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The joint_state_publisher is a tool to verify the correctness of your URDF model, by visually inspecting the robot model as it moves. It is however not intended to be used for running your robot. For your own robot, you will have to write a node that reads the joint values from your HW/sim robot, and publish those on the joint_states topic. For the PR2 robot, this job is done by pr2_mechanism.