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.
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).
"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!