Upcoming ROS-I Events

The ROS-Industrial team is pleased to present its schedule of events for the upcoming year (below). Please refer to the events page for details as they become available.

Date Host Event Location
Oct. 21, 2015 RIC-EU ROS-I Developers Training Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany
Oct. 31, 2015 TU Delft CAD to ROS Workbench Milestone 1 Launch (Anticipated)  
Oct. 31, 2015 RIC-Americas Deadline for FTP Sign-up: Robotic Blending Mi. 4  
Nov. 16-18, 2015  RIC-Americas, SVR, Flex ROS-I Developers Training Flex, Milpitas CA, USA
Dec. 4, 2015 RIC-Americas RIC Roadmapping Meeting WebMeeting
Dec. 14, 2015 RIC-Americas ROS-I Community Meeting RoboUniverse in San Diego, CA, also WebMeeting
Dec. 15-16, 2015 RIC-Americas ROS-I Booth, Presenter Panel RoboUniverse in San Diego, CA
Dec. 15, 2015, 2:15 PM RIC-Americas Presentation Panel: 3D Sensing for Industrial Robotics RoboUniverse in San Diego, CA
Jan. 7-8, 2016 RIC-EU RIC-EU Meeting Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany
Jan. 8, 2016 RIC-EU RIC Roadmapping Meeting WebMeeting
Jan. 31, 2016 RIC-Americas Deadline for FTP Sign-up: 5D Slicer for Robotic 3D Printing  
Jan. 31, 2016 RIC-EU Deadline for FTP Sign-up: CAD to ROS Workbench Mi. 2  
Feb. 9, 2016 RIC-Americas RIC Roadmapping Meeting WebMeeting
Mar. 3, 2016 RIC-Americas RIC-Americas Annual Meeting SwRI, San Antonio, TX, USA
Mar. 21-23, 2016 RIC-EU ROS-I Presentation European Robotics Forum, in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Apr. 6-8, 2016 RIC-Americas ROS-I Developers Training Class SwRI, San Antonio, TX USA
Apr. 15, 2016 TBD (Tentative) ROS-I Workshop - Asia Region TBD
Apr. 20, 2016 RIC-EU ROS-I Developers Training Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany
Apr. 30, 2016 RIC Deadline for FTP Sign-up: Topic TBD Americas, Europe
May 16-21, 2016 RIC-EU ROS-I Community Meeting ICRA, Stockholm, Sweden
May 16-21, 2016 Amazon Amazon Picking Challenge (Anticipated) ICRA, Stockholm, Sweden
Jun. 1-3, 2016 RIC-EU RIC-EU Meeting RoboBusiness Europe, Odense, Denmark
Jun. 8, 2016 RIC-EU ROS-I Conference Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany
Jun. 21-24, 2016 RIC-EU TBD Automatica Trade Fair, Munich, Germany
Sept. 12-17 RIC-Americas TBD IMTS 2016, Chicago, USA
Nov. 6-9, 2016 RIC-Americas ROS-I Booth Pack Expo International, Chicago, USA

STOMP for Indigo Presentation from the MoveIt! Community Meeting

We are grateful to Sachin Chitta for hosting the inaugural MoveIt! community meeting on September 3, 2015. During the meeting, Jorge Nicho, an SwRI ROS-Industrial team member, presented his work updating the Stochastic Trajectory OptiMization Planner (STOMP) for use in the Indigo release of MoveIt! (refer to the video below). STOMP is particularly useful for generating well behaved smooth collision-free motion plans in reasonable time.

Advanced Simulation of ROS in Process Simulate

Submitted by Mr. Moshe Schwimmer, Product Lifecycle Management, Siemens Digital Factory

Siemens PLM Software is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software. These PLM solutions can help make smarter decisions that lead to better products.

Since my last post from December 2014, featuring our R2-D2 and the maze using ROS and Process Simulate, we continued to explore ROS and the world of new, advanced and open source industrial robotics.

In this post you'll find a demo (below) of a simulated hybrid industrial environment that I presented recently at both the yearly ROS-Industrial Americas meeting and the ROS-Industrial conference in Europe. It includes ROS-operated robots, classical robots (programmed by Process Simulate), a simulated human, and equipment.

In the demo, I use Process Simulate to create an environment with both the UR robot which is operated directly by ROS and a KUKA robot, operated by Process Simulate. You'll see a simulated human and other equipment in use as well, and everything is synchronized by Process Simulate’s simulated PLCs.

As you'll see in the demo, the UR robot picks boxes from a conveyor and moves them to the right container, according to color. The color is determined by the OpenCV package, which is loaded by ROS. Once a container is full, The KUKA robot picks it up and moves it to the removal area for the simulated human to take it away.

The simulation uses proximity, light, and vision sensors to provide information that is gathered in Process Simulate. Some of it is processed locally and some of it is sent in real time, on each time interval, to the ROS environment.

In the ROS environment, the only thing which is modeled is the UR robot. The ROS-controlled robot uses OpenCV and MoveIT packages to understand its surroundings and plan its path. ROS will send the information regarding the next location of the robot to Process Simulate on each time interval.

The step forward, represented by the demo, is the collaboration between ROS packages and the Process Simulate environment, including use of simulated industrial robotics and equipment.

On a related note, I'd also like to let you know about our Frontier Partner program:

The Frontier Partner program grants leading robotics-focused startups developer licenses for a broad range of Siemens’ PLM software (including Process Simulate), access to its technology partner program, and other development resources. Siemens is looking for partners with new approaches in robotics simulation, motion planning, robot interoperability, deployment and optimization in the field of industrial robotics, and especially startups that are developing on ROS.

More details can be found here: https://www.frontier.spigit.com/Page/Robotics

If you are looking to share interesting view points, use cases and environment challenges which are related to ROS-I, contact me at: moshe.schwimmer (at sign) siemens.com

Additional references:

Scan-N-Plan for Robotic Blending Milestone 3

A team of developers from Southwest Research Institute, The Boeing Company, Caterpillar, Wolf Robotics, and TU Delft have recently completed the third milestone of the Scan-N-Plan for Robotic Blending Focused Technical Project. Sponsors for this milestone include The Boeing Company and Caterpillar, Inc.

Scan-N-Plan technologies are a suite of open-source software tools that enables automated process-planning and execution based on 3-D scan data. The Robotic Blending project is focused on bringing these Scan-N-Plan capabilities to the world of surface finishing.

In many factories today, a part fresh from a CNC machine will require a manual post-processing step to ensure that the surface is sufficiently smooth to eliminate fatigue crack growth factors and/or to prepare the surface for painting. The physical labor of smoothing the surface is frequently accomplished using hand-held power tools and these actions, over time, can cause repetitive stress injuries. Robotic automation is a desirable alternative, but programming for each unique part's geometry and surface defects is not cost effective.

The goal of the Robotic Blending project is to allow an operator to place a part requiring surface processing into a robot work cell and have the robot automatically generate a plan and execute it. Using a simple 4-button software interface, the operator follows a step-by-step procedure to scan, preview, blend, and inspect a part in only a few minutes (see the video). The operator's only input to the system is to instruct the robot where to look for parts, what surfaces should be processed, and to give approval to the generated process plans. An administrator menu is also provided to adjust process parameters (e.g. feeds, speeds, tool geometry, QA tolerances, etc.).

The current system can process flat surfaces at arbitrary, but reachable, position and orientation. Process path generation and robot trajectory planning is very fast: roughly one second per surface. Milestone 3 saw the inclusion of a vastly improved user interface (including the operator interface mentioned previously), an improved laser scanner driver, adjustable process parameters, new support for ABB robots, and robot simulations/previews. In addition, demonstrations of the Milestone 3 software were independently and successfully performed at Boeing and Caterpillar facilities (on different robots) the week of July 27, 2015.

The next milestone will expand the capabilities of the system to deal with more complex/non-flat parts, to perfect the blending process, and to "close the loop" between the QA scoring and process planning by reworking the part until it objectively meets a given quality metric.

Special thanks to the following software developers who contributed to this milestone:

  • Adam Clark - Boeing
  • Chris Sketch - Caterpillar
  • Gijs van der Hoorn - TU Delft
  • Jonathan Meyer - SwRI
  • Matthew West - Caterpillar
  • Zach Bennett - Wolf Robotics

3D Automatic Path Planning for Surface Machining

Most robot controllers cannot process large and complex data such as point clouds or meshes. Because of this limitation, it is not possible to automatically generate complex paths on surfaces using a robot controller. The Institut Maupertuis decided to create a ROS library that automatically plans complex paths on 3D surfaces. The aim of the Bezier project is to provide a simple, yet generic, library for this purpose. It heavily relies on the Point Cloud Library (PCL) and VTK to generate robot poses. The capability to generate variable height passes (instead of fixed height planar passes) on complex surfaces is key. At the moment the library is oriented towards milling applications. However we expect it can be utilized in other processes as well.

The planning method requires only input meshes (raw, CAD), tool parameters (height of pass, width) to generate a full 3D robot trajectory. The project was initiated in March 2015 and a first version was released publicly in July; the Institut Maupertuis demoed an automatic machining application on polystyrene using the Bezier library:

The library is in heavy development and every contribution and/or bug report is welcome. For more information about this project please visit the Bezier repository. To understand how Bezier works, please visit the documentation.

Announcing PROFINET Support

Hardware interfaces are particularly important for any future integration of ROS-Industrial with production systems. With already existing EtherCat (maintained by Intermodalics) and CanOpen (maintainted by Fraunhofer IPA) networks, we are happy to announce support for PROFINET, as one of the most widely used fieldbuses in automation world.

PROFINET, an open automation standard and part of IEC 61158 is not only fully compatible with all the features of standard Ethernet, but it is also capable of real-time performance. It enables high-speed data exchange for the entire range of automation applications. PROFINET uses three communication services (Standard TCP/IP, Real Time, Isochronous Real Time), which can be used simultaneously, allowing transfers of both input/output data within submilisecond cycle times. To access all the features of PROFINET, use of specialized hardware is necessary. There are various PROFINET PCI cards on the market. We decided on the communication processor CP1616 from Siemens, since it provides not only Linux compatible drivers, but support for IO Controller/IO Device modes. This allows ROS-Industrial to work as both - a master or a slave on PROFINET network.

The goal of current development is to define a ROS-PROFINET abstraction layer and provide a specific implementation for the CP1616. The package release date is targeted for September.

Special thanks to the Google Summer of Code program for supporting this effort. Additional thanks to Siemens for technical support. Software development is ongoing and can be found in the ROS-Industrial Siemens experimental repo.

Company Spotlight: HumaRobotics

If you follow ROS-related news you probably noticed that packages were contributed back in May to interface ROS systems to the Cognex In-Sight camera and to Siemens S7 PLCs via Modbus TCP communication. Generation Robots, the company behind these contributions, is in fact not new to ROS development, as its CEO Jérôme Laplace told us.

Generation Robots' R&D branch HumaRobotics worked over the years with ROS on platforms such as NAO from Aldebaran, Baxter from Rethink Robotics, Q.bo from Thecorpora and DARwIn-OP / DARwIn-Mini from Robotis. Their staff of cognitive science PhDs and robotics engineers provides ROS-based solutions both on real robots and during simulation. For example, the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) has sought their expertise on the DARwIn-OP and PhantomX robots for usage in inspection, radioactive material handling and disaster relief scenarios. An outcome of this collaboration has been to provide the community with simulation packages for both robots in the Gazebo simulator, user friendly ROS APIs and custom walking algorithms.

DarWin-op gazebo model

DarWin-op gazebo model

phantomx gazebo model

phantomx gazebo model

HumaRobotics helps industrial collaborators by sharing their expertise in human-robot interaction to bring collaborative capabilities to the ROS-enabled Baxter: for instance, by enabling it with speech recognition and synthesis, adaptive dialog abilities, human posture detection and natural face-to-face interaction with an operator. They also make use of advanced machine learning techniques to provide fast and natural inverse kinematics for physical interaction between the robot and the human (tool passing, third-hand).

baxter performing an inspection task with aN ARM-mounted cognex camera

baxter performing an inspection task with aN ARM-mounted cognex camera

safe human-robot interaction with the baxter collaborative robot

safe human-robot interaction with the baxter collaborative robot

"Industrial scenarios often involve integrating robots with standard industrial devices and protocols. ROS-enabled robots do not always have such capabilities by default, but one of the strengths of ROS is how easy it can be extended with new functionalities", Laplace said. "Due to its community-driven nature and the wide range of existing functionality, ROS is really enabling fast development of advanced robotic systems".

To join HumaRobotics in the fast-growing community of ROS(-Industrial) adopters and speed up the prototyping and development of industrial robot applications, download the code. Contact ROS-I (Americas, Europe) to better understand what the ROS-Industrial Consortia can do for you!

Proposed: CAD to ROS Focused Technical Project

The ROS-Industrial Consortium is tackling a topic that is of interest to the whole ROS community: conversion of CAD data to ROS-interpretable file types (e.g. URDF, SRDF). This work will be conducted over the next three years by the TU Delft Robotics Institute. To help us make ROS even more convenient to use:

Example CAD data (left image) is converted to a URDF, which is shown in RViz (right image)

Example CAD data (left image) is converted to a URDF, which is shown in RViz (right image)

NIST/SwRI Collaborate on Open Source Software for Robotic Assembly

Over the past 6 months, the SwRI ROS-Industrial team has been executing a Cooperative Research program with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). From a manufacturing perspective, NIST’s impact is quite diverse. It includes aspects from general process improvement to specific manufacturing processes like nano-manufacturing, and of course robotics.

A core theme of the NIST-supported ROS-Industrial program is agility. That is the ability of manufacturing systems to perform a diverse set of tasks, with the built in intelligence to re-task on the fly. Agility is the perhaps the greatest unrealized promise of robotics. With the support of NIST, it is this valuable and critical aspect of robotics that ROS-Industrial aims to enable. The research effort is broken down into several sub-tasks, outline below. The tasks vary, some with immediate impact and others with more long term goals. However, they all have the common theme of enabling robotic agility.

Robot Testing and Evaluation

Testing and evaluation (T&E) are very important for both measuring and comparing the performance of complex systems. Prior collaborative work was focused on test methods for Response Robots (think robots climbing around piles of rubble). Through these efforts a standard test-suite for response robots was developed. This test-suite demonstrably pushed the state of the art in response robots. With the goal in mind of measuring and pushing the state of the art in robotic agility, SwRI is developing test methods for evaluating robots for complex tasks, such as assembly.

Peg-in-hole assembly test fixture is used to evaluate the ability of a complete robot system to perform this operations.  Metrics including, success rates, and speed of insertion are capture in order to perform meaningful comparisons between systems.

Peg-in-hole assembly test fixture is used to evaluate the ability of a complete robot system to perform this operations.  Metrics including, success rates, and speed of insertion are capture in order to perform meaningful comparisons between systems.

Dual Arm Manipulator Development

Dual arm manipulation is an exciting area of research. Such systems mimic human operations, giving robotic systems the ability to both hold an object with one arm and perform an operation with the other. With NIST support, SwRI researchers have developed ROS-Industrial Hilgendorf support software for the robot configuration shown below. The support software was open sourced to jump start dual arm manipulation research on similar setups. The Hilgendorf system configuration can be easily assembled from off the shelf components. ROS-I researchers will utilize Hilgendorf for developing dual arm applications.

A dual arm manipulator built from two UR5s and two Robotiq grippers was built.  The system allows researchers to experiment with various assembly T&E tasks.

A dual arm manipulator built from two UR5s and two Robotiq grippers was built.  The system allows researchers to experiment with various assembly T&E tasks.

Calibration Library Improvements

The ROS-Industrial Calibration Library is a powerful tool for calibrating frame transformations between multiple robots and sensors. Improvements have been made to this library to make the data collection and calibration steps more streamlined. An additional goal of this effort was to evaluate the accuracy of a system calibrated with our library. System evaluation is a key part of the NIST mission. An example system with a network consisting of 6 cameras was calibrated with the ROS-Industrial Calibration Library using a target held by a UR10 robot. The system demonstrated pose variance for each camera better than 1/4 mm and 1/10th degree.

The observations and camera pose geometry were used to predict the localization accuracy of the camera network. 

The observations and camera pose geometry were used to predict the localization accuracy of the camera network. 

The accuracy map is a slice of the working volume 0.4 meters above the table.

The accuracy map is a slice of the working volume 0.4 meters above the table.

Ontologies for Agile Planning in Manufacturing

Past (and present) robotic automation is primarily used in high volume/low variation production applications, with the acceptations being driven by safety and environmental conditions. The obstacle that steers automation away from low volume/high variation production applications is the effort associated with teaching each part. The interest is to develop an ontology structure to represent the assembly process in a way that automated planning and assembly tasks can be executed. Current literature approaches the problem in a similar way to how a child learns to perform new task. There is a low level skill set (refer to the figure below) that needs to be taught, that then can be used to complete complicated tasks. The challenge is to formulate the skill primitives in such a way that they are robot independent and have the capability to store all information necessary for the robot to execute them efficiently. In the long term, such an ontology could enable highly dynamic and generic functionality within ROS-Industrial.

Skill primitive library

Skill primitive library

Descartes Joint Trajectory Planner for Semi-Constrained Cartesian Paths

This grant also supported development of the Descartes Path Planner. Please refer to our previous post for a description and video of Descartes.


This work was conducted under NIST contract #70NANB14H226.

Descartes Joint Trajectory Planner for Semi-Constrained Cartesian Paths

Current MoveIt!/ROS path planners are focused on collision-free pick and place applications. In the typical pick and place application, the starting and goal positions and collision models are the only inputs to the planner. By contrast, many industrial applications must follow a pre-defined Cartesian path, where the path in between matters as well. Some common examples of this are blending, painting, machining, sanding, sealing, and welding. Unfortunately, solving the Cartesian path planning problem by simply applying an inverse kinematics solution results in an artificially limited solution set that doesn't take advantage of the process flexibility/tolerance allowances. In reality, Cartesian paths are typically semi-constrained. For example, in a machining application a five degree-of-freedom (DOF) path is required, where the sixth DOF, the orientation about the tool, is not defined (doesn't matter). Joint trajectory planners that fail to take advantage of these open constraints, such as inverse kinematics (IK) based planners, limit the likelihood of finding a valid solution, even though one could exist in the semi-constrained space. The Descartes planner library was initiated in Summer 2014 with NIST and ROS-Industrial Consortium Americas support to address semi-constrained Cartesian industrial processes. Descartes has already been demonstrated in a robotic routing and blending/sanding applications. Key capabilities of Descartes include, path optimization, collision avoidance, near instantaneous re-planning, and a plug-in architecture.

The Descartes library saw its first use in early 2015, and was alpha-released at the ROS-Industrial Community Meeting at ICRA 2015 on May 26, 2015. The focus of recent development has been on making the library more user friendly, better able to capture process requirements, and more computationally efficient. A recent addition with a strong impact on all of these areas is process velocity consideration. Descartes can use this extra knowledge to improve its search for the optimal process path.

At the time of the ROS-Industrial Community meeting in January, a 6DOF robot following a semi-constrained (5DOF) Cartesian path of approximately 800 points took 30 seconds to plan. Today that same path can be solved in a fraction of a second. A specific implementation for the robot blending application has seen speed increases of a factor of 1000 as compared to testing in January. Looking toward the future, Descartes will continue to see improvements to its usability and performance. Active areas of research and development include high degree of freedom ( > 7 DOF) planning for both single and dual arm configurations, and hybrid planning, where free space motions (such as those found in a pick and place application) are combined with well defined process paths.

Descartes documentation can be found at the ROS wiki. For working examples, please refer to the Descartes tutorials and ROS-I Training Session 4.

Recap: ROS-Industrial Conference at Fraunhofer IPA

The ROS-Industrial Conference is a great chance for the ROS-Industrial Community to gather, exchange experiences, and discuss future developments. This year's edition was no exception, with 50 participants coming from Europe, Israel, and the US.

During the four sessions, the attendees were given presentations on new developments bridging ROS and other industry-grade software; porting it to real time embedded platforms; and instantiating it within broader development environments. The talks on technology development were complemented by an update on the activities of the ROS-Industrial Consortium Europe and by presentations on non-functional aspects like safety and security as well as the role of open-source licensing. A session on applications of ROS technology in manufacturing scenarios and in new product development concluded the day.

In addition to the usual conference-style presentations, attendees enjoyed a networking lunch and a lab tour at Fraunhofer IPA, with a showcase of its activities in service, industrial, and mobile robotics.

We would like to thank all the participants, and we look forward to next year in Stuttgart for the 4th edition of the ROS-Industrial Conference!

Company spotlight: Magazino GmbH

More and more startups are using ROS in their products, showing that ROS is the way to go for fast product design and development. And as the coordinators of the ROS-Industrial effort, we are happy to have an increasing community of users pushing the boundaries of what the Robot Operating System and its industrial incarnation can do!

Magazino GmbH is a "ROS success story". Based in Munich, Germany, the people at Magazino develop and build robotic solutions to logistic problems. The products that they are rolling out right now or that are in the pipeline for release soon include pick and place stations and mobile grasping systems like Kado and Toru, and their automated dispensing system for pharmacies Maru, which is currently being commissioned in Germany.

As Magazino's CEO Frederik Brantner told us during an invited presentation at the last RIC-EU Meeting, "with ROS we were able to go from idea to product within one year". Considering the startup-size of the development team and the complexity of the product (a "microWarehouse", as it was affectionately dubbed), this is a pretty amazing demonstration of what we mean by fast application development!

If you are a ROS developer fancying to move to Munich you can actually help Magazino pursue its goal of revolutionizing the logistics market, since Frederik anticipates substantial growth for their development team this year. So if you are interested please take a look at their job openings (german version available as well) and get in touch with them!

Software development lead Nikolas Engelhard will give a presentation on the topic at the 3rd ROS-Industrial Conference held at Fraunhofer IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, on June 9. A number of other interesting presentations on ROS usage in industry will be given. You can still register and attend the conference. Thanks for reading and happy product development with ROS-Industrial! If you have questions or would like to receive further information please feel free to contact us.

Recap: ROS-I Developers Training Class in Peoria

Spring training classes for ROS-Industrial gave participants an opportunity to learn new skills through hands-on training. The ROS-Industrial Developers’ Training Class was held April 29 - May 2, 2015, in Peoria, Illinois in collaboration with Caterpillar Inc. The training started with a tour of a Caterpillar manufacturing plant where the participants were able to see the assembly of several types of Caterpillar tractors.

For the first time, SwRI prepared an advanced track curriculum to go alongside the Basic Track (full agenda). On April 30 the class of 40 split into two groups; the basic track reviewed ROS packages, parameters, topics, messages, launch files and URDF's while the advanced track reviewed and implemented the Industrial Calibration Library and a snippet of OpenCV code. The rest of training took developers through foundational robot manipulation (with an introduction to the Descartes path planner) and perception leading to a multi-option lab day. The lessons for each session for both advanced and basic tracks can be found here. We had participants from ABB, Alpha Automation, Boeing, CAT, GE, HDT Robotics, IDEXX, John Deere, Northwestern University, Siemens, UT Austin NRG, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Vetex, Vizient, and Wolf Robotics. Check out pictures from the classes below.

We would like to thank Caterpillar for their help in coordinating the tour, providing transportation, arranging the training location(s), and overall support of the ROS-I training. Special thanks goes out to Matt Robinson and John Sherman for their roles in leading the coordination effort.

In addition, thanks to Jeremy Zoss, Chris Lewis and Jorge Nicho from SwRI for serving as knowledgeable and supportive instructors for this year's training.

 MOST OF THE GROUP ENJOYING DINNER IN THE Two25 Restaurant in the mark twain hotel.

 MOST OF THE GROUP ENJOYING DINNER IN THE Two25 Restaurant in the mark twain hotel.

Advanced track class with cameras and robot setup for extrinsic calibration

Advanced track class with cameras and robot setup for extrinsic calibration

Combined tracks for Friday Sessions in caterpillars beautiful visitors center

Combined tracks for Friday Sessions in caterpillars beautiful visitors center

Interactive lab day where participants could use moveit with the ur5's or work on descartes with the ur5 or work on a perception lab or a virtual pick and place application

Interactive lab day where participants could use moveit with the ur5's or work on descartes with the ur5 or work on a perception lab or a virtual pick and place application

RIC-Europe Meeting Recap



Thanks to all the participants who attended our annual meeting on April 28! A number of member institution representatives gathered in Milan, Italy, to review last year's activities and discuss current and future initiatives. The ROS-I Consortium Europe is preparing to launch joint efforts in a number of areas ranging from simulation improvements to support for video compression, so consider joining us in order to achieve faster development results through our FTP mechanism. Learn more about RIC-EU's activities during the upcoming 2015 ROS-Industrial Conference which will take place June 9, 2015, on Fraunhofer's premises in Stuttgart, Germany.

ROS Driver for the IFM Efector O3D303

Submitted by: Tom Panzarella, Love Park Robotics, LLC

Love Park Robotics has taken part in an early beta test of the new IFM Efector O3D303 3D camera system. This sensor was officially released in Germany on April 13, 2015. The O3D303 is a time-of-flight sensor, specifically designed for use in industrial environments and automation applications. The 176x132 element detector features a relative accuracy of +/-4mm. In addition to the robust design, it is able to operate in illumination conditions ranging from complete darkness to sunlight. It is also affordable, at a per-unit cost of $1250 USD. A picture of the O3D303 is shown below along with a point cloud of an imaged pallet (taken in an office environment) to highlight the quality of the sensor data.


As part of our beta test period, Love Park Robotics developed a software interface to the O3D303 that allows us to utilize the sensor within software frameworks such as PCL, OpenCV, and ROS. This code has been made available as open-source on Github in the following repositories: libo3d3xx and o3d3xx-ros. Additionally, we are working with the ROS Industrial community to make binary debian packages available as part of the core ROS and ROS-I distributions.

As mentioned above, the software is split across two separate repositories. libo3d3xx is the core C++ interface to the hardware making the 3D data available as a PCL point cloud and the depth, confidence, and amplitude images available as OpenCV images. o3d3xx-ros is a ROS wrapper around libo3d3xx making it convenient to launch the camera as a node that will participate in a larger ROS computation graph making the data available on published topics and exposing services to configure and introspect the camera settings. The reason we split the code across two distinct projects is in recognition of the fact that not all users of the O3D303 will be operating within a ROS environment yet they will likely want to take advantage of the state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms available in PCL and OpenCV. We expect that this separation of concerns will also make the code easier to maintain and port to new platforms. The Github repositories have much more technical information available that you can use to get started.

To date, Love Park Robotics has been testing the ROS interface to the O3D303 as a primary navigation sensor for a medical mobility application and as an object recognition sensor for industrial automation applications. We plan to keep the code current to hardware changes as the O3D3xx series of sensors evolve. To that end, we have been keeping in close communication with the sensor vendor, IFM Efector. The code will remain open-source and our process will remain transparent -- for now, we are using the Github issue tracker to document our roadmap for the software. We invite the ROS-I community to join us in making sure this software represents the most robust interface to this new and exciting sensor for industrial applications. We look forward to seeing how you put it to work.

Planning and Control of High-Tech Motion Stage using ROS-Industrial

Alten Mechatronics, in cooperation with Bosch Rexroth and FEI, created a motion planner application for a 5-DOF motion stage in a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM).

The application is a little outside the scope of other application of ROS-Industrial (i.e. robots), but the problems in these high-tech system can benefit hugely from advanced in robotics. In this case motion planning libraries from MoveIt! were implemented to generate collision free paths for the 5-DOF motion stage moving in a cluttered environment (refer to our 20 October 2014 blog post).

Building on earlier simulations, the application was extend to control the physical hardware. For this a communication was set up between ROS and the motion controller of the motion stage: The Bosch Rexroth NYCe 4000 motion controller. A driver for this platform was created in accordance to the simple message protocol, so that no development on the ROS side was needed: The NYCe controller acts as any other robot controller already supported by ROS-Industrial.

The result is application with ROS tooling (MoveIt!, RVIZ, etc.) and a high-tech motion platform able to plan and execute complex motions and increasing the speed of path execution with a maximum factor of 5 compared to current implementation.

More possibilities are open, like optimizing paths or planning constrained paths using the Descartes planner.

RIC-Europe Annual Meeting - 2015

RIC-EU Logo Small

We are happy to announce the detailed agenda for the ROS-Industrial Consortium Europe Annual Meeting 2015, which will take place right before RoboBusiness Europe on April 28th in Milan, Italy. Please note that the consortium dinner (included with your registration) will follow in the evening, so that you will have the chance to further network with peer members before attending RoboBusiness the day after.

Time : 2:00 PM - 6:30 PM CET on Tuesday April 28th, 2015

Place: Atahotel Expo Fiera, Via Keplero 12 20016 Pero Milan, Italy


  • 1400 Welcome and EU/Americas Consortia Updates, EU Projects overview
  • 1445 Members' activities and introduction of new members
  • 1545 Break
  • 1600 Invited presentations
    • IT+Robotics Srl - cROS: how ROS meets industrial needs
    • Magazino GmbH - a microWarehouse running on ROS
  • 1700 Strategic and Focused Technical Projects & other initiatives
    • TU Delft - CAD to ROS conversion
    • TU Delft - Generic IO
    • Robert Bosch GmbH - Real-time, bare-metal implementations of ROS
  • 1930 Dinner

Registration: registration link

How many people can we send?

  • Full Members - 3
  • Associate Members - 2
  • Research Members - 1
  • Additional Members - 150 EUR each

Not a member? Join Now

We look forward to seeing you in Milan!

ROS-Industrial Training 2015 (April 29)

Southwest Research Institute is coordinating with Caterpillar to host a ROS-Industrial Training Class April 29 – May 2, 2015 in Peoria, Illinois. Wednesday at 1 pm, we begin with a tour of a Caterpillar manufacturing plant, and end with a dinner in downtown Peoria. The detailed agenda can be found at the ROS-I website.

The classroom portion is similar to the training held last year with the same curriculum and an added session and lab option for Descartes. Please bring a laptop to the class with the ROS-I training Virtual Machine pre-installed. This class is geared toward individuals with a programming background who seek to learn to compose their own ROS nodes. Day 1 will be split into two tracks: the ROS Basics track will focus on introductory ROS skills; the Advanced track will focus on camera/perception topics. Day 2 will examine motion planning using MoveIt! as well as the Descartes planner and Perception concepts. Day 3 offers a lab programming exercise (with a choice of):
• Simple Perception Lab
• Simple MoveIt! Application
• Simple Descartes Application.
Registration is now open: http://rosindustrial.org/training-registration.

RIC-Americas Meeting Recap

ROS-I Consortium Americas Annual Meeting Attendees - 2015

ROS-I Consortium Americas Annual Meeting Attendees - 2015

Thanks to all who attended the annual meeting on March 27th ! Our group included representatives from ABB Robotics, Boeing, CAT, Clear Path Robotics, Deere and Co., Dematic, Ford, Fraunhofer IPA, GA Tech, HDT Robotics, Innovation Machine, Intelligrated, JR Automation, Northwestern University, OmniCo AGV, Open Source Robotics Foundation, Siemens, SwRI, Textron Systems, Vetex, UNC, UT Austin NRG, Wolf Robotics, Yaskawa Motoman Robotics.

We are grateful to our presenters are who recognized in this linked agenda document. For an overview of the accomplishments from the past year, please browse the RIC-Americas 2014 Year in Review Prezi (below). Note that Consortium members have access to the full proceedings of the event via the member portal.

Click to launch the presentation

Click to launch the presentation