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You do not need to have a mobile or other robot to use the ROS interface to SICK lasers. See http://wiki.ros.org/sicktoolbox_wrapper/Tutorials/UsingTheSicklms for a tutorial on setting up the ROS interface for the laser.

Running ROS on a supported version of Ubuntu Linux is easiest, since most of the ROS documentation, packages, etc. are all for Linux. See http://wiki.ros.org/ROS/Installation and click on the Ubuntu link. On that page note what versions of Ubuntu it says are supported by the current ROS release.