ROS Additive Manufacturing

The ROS Additive Manufacturing (RAM) project is a set of ROS packages that enables automatic generation of trajectories for additive manufacturing. It has been designed for metallic additive manufacturing with industrial robots. This project is open-source and under the BSD license.

Starting with a YAML file representing a 2D polygon or a 3D mesh, the goal is to obtain a trajectory and construct a 3D part with a robot. The user provides input files and some parameters, then generate the trajectory. The user is then able to modify the trajectory within a GUI if needed. Finally the user can obtain a robot program (specific to a brand) via a post processor (the post processor is not included in the project).

MOTIVE

There are many software products available to generate trajectories for 3-D printing. Most of them are designed for plastic and resin 3-D printing (FDM, SLS etc.) with Cartesian machines. The algorithms usually have an "infill" parameter that allows the user to choose how much material should be put inside of the "shells" (the exterior of the 3D volume). This is very handy to produce lightweight parts, but when set to 100%, the parts are not completely filled and some holes (porosities) remain.

With 3-D metallic printing, parts are very often expected to be fully filled with material and the tolerance for porosities is very low. This constraint does not allow us to use conventional 3-D printing software and led us to create our own solution. Depending on the process (powder projection, wire) there can be other requirements. For example processes using wire are not simple to stop and start, having a continuous trajectory becomes mandatory to ensure deposition quality.

This is why we decided to create a very flexible software solution, providing a clean and modern approach to 3-D printing.

SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE

The project is split in modules, each of them has a specific functionality, the main modules are:

  • Path planning: Automatically generates a trajectory given an input file and some parameters (layer height, etc.)
  • Display: Publishes the trajectory in RViz so that it can be visualized and features different visualization modes
  • Modify trajectory: Allows for trajectory modification by selecting poses and tweaking them (geometry, parameters)

This modular approach easily allows for adding, removing or modifying functionalities inside the software. The software can be used through a Qt GUI based on RViz and is designed to be easy to use for a non programmer.

Star.jpg

CURRENT STATE

The application is working and easy to compile, code quality is ensured by Continuous Integration including Unit Tests.

There are some missing functionalities, for example:

  • Entry/exit trajectories (will be added before the end of September)
  • Trajectory simulation (will be added soon)
  • Post processor (most likely won't be included in the project because it is too robot specific)
  • Ability to generate trajectories with process stop/start: sometimes the part cannot be constructed without stopping and starting the process again
  • Allow to generate trajectories with diagonal layers

The software is already able to generate complex trajectories:

Complex Stack.jpg
trivet.jpg

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

In the future, we would like to be able to generate trajectories for 3D printing when the initial surface is not flat. This implies creating a specific algorithm.

We also need to write some documentation and a user guide for the software.

CONCLUSION

You can find more information on the official [ROS Additive manufacturing](http://wiki.ros.org/ros_additive_manufacturing) wiki webpage.
Digests of the advancement are frequently posted on [the SwRI mailing list](https://groups.google.com/forum/#!searchin/swri-ros-pkg-dev/additive%7Csort:relevance/swri-ros-pkg-dev/Bd7weRLIrpU/Wk-aCsGiAQAJ); please post your questions about the project here!

You can contribute to this project by reporting issues, writing documentation or opening merge request to fix bugs, improve/add functionalities.

Authored by Victor Lamoine, Institut Maupertuis, France, on GitHub at https://gitlab.com/InstitutMaupertuis/

 

Robotic Blending Milestone 4 Technology Demonstration at Wolf Robotics

The Robotic Blending project is the first open source instantiation of what will become a general Scan-N-PlanTM framework (Figure 1). The project has been making steady progress over the past two and a half years.

Figure 1. Execution of surface blending of a complex contour part on Wolf Robotics Demonstration Hardware in Fort Collins, CO.

Figure 1. Execution of surface blending of a complex contour part on Wolf Robotics Demonstration Hardware in Fort Collins, CO.

Starting in earnest at the beginning of 2017, Milestone 4 (M4) sought to further the functionality of the technology to incorporate functionality that was of interest to the participating members. These members, 3M, Caterpillar, GKN Aerospace, Wolf Robotics, and the SwRI development team set forth to realize a set of objectives:

  • Closed-loop inspection and retouch: Integrating the process planning and quality assurance steps so that parts are finished with a closed, sensor-driven loop.
  • More Robust Surface Segmentation: Improving the surface segmentation and planning algorithms to accommodate more complex surfaces found on real parts (continuous surfaces with radius of curvature above a 50 mm threshold, as seen in Figure 1 above)
  • Blending Process Refinement: Improving the quality of the blending process to produce surface finishes that meet engineering requirements.
  • Edge Processing: Processing/chamfering simple 2.5D edges that occur where two surfaces meet.
  • Technology Transfer: Meetings, demonstrations, and sponsor sites to support knowledge sharing among project participants and performers.
  • Integration and Testing: Demonstration support.

The intent of the demonstration was to review the capability as-developed relative to the processing of provided Caterpillar production parts. Performance was tracked to a provided success criteria that tied to performance metrics that were relevant to the target application.

All parts presented were able to be perceived, meshed, and discrete parts for processing selected. There were difficulties with GUI interaction relative to selection, but these were considered minor.

Paths were generated for every part presented that included blending surface paths as well as the edge paths. Every path that was generated was simulated without issue.

Execution of the blending paths was performed on 100% of presented parts, and a subset of parts for edge processing. There were observed challenges due to the scale of the tools and media relative to the edge and execution of the paths without having issues with either collision or losing contact with the part. This is simply a need for finer calibration techniques for these particular hardware configurations.

Quality assurance (QA) paths were generated and simulated in all cases. False positives were prevalent and related to scatter/reflectivity, particularly for aggressive media combined with edges/corners on the parts. This is a common issue for laser-based sensors and spectral (shiny) surfaces, particularly along edges. Root cause was identified in detailed views of the scan data showing the scatter that exceeds the acceptance criteria of 0.5 mm.

For cases where slag was present to be identified the QA algorithm identified the slag and subsequent path plans were generated, displayed, and able to be simulated and executed, see Figure 2. In cases where there was no remaining slag and the finish was not high spectral the QA passed the part.

Figure 2. Processed Part and Resultant QA that highlights non-compliant regions for re-processing

Figure 2. Processed Part and Resultant QA that highlights non-compliant regions for re-processing

Overall, the demonstration was considered a success, and follow on work is in the proposal development phase. The next steps for the team: First, consider establishing two test-sites where follow on development and testing can be performed.  Second, evaluate functionality around these elements: work flow, path planning relative to perceived and characterized anomaly or feature, human mark/indication and plan, process refinement considering PushCorp functionality and 3M media, and finally Digital Twin elements to enable consistent performance between the two sites.

Additional information and videos highlighting the current capability will be available soon!

Latest updates to the packages can be found here: https://github.com/ros-industrial-consortium

Special thanks to the Robotic Blending M4 team members:

Schoen Schuknecht – 3M

JD Haas – 3M

Leon Adcock – Caterpillar

Prem Chidambaram – Caterpillar

Wajahat Afsar - Caterpillar

Chris Allison – GKN Aerospace

Richard Cheng – GKN Aerospace

Mike McMillen – PushCorp

Jonathan Meyer – SwRI

Austin Deric - SwRI

Alex Goins - SwRI

Lance Guyman – Wolf Robotics

Jason Flamm – Wolf Robotics

Zach Bennett – Wolf Robotics

Nephan Dawson – Wolf Robotics

The first ROS-Industrial Developer's training in Singapore - A Success!

The ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific Consortium has launched it's first developer's training in Singapore. The training was sold out during the week before the training was kick-started.

To be conducted annually or on request by companies, it consist of 3 days of training presentations, lab exercises and eventually testing your code on a robot. In the case here we were using a UR5 to test the participant's code.

The success lies in the feedback and the creative energy from the participants to ensure that they continue to develop in ROS and use it for their applications.

The 1-Day advanced training in Path Planning and Perception is new this year by ROS-Industrial and with the help of Levi Armstrong, SwRI (ROS-Industrial Americas) we were able to roll this out in Singapore. The additional advanced training allowed participants to delve into the key concepts for path planning and perception.

ROS-Industrial developer's training calss

ROS-Industrial developer's training calss

ROS-I Developer's Basic Training-Singapore Aug2017

Many thanks to trainer Levi Armstrong for travelling to Singapore to perform this training. Thanks to our ROS-Industrial AP Consortium developers Joseph Polden and Conghui Liang for their help as training assistants.. The training curriculum is open-source and available here.

For more details about this class, see the event page.

If you are interested in attending the next class in October, keep an eye on this event page.

Final in series on ROS-I development process – Publishing & Installation

ROS-Development-BlogPost-01-ARTC Update.png

This is the last post in a series detailing the ROS-Industrial software development process. We will discuss publishing and installing software. The first post described the process of contributing code to a project (item 1-3 in the figure above). The second post described the process of Continuous Integration, Pull Request (PR) peer review , and the release of a given repositories packages by the maintainer (item 4-7). Note that the starred numbers in the software development process illustrated above correspond to the outline below.

  1. The publishing of the released packages (item 8) is managed by OSRF and is not on a set schedule. This usually happens when all packages for a given distro are built successfully and stable. The current status for the distro kinetic can be found here . Navigating to other distros can be done by changing the distro name in the link.
  2. Once the package has been published, it is available to be installed by the developer (item 9).
  3. After the install of a new version, the developer may have questions, experience issues or it may not have the necessary functionality which should all be reported on the packages GitHub repository as an issue (item 10). If an issue is identified or there is missing functionality that the developer requires, the cycle starts back at (item 2).
The full series has been compiled and is now located on ROS-Industrial website here

Successful ROS-I Kinetic Training Class - Curriculum Available

The ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas hosted a ROS-Industrial Developers Training Class June 6-8, 2017, at SwRI in San Antonio, Texas. Twelve attendees represented a diverse set of organizations, including Bastian Solutions, EWI, John Deere, PlusOne Robotics, Magna International, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, and Yaskawa America’s Motoman Robotics Division. The three-day class was geared toward individuals with a C++ programming background who sought to learn to compose their own ROS nodes.

  • Day 1 focused on introductory ROS skills.
  • Day 2 examined motion planning using MoveIt! as well as using the Descartes planner and perception concepts.
  • Day 3 included an introduction to perception and culminated with lab programming exercises with a choice of Pick-and-Place Application or Descartes Application.

Many thanks to training class leaders Jeremy Zoss and Austin Deric. The training curriculum is open-source and available here.

For more details about this class, see the event page.

If you are interested in attending the next class in October, keep an eye on this event page.

THE FULL CLASS WITH SWRI ROS-INDUSTRIAL SUPPORT STAFF INCLUDED

THE FULL CLASS WITH SWRI ROS-INDUSTRIAL SUPPORT STAFF INCLUDED

Recap: Expanding Horizons: ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific Workshop 2017 - Singapore

The ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific Consortium (ROS-I Asia Pacific) hosted its annual workshop May 25-26 in Singapore. International, regional and local speakers discussed the importance of ROS and its capabilities. The event took place one week before the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2017), also in Singapore.

 

More than 80 participants enjoyed the two-day ROS-I Asia Pacific event, which featured exciting presentations and demonstrations of ROS-Industrial uses and product success stories. Key speakers from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), Open Robotics, and Fraunhofer IPA presented the progress over the past year since ROS-I Asia Pacific was formed through a memorandum of understanding between SwRI, the Singapore-based Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

dr. David low (ARTC CEO) kicked off the workshop.

dr. David low (ARTC CEO) kicked off the workshop.

Tully Foote (Open Robotics) presented on going developments with ROS and ROS2.

Tully Foote (Open Robotics) presented on going developments with ROS and ROS2.

The workshop highlighted various industries using ROS and ROS-Industrial to support their robotic software needs. Examples included Robonaut 2 on the International Space Centre (NASA), GUI interfacing with HiWIN (PPM AS), Food handling (Blue WorkForce Robotics) and other manufacturing topics.

Many presented ROS and ROS-Industrial applications and uses in their own products. Sponsored by ABB, guests were treated to an abundance of networking opportunities during tea and lunch breaks.

Dr. Kimberly hambuchen (NASA JSC) presented ROS use in NASA at Johnson space centre

Dr. Kimberly hambuchen (NASA JSC) presented ROS use in NASA at Johnson space centre

Technology discussions on “ROS 2.0 Challenges” with Tully Foote (Open Robotics) and “ROS-Industrial Road Mapping” with Paul Evans (SwRI) allowed participants to highlight current industrial requirements and gaps in order for the consortium to distinguish key areas of focus.

Products showcasing ROS-Industrial use by MiR ApS, Blue WorkForce, and PPM AS were on display.

Various ROS-Industrial packages such as Scan-N-Plan,, PackML, motion planning, advanced 2Dvision, and 3D-point cloud sensor processing were demonstrated on robots by ABB, Fanuc industrial, UR10, Kuka, and Sawyer collaborative robots.

To learn more about the ROS-I Asia Pacific Consortium please visit the Join Now page.

Overall presentation videos will be uploaded shortly.


Day 1 - 25th May 2017

9:30am ROS Industrial Asia Pacific Consortium
Min Ling Chan, ROS-I AP Consortium Slides

10:00am ROS-I Consortium Americas Update - highlighting 2016 accomplishments and future direction
Paul Evans, SwRI Slides

10:50am Looking forward to ROS2
Tully Foote, Open Robotics Slides

11:20am An Innovative Robotics Platform for Simplifying and Accelerating Deployments in the Food Industry
Hai Chang, Blue Workforce Robotics (Asia Pacific) Slides

11:50am Automatic transportation of carts using a Hook
Niels Jacobsen, Mobile Industrial Robots Slides

12:20pm Lunch + Workshop Group Photo + Exhibition and Demonstrations

2:30 pm National Robotics Strategy for Singapore
Rayner Ng, NRPO Slides

2:45pm Multi-platform Digital Twins for Cobots
Dr. Steve Kerrison, ARTC Slides

3:00pm Coffee Break

3:30pm Singapore’s Industrial Robotics Program
Dr. Marcello Ang, NUS Slides

4:00pm ROS Technical Roadmapping Breakout Sessions
1) Challenges with ROS
Facilitators: Tully Foote (OR), Min Ling Chan (ARTC)
2) ROS-Industrial Roadmap and focus points
Facilitators Paul Evans (SwRI), Nicholas Yeo (ARTC)

5:00pm Wrap up
Nicholas Yeo, ARTC

6:00pm Networking Dinner at Spruce Restaurant

Day 2 - 26th May 2017

9:00am ROS-Industrial: Strength in numbers for automation
Dr. Mirko Bordignon, Fraunhofer IPA Slides

9:30am ROS and NASA
Dr. Kimberly Hambuchen, NASA Johnson Space Centre Slides

10:00am Development of Warehouse Robots for Efficient Flow of Various Materials
Dr. Toshio Moriya, Hitachi

10:30am Coffee Break

10:50am The power of the GUI in robot programming and –operation
Trygve Thomessen and Laszlo Nagy, PPM AS Slides

11:20am ROS for Mobile Robotics
Asadollah Norouzi, Singapore Polytechnic Slides

11:50am Visual Marker-Guided Mobile Robot Solution for Automated Item Picking in a Warehouse
Reeve Chong, NTU Slides

12:20pm Lunch
1:00pm Exhibition / Demonstration
2:00pm Lightning Talks

2:30pm Virtual Fort Knox - an open cloud platform for smart manufacturing
Christian Henkel, Fraunhofer IPA Slides

ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific Workshop

The ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific Workshop starts soon on 25 May 2017. It is going to be a great event with an exciting line-up of guest speakers. Also included will be demonstrations and an exhibition showcasing ROS-Industrial capabilities. For those that have registered we will see at the event.

Be sure to check out the event flyer. International and Regional speakers include:

  • Paul Evans, Director, Manufacturing Technologies, SwRI
  • Tully Foote, ROS Platform Manager, OSRF
  • Dr Kimberly Hambuchen, Human Robotic Systems Deputy Project Manager, NASA Johnson Space Centre
  • Dr Mirko Bordignon, ROS-Industrial Europe Program Manager, Fraunhofer IPA
  • Dr Toshio Moriya, Senior Chief Researcher, Center for Technology Innovation, Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd
  • Hai Chang, Blue Workforce Robotics (Asia Pacific)
  • Niels Jacobsen, CTO, MiR
  • Prof Trygve Thomessen, PPM AS
  • Rayner Ng, Director, National Robotics Programme (NRP), A*STAR, Singapore
  • Dr Marcello Ang, Ag Director, Advanced Robotics Centre, National University Singapore

For more information on attending: https://www.eventbrite.sg/e/ros-industrial-expanding-horizons-with-ros-industrial-in-asia-pacific-tickets-34229406075

Global ROS-I Community Meeting

Thanks to our presenters, Paul Evans (host), Paul Hvass, Matt Robinson, Min Ling Chan, Dave Coleman, and Mirko Bordignon for an informative session on ROS-Industrial projects seeking community involvement.  This web meeting, held on 16 May 2017, is the second Global ROS-I Community Web Meeting. Scroll down below the video for abstracts.

Recording of the Global ROS-I Community meeting held on 16 May, 2017

  • Paul Evans (ROS-Industrial Americas and SwRI): Welcome and review of the agenda.  The Global Community Web Meeting focused on open source projects seeking broader community participation.
     
  • Paul Hvass (PlusOne Robotics): Outgoing ROS-I Americas Program Manager message to the community and introduction of incoming ROS-I Americas Program Manager.
     
  • Matt Robinson (Transitioning to ROS-Industrial/SwRI): Incoming ROS-I Americas Program Manager greeting to the community.
     
  • Min Ling Chan (ROS-Industrial Asia Pacific and A*STAR): PackML Business Analytics Dashboard
    • Highlighted a PackML (Packaging Machine Language) project focused on creating an ability to run ROS across multiple OEM PLCs for manufacturing plants for communication between PLCs, increased interoperability, modularity, and efficiency.  Proposed is a new Business Analytics Dashboard to provide users an intuitive display of the real-time root cause analysis and OEE.
  • Paul Hvass (PlusOne Robotics): Sensor Configuration and Calibration Assistant
    • Presented a project to create a graphical user interface for the industrial calibration package with preset configurations for the most common calibration cases to simplify the calibration process.
  • Dave Coleman (PickNik): MoveIt! Code Sprint – Minimum Cycle Time Motion for Bin Picking
    • Introduced the MoveIt! Code Sprint focused on integrating existing academic motion planners into MoveIt! that have the potential to improve cycle time, optimize existing planners, and systematically compare performance for industrial use cases.
  • Mirko Bordignon (ROS-Industrial Europe and Fraunhofer IPA): The ROSIN Project
    • Provided an overview of the new ROSIN European initiative.  ROSIN was launched to bring ROS to the factory floor with a focus on improving software quality.  Included is a targeted investment for ROS-Industrial Focused Technical Projects.  Educational activities are included as a key component of the initiative to support wider adoption.

Q&A Session with Incoming ROS-Industrial Americas Program Manager

Submitted by Paul Evans, Southwest Research Institute and ROS-Industrial

Last month, in an email blast to the community, we shared the exciting news that Matt Robinson will be joining SwRI to lead the ROS-Industrial Americas open source program as Paul Hvass moves on to a new startup company.  Matt has a passion for ROS-Industrial and a vision for how to address a variety of advanced manufacturing topics and technologies.  I recently visited with Matt and want to share some of the highlights, via a question and answer format. 

Q: When did you first become interested in a career in advanced manufacturing and robotics?

A: During a facility launch project during my time at Caterpillar, we had the chance to introduce automation into this new plant. There were challenges around high mix, variation management, and quality expectations that seemed difficult to manage the costs using a manual process, but certainly hills to climb with automation. The automation that was implemented definitely enabled us to realize our goals, but it dawned on me there was a lot left to be desired when it comes to capability and getting these solutions to perform as desired in an efficient manner. This began a journey for me, to not just seek to implement and leverage automated solutions, but to continuously push the envelope on capability.

Q: What value did you see in the ROS-Industrial open source program that drew you to explore using it for real-world manufacturing applications?

A: The extensibility and capability. Leveraging perception to drive process and build on that intelligence to execute and manage processes. Scan-N-Plan is a great example of capability that is driving the opportunity to process in a new and exciting way. 

The extensibility is key in both the make of the robot that can be utilized as well as the vintage. For some companies, where every brand can occur at a site, and at times they can be a few generations old, this is key in realizing maximum value out of existing assets.

Q: As you reflect on the progress of ROS-Industrial over the course of the past five years, what are two or three of the core components of the program that you believe have had the most impact for industry?

A: The ability to deliver more advanced capability over traditional industrial hardware. This may be trivial, but when you can leverage something that is familiar to do something novel, that goes a long way into building acceptance and confidence. Another component that is impactful, in my view, is the industry roadmapping approach to the program. This is key to build around the core problems of industry and then allow technology development to evolve around these core challenges. This sets a sustainable path and enables prioritization to ensure solutions are developed that are meaningful and have a chance to be adopted and matured through vetting in real factory conditions.

Q: The ROS-Industrial Consortium is now global and 50 members strong. Can you share some thoughts about where you would like to see the ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas accomplish next?

A: The diversity of the Consortium is exciting and a true asset to its health. I would like to see more integrators become engaged and excited to pull the capabilities into their solution sets. Ideally this becomes a vehicle to refine further solutions and provide a more direct service model for deployed solutions. I’m curious to collect more feedback from these deployers to our industry end-users to understand more about their concerns, road blocks, and needs.

I also would like to think more about how we prove industry ready. The blending milestones have been interesting in this regard, having been involved in two of the Blending Focused Technical Projects. The feedback from the integrator regarding the readiness for use in one of their delivered solutions was eye opening, and it drives a lot of thought around how can we ensure capabilities are as ready as can be, to be adopted, molded, and essentially “ready for deployment.”  This is a key challenge that I’m personally excited to work on developing.

Thank you, Matt, for your Q&A. We are excited about the next leg of our journey.

Once Matt is fully settled in his new role, he plans on posting a note to the community with his contact information and some highlights of upcoming events.  We are excited to have Matt join Mirko Bordignon (ROS-I Europe) and Min Ling Chan (ROS-I Asia Pacific) on the leadership team.  We value his strong manufacturing roots and his commitment to keep the initiative focused on capabilities, tools, and applications that will be strategic for industry adoption.

If you have any questions regarding this blog post you may contact Paul Evans at paul.evans <at> swri.org.

Recap: Successful ROS-I Consortium Americas Meeting in Chicago

On April 7, the ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas hosted its annual meeting in Chicago following on the heels of the Automate show. The meeting brought together more than 60 people from across the industrial robotics industry to learn about, discuss, and plan for the future of open source software for manufacturing automation. The Consortium is now a world-wide organization led by SwRI in the Americas, Fraunhofer IPA in Europe, and A*STAR ARTC in the Asia Pacific region.

The annual meeting demarked a number of milestones for ROS-I:

The ROS-I Consortium Americas meeting brought together representatives from across industry including end users, system integrators, robot OEMs, automation equipment OEMs, and researchers.

The ROS-I Consortium Americas meeting brought together representatives from across industry including end users, system integrators, robot OEMs, automation equipment OEMs, and researchers.

The Open Source Robotics Foundation was represented by Tully Foote who took questions during an open mic session, and also led a round table roadmapping discussion about ROS/ROS 2 core.

The Open Source Robotics Foundation was represented by Tully Foote who took questions during an open mic session, and also led a round table roadmapping discussion about ROS/ROS 2 core.

Matthew Robinson from Caterpillar gave an inspiring keynote presentation on the topic of Flexible Automation for Manufacturing in Heavy Industries.

Matthew Robinson from Caterpillar gave an inspiring keynote presentation on the topic of Flexible Automation for Manufacturing in Heavy Industries.

The ROS-I Consortium is global! Each regional program manager presented an update about the progress and future plans for his/her region. Left to right: Min Ling Chan from RIC-Asia Pacific, Dr. Mirko Bordignon from RIC-Europe, and Paul Hvass from RIC-Americas.

The ROS-I Consortium is global! Each regional program manager presented an update about the progress and future plans for his/her region. Left to right: Min Ling Chan from RIC-Asia Pacific, Dr. Mirko Bordignon from RIC-Europe, and Paul Hvass from RIC-Americas.

During the afternoon session, Consortium members organized into groups to discuss specific technical roadmapping thrusts. 

During the afternoon session, Consortium members organized into groups to discuss specific technical roadmapping thrusts. 

Meeting attendees also met with Focused Technical Project moderators to talk about one of the five new project topics that were introduced for 2017.

Meeting attendees also met with Focused Technical Project moderators to talk about one of the five new project topics that were introduced for 2017.

One of the chief benefits of the Consortium is the ability of members to sponsor Focused Technical Projects. These projects expand the capabilities of ROS-I and costs are shared by participating members so their resources are multiplied by their collaborators. This year, five project topics were announced and then discussed in a round table forum:

  • Collaborative Robotic Fastener Installation
  • Sensor Configuration and Calibration Assistant
  • MoveIt! Code Sprint
  • ROS-I Business Analytics Dashboard
  • Robotic Edge Processing

To learn more about the ROS-I Consortium, please visit the Join Now page.

Call for Videos for ROS-I and MoveIt! Montages

Southwest Research Institute is providing video editing services to create two separate video montages celebrating the anniversary of two respective ROS-based open source projects. Please visit the video submission page to upload your video for one of the following montages:

  • ROS-Industrial (i.e. factory or manufacturing applications of ROS)
  • MoveIt! (i.e. motion planning examples regardless of application/market)

Deadline: 28 March, 2017

Some guidelines for all video submissions:

  • No cost for submission
  • You will receive a link to upload upon submission of the form below
  • Please name your files like this: John_Doe_Company_Name_1.mp4, John_Doe_Company_Name_2.mp4, etc.
  • Any number of clips can be uploaded per person/organization
  • Videos must be full HD quality or better to be used
  • Portable device video must have adequate lighting and stabilization
  • We prefer raw video that is not covered with text. borders, etc.
  • We request that something interesting happens in 5 seconds or less, otherwise we reserve the right to accelerate the frame rate
  • We interpret this submission as your consent to use your clip for this singular purpose. We will contact you if other use cases are desired.
  • Don't forget to provide attribution/credit for all parties/collaborators involved in creating your video
  • Use abbreviations for attributions/credits when possible to avoid line wrap
  • If we are blessed to receive more submissions than we can fit in a short 2-3 min video, we will use the following criteria to select from among the available clips:
  • Video quality (stable, in-focus, well-lit)
  • Hardware diversity (robot/sensor brand variation among the ensemble of clips)
  • Originality
  • Professionalism (less duct tape, higher TRL)

Road Map for ROS-Industrial

One of the purposes of the ROS-Industrial Consortium is to generate and maintain the technical road map for ROS-Industrial. This effort started in earnest in 2014 using a process that roughly follows the Sandia National Lab Fundamentals of Roadmapping technique. In summary, the steps include:

  1. Define the scope and participants
  2. Create a common vision for the product/technology
  3. Identify stakeholder requirements
  4. Define technology areas
  5. Identify alternatives and gaps
  6. Recommend path(s) forward
  7. Evaluate roadmap
  8. Develop implementation plans

The participants in the roadmapping were members of the ROS-Industrial Consortium who are typically involved in manufacturing on a daily basis. The Vision for ROS-Industrial (step 2) is to provide an open and flexible framework for manufacturing automation development that:

  • Supports advanced robotics capabilities for manufacturing
  • Standardizes interfaces for cross-platform compatibility
  • Modularizes and scales components to larger systems
  • Enables a collaborative development environment
  • Develops the workforce through training curriculum and hands-on classes
  • Transfers technology and reduces implementation costs via open source license
  • Advances manufacturing productivity
  • Improves worker well being

To identify stakeholder requirements for the technology (step 3), we began by collecting example high-priority present and future robotic automation use cases that needed advanced software to enable them. From there we worked backwards, reverse engineering each application to enumerate the technical building blocks that would be needed to assemble a solution (refer to the Mobile Material Handling example below).

Example decomposition of building blocks for the mobile material handling application.

Example decomposition of building blocks for the mobile material handling application.

We then looked for commonality among those building blocks as a means to define technology areas (step 4) and to prioritize them (below).

Technology areas identified 

Technology areas identified 

The resultant roadmap document identifies alternatives and gaps for each technology area and makes recommendations (steps 5-6). To visualize the roadmap, we presented the data as a traditional timeline (refer to picture below). And while we've made progress in most of the anticipated areas, it is not possible to guarantee specific progress without a similarly guaranteed budget.

In 2016, after receiving additional input from our international collaborators and new members, we sought to refresh this roadmap, and generated the attached infographic to blend the technology areas with the arrow of time in a single graphic (below). Technical thrusts are arranged vertically in order of priority (foundational capabilities starting at the bottom, and ascending toward higher-complexity and/or dependent goals near the top). We also added the orthogonal axis with software quality and reliability characteristics to indicate cross-cutting goals for all capabilities. In early 2017, this vision for ROS-I infographic was ratified by a vote of our Consortium Advisory Committee.

ROS-I Consortium Annual Meeting to Feature Eight Noted Speakers

Meeting to be held April 7 in Chicago

  • Keynote speaker Matthew Robinson, Caterpillar
  • Brett Hemes, 3M
  • Trent Weiss, The Boeing Company
  • Dr. Steve Turek, Manufacturing USA
  • Tully Foote, OSRF
  • Min Ling Chan, ARTC
  • Mirko Bordignon, Fraunhofer IPA
  • Paul Hvass, SwRI
Click the image above to download a printable flier for the ROS-I Consortium Americas Annual Meeting.

Click the image above to download a printable flier for the ROS-I Consortium Americas Annual Meeting.

Recap: Successful ROS-I Kinetic Training Class - Curriculum Available

The ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas hosted a ROS-Industrial Developers Training Class February 13-15, 2017, at SwRI located in San Antonio, Texas. A diverse set of organizations including Air Force Research Lab, The Boeing Company, Caterpillar, National Research Council Canada, SwRI, The University of Texas at Austin, and Yaskawa America Inc. Motoman Robotics Division were represented by 17 attendees. The three-day class was geared toward individuals with a C++ programming background who sought to learn to compose their own ROS nodes.

  • Day 1 focused on introductory ROS skills.
  • Day 2, the class examined motion planning using MoveIt! as well as using the Descartes path planner.
  • Day 3 included an introduction to perception and culminated with lab programming exercises (with a choice of): Pick-and-Place Application, Descartes Application.

Many thanks to Jeremy Zoss and Levi Armstrong who led the training class. Additional thanks to Austin Deric, Jonathan Meyer, and Geoffrey Chiou who updated the training curriculum to ROS Kinetic. The training curriculum is open-source and available here.

For more details about this class, see the event page.

If you are interested in attending the next class, keep an eye on this event page.

ROS Testing, Continuous Integration, and Deployment RIC Web Meeting

From time to time the ROS-Industrial Consortia hold focused meetings based on member interests and requests.  We recently held such a meeting on 1/31/17 to discuss testing, continuous integration, and deployment.  The meeting brought experts from the ROS community to present on tools and best practices for developing and deploying production systems that are built on ROS.  Specific presentations included:

  • Tully Foote  (OSRF) - Continuous integration and Test on the ROS Build Farm
  • Isaac Saito (TORK) - ROS-Industrial CI
  • Phillip Reed (SwRI) - Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Deployment
  • Jeremy Adams (Intelligrated) - Lightning Talk - Using Mocks and Fakes in ROS
  • Florian Weißhardt  (Fraunhofer IPA) - Lightning Talk - Automated Test Framework – Testing Applications in ROS

The purpose of the meeting was to inform ROS users about existing options and encourage further discussions within the ROS community on topics related to testing, CI, and deployment. These discussions will continue on ROS Discourse.