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My solution (with help) for a tilting Kinect laserscan was to develop a nodelet that transforms the pointcloud referenced to base_link (or base_footprint) and then converts it to a laserscan using the full robot height as the elevation filter. This is all documented in the "pointcloud to laserscan with transform?" question. Search Kinect or turtlebot tags.

Now I am working on panning the Kinect to produce a full 180 degree laserscan, as the 60 degree field of view of the Kinect is limiting for AMCL and map making. Both of these depend on a functional tf tree that includes the Kinect pan/tilt mechanism and is updated from the hardware interface program.