Korus Homemate robot
Kuka Leightweight Arm (7)
KUKA OmniRob
KUKA youBot (2)
Lego NXT
Lyncmotion servo erector set
Meka M3 Robot (2) 
Motoman SIA10d (2) 
Motoman SIA20 (2) 
Motoman SIA5 
Neuronics Katana (2) 
PAL Robotics REEM (2) 
PAL Robotics REEM-C 
Pi Robot
Pioneer P3AT
Pisa Velvet Gripper
Willow Garage PR2 (16) 
Rethink Robotics Baxter (8) 
Schunk 7DOF
Schunk Dextreous Hand 
Schunk LWA (3)
Schunk Powerball
Shadow Robot Arm and Hand 
Summit XL-Terabot
TUM Rosie
Universal Robots UR10 (2) 
Universal robot UR5 (7) 

New packages: REEM-C simulation packages

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From Paul Mathieu on ros-users@

Following the release of our latest biped robot, REEM-C, PAL Robotics is proud to present a set of simulation packages designed to offer a feature-rich, free solution to use REEM-C in a Gazebo simulation. Owners of a real robot will also have access to a bipedal walking controller as well as a tuned ROS navigation stack, which allows for autonomous biped navigation in simulation and on a real REEM-C.

Have a look at the ROS wiki page about REEM-C: 

and the REEM-C simulation tutorials:
Do not hesitate to contact us at or to check out our website to learn more about our products, or at for commercial conditions and availability.

New Package: screengrab_ros

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From Lucas Walter on ros-users@

This is a ros node for defining a region of interest on the screen with x, y, width, & height and publishing it just like a camera feed.  It could be most useful for capturing from a camera or any application that displays in Linux but has no ROS support, or recording from the screen to get all the user mouse movements and window placement for later export into a regular video.  

It is somewhat redundant with software that can capture from the screen into virtual webcam devices that are then trivial to publish with ros, though they would lack the ability to be controlled through ros parameters. worked well for virtual webcams but I haven't tried it in a couple of years.  

It probably only works correctly with a X windows setup similar to what I have on Ubuntu 12.04, there is no attempt to convert the image out of XGetImage for special cases.

If the screen spans multiple monitors and the roi crosses the window boundary and is partially in and out of the display area it might crash, I haven't tried that.  I'll add publishing of the max width and height next.

It's written for catkin and Hydro. 

Any feedback and inclusion into the package list would be welcome-

New Book: "Learning ROS for Robotics Programming"

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Our first ROS Spotlight showcases the most recently-published book about ROS, "Learning ROS for Robotics Programming", by Aaron Martinez and Enrique Fernández. This book is available online via Packt Publishing, a company that focuses on open source software and pays royalties to open source projects.


"Learning ROS for Robotics Programming" provides practical examples to help readers understand the ROS framework. To begin, it presents basic ROS concepts to help new users get started. The authors continue by introducing various compelling topics such as modeling, sensor integration, computer vision, and navigation algorithms.

With your new understanding of ROS, you'll be able to build your own robot applications in simulation, allow your robot to see with its sensors, and make your robot navigate autonomously.

Pick up a copy of "Learning ROS for Robotics Programming" and dive into the exciting world of ROS and robotics!

Buy this book

For more on ROS, you can also check out "ROS by Example".

A new

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When we started work on ROS, like most young open source projects, our greatest need was to recruit early adopters and fellow developers. So we targeted that audience: we built a wiki, filled it with documentation, tutorials, and code examples, and made the wiki the landing page at

Well, times have changed. Now, six years into the project, we have a broader audience to consider. We want to reach teachers who are considering using ROS in their classrooms, managers who want to use ROS in a new product, journalists who are writing stories about ROS, and many, many others.

So, in celebration (just a bit late) of ROS's sixth birthday, we're pleased to present a new



After all, a grown-up ROS deserves a grown-up website. Don't worry: the wiki is still there, as are all the other ROS sites on which we depend.

Btw, like most things we do, the website itself is at GitHub. If you run into a problem or have an idea for improving the site, open an issue and we'll have a look.

Find this blog and more at

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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