October 2015 Archives

From David Fischinger via ros-users@

We are pleased to announce a new package for grasp calculation on unknown and known objects.

This package receives a point cloud representing objects and identifies where to best place the gripper. The algorithm does not require segmentation or a-priori knowledge about the objects. It has already been employed on various platforms, including a PR2 [4], a Kuka LWR [5], a Schunk arm [6] and the service robot Hobbit [7].

More details, a scientific foundation and evaluation results can be found in an IJRR journal publication from August 2015 [1], a more technical description and a simple getting started guide can be found at [2]. Code is available on GitHub [3].

Currently Indigo is supported.


  1. http://ijr.sagepub.com/content/34/9/1167.full.pdf+html ? IJRR publication 2015 or http://users.acin.tuwien.ac.at/dfischinger/files/IJRR_FinalRevision.pdf (final revision)
  2. http://wiki.ros.org/haf_grasping ? Technical description, Getting started
  3. https://github.com/davidfischinger/haf_grasping ? Code on GitHub


PR2, unknown objects

Kuka arm, known object

Schunk arm, unknown objects in box

Service robot Hobbit

Multiple open positions at Mayfield Robotics

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From Sarah Osentoski via ros-users@

Mayfield Robotics is a new startup building an adorable home robot in Palo Alto (soon to be Redwood City), CA. We are currently a team of 17 people - mostly engineers, roboticists, and developers. 

We are hiring key positions in our software team.  Playful folks who love robots, think flexibly, and like to work collaboratively are our favorite kind of people.  ROS is a big part of our current software stack and so finding someone who is familiar with ROS for these positions would be really helpful.

We are especially looking for: 
Robotics SLAM Engineer
- Machine Vision Engineer
Robot DevOps Engineer

More information about all of our positions can be found here: 


New ROS computing platform Snickerdoodle

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From Ryan Cousins via ros-users@

We've been working on a new ROS/robotics development platform for a while and recently launched a pre-order campaign:

It's specifically targeted at robotics and UAV applications and we're supporting ROS running on top of Snappy Ubuntu.

I would be interested in any feedback the group might have, as well as to hear from anyone who might be interested in participating in the Alpha program.

Multiple full time positions at 5D Robotics

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From Jonathan Whetten via ros-users@

5D Robotics has several full-time job openings in the San Diego area for roboticists looking to work on a variety of challenging, interesting, and fun projects that will have a positive impact.

About Us

5D Robotics is a small company that has been doing R&D projects for the past several years while developing our core capabilities. We write software for mobile robots and create solutions for companies in need of automation. 5D has developed some amazing technology and we are ready to start deploying robots in the real world. We are on a high growth trajectory, so come join us in helping to usher in the age of robots!

About the Job

We need roboticists with a variety of backgrounds, but with an emphasis on mobile ground robots. All experience levels are invited to apply. At 5D, every project is unique and interesting. Every employee has a chance to make meaningful contributions while working with a great team. We encourage creativity and innovation backed up by intelligent decision making.

Required skills -

  • Proficiency in programming in C++.

  • Linux proficiency

  • Theoretical and practical knowledge of robotic systems

  • Bachelor's degree in relevant field or equivalent experience

  • Familiarity with ROS

  • Practical and theoretical knowledge of some or all of the following areas

    • Probabilistic robotics

    • Motion control and planning for different drive types

    • Robotic perception techniques

      • Real-time state estimation techniques (SLAM, Sensor fusion, etc.)

      • Photogrammetry

      • Computer vision/image processing

      • Filters and optimization techniques

    • Comfortable with applied linear algebra

    • Sensor integration with UGVs and UAVs

Nice to have

  • Master's degree or higher in relevant field or equivalent experience

  • Experience with large code bases, version control with teams, and system architectures.

  • Experience with DVCS's such as Git and Mercurial.

  • Previous work with open source software and similar systems.

  • Comfortable with Gazebo simulator

  • Experience with robotic hardware

Openings at Cruise, Self-Driving Car Startup

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From Richard Ni via ros-users@

Come work with a team of robotics experts on technically challenging problems, building products that improve lives and prevent car accidents. 

Our team is small, but we move quickly. In less than a year, we built prototype vehicles that have logged over 10,000 autonomous miles on California highways. We're looking for smart, ambitious people to help develop our next generation products, ensure they're reliable and safe, and deploy them at scale.

We have a variety of roles open, from robotics & software generalists to domain experts in computer vision and perception. 

For a complete list of our openings, see https://jobs.lever.co/cruise

Call for videos for an 8 Years of ROS montage

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Please help us make another great ROS Montage for the upcoming 8th anniversary of ROS. To show off the great variety of things people are doing with ROS we need your videos to share with the community.

Please submit your videos to be considered for inclusion in the 8 Years of ROS montage before November 1st.

Submit your videos here!


As an example here is the montage we put together 3 years ago to celebrate 5 years. 

ROS Firmware Role in Kitchener, ON

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From Mike Purvis via ros-users@

As always, Clearpath is aggressively hiring for technical and other positions in our Kitchener office, located just an hour west of Toronto. I want to draw your attention specifically to the ROS Firmware Engineer role which we have recently posted.

This person will work closely with myself and others on the building and maintenance of high reliability firmware and drivers across our product line, including for the newly-announced OTTO self-driving industrial logistics vehicle. If you're interested in architecture, realtime, reusability, testing, modularization, and maybe the odd discussion about how to hack around ST's silicon bugs, we want to hear from you. Especially if you've done significant work on embedded software for other ROS robots.

We work reasonable hours and have fun, but we also challenge each other every day. If you're interested in other positions available at Clearpath, please see the full list.

Rhoeby Dynamics R2D LiDAR

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From John Jordan President of Rhoeby Dynamics LLC

The new Rhoeby Dynamics R2D LiDAR is the smallest, lightest, lowest-cost
2D LiDAR device on the market today. It's proven capable of performing
mapping, navigation and dynamic obstacle avoidance in the indoor setting,
and comes complete with its open-source ROS driver for rapid integration
into any robotics platform.

The device uses IR LED Time-of-Flight (not laser-based), making it a quite
novel technology. This novel approach is what enables us to achieve the
small form factor, low weight, and helps keep the cost down. All settings
are easily controlled via USB (or UART).

Video demonstrations of the LiDAR in operation can be seen here:


In summary, the LiDAR has the following features:

    * Scan rate: up to 5 Hz, user-configurable
    * Scan range: 360 degrees, over 5 meters
    * Angular resolution: typically ~ 1.0 degree, maximum 0.36 degrees (@
1 Hz scan rate)

    * small form-factor (75 x 45 x 45 mm)
    * light-weight (< 125 g)
    * robust design (direct-drive motor)
    * no safety issues (compared to laser-based device)

We're confident that this device is well-suited to cost-sensitive
applications requiring indoor Simultaneous Localization And Mapping
(SLAM), navigation and obstacle avoidance, and will be a good fit for many
robots. The device is available now, for immediate delivery in the United
States and beyond.

For more details visit: www.rhoeby.com, or email us at: enquiries@rhoeby.com.

Get involved with ROS through Outreachy

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Open Source Robotics Foundation is a participating organization in the
next round of the Outreachy program.


Outreachy helps people from groups underrepresented in free and open
source software get involved. The current round of internships is open
internationally to women (cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer
people. Additionally, it's open to residents and nationals of the
United States of any gender who are Black/African American,
Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or
Pacific Islander.

In an effort to get more people involved in free and open-source
software and robotics, OSRF is offering internships from December 7,
2015 to March 7, 2016. The application deadline is November 2, 2015.

Participants will work remotely, while getting guidance from an
assigned mentor and collaborating within their project's team and the
rest of the community. The projects mainly include software
development but they might be opened to other ideas, such as web
development, 3D modeling, graphic design, or improving documentation.
The stipend for the program is $5,500 (USD).

Below you can find the list of potential ideas for the program. Many
of the posted ideas are Gazebo-related, but interested applicants can
work with a potential mentor to propose an idea for contributing to
the ROS ecosystem.


Feel free to ask questions and propose suggestions at
outreachy@osrfoundation.org. Please do not reply to
ros-users@lists.ros.org unless you have an announcement for the

Visit http://gnome.org/outreachy to learn more and apply. This program
is organized by the GNOME Foundation. Please help us spread the word
by forwarding this message to interested university and community
From Matt Delaney via ros-users@

Marble is a stealth SF-based mobile robotics startup founded by two former CMU roboticists. We are well-funded and our first robot rolls out into the city streets in a short matter of months. Yes, months! We live in an exciting time for robotics and are about to make history and need your help.

You should be sharp and scrappy and ready to hit the ground running with us. In the near term, we expect you to be ready to dive right into any level of our software - from low-level C on microcontrollers to C++ higher up the stack in ROS and potentially various other languages and frameworks elsewhere including our cloud stack. You move fast and can get things done. Bonus points if you also have any significant experience in applicable areas of mobile robotics including path-planning, navigation, perception, and computer vision - especially if for outdoors.

If the above describes you, get in touch with us at input@marble.io - we look forward to it.

2015 Metrics Report Available

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You can now download our 2015 ROS Metrics report from: http://download.ros.org/downloads/metrics/metrics-report-2015-07.pdf 

It's the 5th edition of the report. Links to all of them can be found at: http://wiki.ros.org/Metrics

One metric which stood out to me how strong the adoption of Indigo has been. Over half our users are now using the LTS release. 

And all of these numbers do not count the any statistics for mirrors either private or public of which we've seen an increase in availability. http://wiki.ros.org/Mirrors

Demonstrating the challenge of understanding metrics, the downward change in download volume reflects the more stable core packages. During the sample period there were fewer core releases. Including no catkin, ros, or ros_comm releases in July 2015 versus one or more of each of those in July 2014.
From Ralph Seulin via ros-users@

Postdoctoral Position

Polarimetric Vision Applied to Robotics Navigation

Position details:
• Starting date: January 2016
• Duration: 12 months renewable
• Salary: around 2000 euros/month net
• Location: Le2i UMR CNRS 6306 - Le Creusot (France)

The ability of robots to move and navigate autonomously in an unknown environment is directly related to their faculty to extract information surrounding them. Polarization information is used by many animals but remains unused in the fields of robotics. For instance, the sky produces a polarization pattern that is used by bees to orient themselves[1]. The main goal of the VIPeR (Polarimetric Vision Applied to Robotics Navigation) project is to prove by developing an experimental platform that polarization can be efficiently used for navigation tasks. This project is a two years project funded by the French National Research Agency.
The first task will consist in embedding a commercial polarimetric camera on the terrestrial vehicle (Summit XL) to illustrate the ability to avoid puddles or ice hazards on the road[2]. The polarization effect by reflection will be used since after reflection, natural light that is unpolarized becomes partially linearly polarized.
The second application will consist in embedding the polarimetric sensor on a UAV (ASTEC Pellican) to exploit the polarization properties of the scattering light. The attitude estimation task will be developed by using the polarization pattern of the sky. Indeed, depending on the sun position, the sky provides a useful compass for orientation in space and can be an efficient tool to compensate the drift that frequently appear in inertial measurement unit after a long term running[3].

[1] Pomozi, I.; Horvath, G. & Wehner, R. "How the clear-sky angle of polarization pattern continues underneath clouds: full-sky measurements and implications for animal orientation" The Journal of Experimental Biology, 2001, 204, 2933-2942
[2] Rankin, A. L. & Matthies, L. H. "Passive sensor evaluation for unmanned ground vehicle mud detection" J. Field Robotics, 2010, 473-490
[3] Shabayek, A. E. R.; Demonceaux, C.; Morel, O. & Fofi, D. "Vision Based UAV Attitude Estimation: Progress and Insights" ICUAS 2011 - Int Conf on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, 2011

Researchers involved in the project: O. Morel, D. Sidibe?, C. Demonceaux, D. Fofi, R. Seulin

Required qualifications :
• Ph.D. in Computer Vision (polarization skill is not required)
• Strong programming skill in C++ and/or Python under Linux (ROS experience would be a

Application procedure:
• Applications must be sent by email to Olivier Morel (olivier.morel@u-bourgogne.fr)
quoting "VIPeR postdoc position" in the email subject, and they must contain a motivation
letter, a CV including a list of publications, and the contact information of two referees.
• Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled,
but for full consideration please apply before November 1st, 2015.

ROS-Industrial Training Opportunities

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ROS Industrial will be hosting two upcoming events.

October 21, Stuttgart, Germany

The ROS-Industrial Consortium Europe is hosting a ROS-Industrial Training Class October 21 in Stuttgart, Germany. For details, refer to the event page.

Registration is still open: Link

November 16-18, San Jose area, California, USA

The ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas is coordinating with Flex and Silicon Valley Robotics to host a ROS-Industrial Developers Training Class November 16-18, 2015 in Milpitas, California. For details, refer to the events page.

Registration is now open: Link

Announcing Mapviz, a ROS Visualization Tool

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From Edward Venator via ros-users@

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) is pleased to announce the release of Mapviz, a graphical tool for viewing ROS data from outdoor robotic systems. Mapviz, like Rviz, uses an extensible plugin architecture to display ROS data. The Intelligent Vehicles sections at SwRI developed Mapviz as a tool for our work using ROS in automotive applications. Whereas Rviz is designed for 3D display of data from indoor robots, Mapviz is a 2D (top-down) viewer designed for use with outdoor robots. We look forward to feedback and contributions from others who find Mapviz useful.

Some Features of Mapviz:

* Tile Map background maps from OpenMapQuest (open.mapquest.com) and stamen design (http://maps.stamen.com), with Bing map support coming soon
* Multires Image backgrounds to display custom maps or backgrounds
* Robot marker(s) with custom robot image icons
* Plugins for several ROS message types:
    - sensor_msgs/Disparity
    - gps_common/GPSFix (sensor_msgs/NavSatFix support coming soon)
    - sensor_msgs/Image
    - sensor_msgs/LaserScan
    - visualization_msgs/Marker
    - nav_msgs/Odometry
    - nav_msgs/Path
    - marti_visualization_msgs/Textured Marker (a custom message type for painting image data onto the visualization)
    - TF transforms

Jerry Towler of Southwest Research Institute will give a presentation on Mapviz during Day 2 of ROSCon 2015.

If you want to use Mapviz, it is available on GitHub at http://github.com/swri-robotics/mapviz. Ubuntu Debian installers from the OSRF build farm are up in the shadow-fixed repository for Indigo (Trusty) and Jade (Trusty, Utopic, and Vivid). Additionally, Mapviz can be compiled from source for ROS Jade, Indigo, Hydro, Groovy, and Fuerte. Documentation is available on the ROS wiki at http://wiki.ros.org/mapviz

Embedded Software Engineer in Singapore

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Avetics Global Pte Ltd is a Singapore based drone developer specialising in engineering and drone services. We are a multidiscplinary team consisting of software, hardware, power, aerospace engineers. We are rapidly expanding and taking on interesting drone projects in the region. 


Job brief

We are looking for a professional Embedded Software Engineer to execute complete embedded software development lifecycle. The goal is to create scalable and optimised software systems in the specific field of micro flight controllers.


  1. Design and implement software of embedded devices and systems from requirements to production and commercial deployment
  2. Analyse and enhance efficiency, stability and scalability of system resources 
  3. Design and implement Hardware/Software of embedded systems from bare requirements to commercialization
  4. Prior knowledge on TI MCU and other arm processors is a plus.
  5. Design and develop prototypes, coding and debugging system hardware/software, and interface with computer based ground control station.
  6. Knowledge on industrial programming standards is a plus.
  7. Review system design and firmware/software for reliable system implementation.


  1. 3 years of experience in embedded system engineering
  2. BS degree in Computer Science or Engineering, Electrical/Electronic Engineering
  3. Experience in hands-on development in ROS
  4. Conversant in laboratory tools such as oscilloscope.
  5. Solid programming experience in C and C++
  6. Knowledge in VHDL is a plus.
  7. Proven experience in embedded systems design with preemptive, multitasking real- time operating systems 
  8. Familiarity with software configuration management tools, defect tracking tools, and peer review
  9. Excellent knowledge of OS coding techniques, IP protocols, interfaces and hardware subsystems
  10. Conversant in familiarization of embedded system through reading schematics.
  11. Strong documentation and writing skills

Interested parties please send your resume to team@avetics.com  

rospeex updates

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From Komei Sugiura via ros-users@

I would like to announce the release of latest version of rospeex, a
cloud-based multilingual communication package for ROS. Rospeex cloud
services have been operated for two years and used by nearly 20,000
unique users. The details will be presented at IROS 2015.

* Documentation and samples: http://rospeex.org/
* Installation information: http://rospeex.org/install-by-git/

 - Cloud-based speech recognition and synthesis
 - Multilingual (Chinese, English, Japanse, Korean)
 - HTML5-based user interface
 - Can connect to third-party speech APIs

New Universal Robot driver

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From Thomas Timm Andersen:

I am glad to share my new driver for the Universal Robots: https://github.com/ThomasTimm/ur_modern_driver


The driver is written in c++ and is designed to replace the old driver transparently, while solving some issues, improving usability as well as enabling compatibility of ros_control.


The most noticeable differences for current users will be the ability to use the teach pendant while the driver is connected as well as support for the UR3 and newest firmware versions.

The driver also makes it possible to send URScript commands from ROS to the robot as well as introduces a joint speed interface for doing visual servoing with the UR robots.


The driver resides in its own package, so you can install it and test it out without risking your current setup. Just use the included launch files instead of the ones from urX_bringup.


I have also included support for ros_control for those who would like to test that out. Note that the use of ros_control will probably require some minor modifications to your existing code if you choose to incorporate this into an existing project. Whether the driver should expose the "old" action interface or be controlled via ros_control is determined by a parameter at launch time. Note that the PID controllers are not optimally tuned at this time.


I have tested the driver with all the newest versions of ur-sim (1.6.08725, 1.7.10857, 1.8.16941, 3.0.16471, and 3.1.18024) as well as some real robots (UR5 and UR10, both with a CB2 controller running 1.8.14035).


Please try it out and report any issues / incompatibilities so it hopefully can make it into Jade (or indigo?)

nimbro_network: Multi-master ROS network solution

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From Max Schwarz via ros-users#

our group has developed a network transport solution for multi-master ROS
systems. We used it with great success in the DLR SpaceBot-Cup and the DARPA
Robotics Challenge, where our team (NimbRo Rescue) got fourth place.

Opposed to other multi-master solutions, our software is targeted for *bad*
networks, such as WiFi connections. For example, it can handle large latencies
and large packet-drop ratios without introducing further latency or dropping

The stack is now available under BSD-3 license here:


Some features:

 * Topic transport:
   * TCP protocol for transmission guarantee
   * UDP protocol for streaming data without transmission guarantee
   * Optional transparent BZip2 compression using libbz2
   * Experimental Forward Error Correction (FEC) for the UDP transport
   * Automatic topic discovery on the receiver side. The transmitter defines
      which topics get transferred
   * Optional rate-limiting for each topic
 * Service transport:
   * TCP protocol with minimal latency (support for TCP Fast-Open is included)
   * UDP protocol with minimum latency
 * Additional nodes/filters for transmitting the ROS log, TF tree and
   H.264-compressed camera images.
 * rqt plugins for visualization and debugging of network issues

For more details, see the included README file. If you have any questions,
please don't hesitate to ask me. We would also like to hear from you if you
end up using our software!

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

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

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