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Application Manager Setup for Generic Robot to Interface to Android Apps

asked 2012-03-06 12:00:30 -0500

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updated 2014-01-28 17:11:35 -0500

ngrennan gravatar image

I downloaded several of the ros.org apps for my android tablet and was surprised to find that they seemed to only be supported for the pr2 platform. What is the current status of an application manager? And specific to my case how much work would it take to get something working on my robot? Assume that I have a working ros based system running my robot.

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answered 2012-03-06 17:16:06 -0500

mjcarroll gravatar image

I think that the actual ROS API for application manager is fairly stable, but a little undocumented. What follows is my own interpretation of how this is supposed to work, other people may feel free to correct me.

On my robot, I have a "minimal.launch" file, that is started at boot. This launch file covers the basic hardware things that I need for my machine. In my case, it starts the motor controller, laser, kinect, cameras, diagnostics, and app_manager. For reference, here is the file.

When app_manager starts, it can take an --applist argument (if you don't have it in the default location /etc/robot/apps), which is a semicolon-delimited list of locations where application lists (YAML) are stored.

An app is defined by three files:

  • .app - Holds app meta-data
  • .launch - App roslaunch file
  • .interface - Defines how the app will connect to other apps (I'm not really clear on how this works, sorry).

The necessary files are

  1. App Manager Launch File Example
  2. App Listing File Example
  3. Write a .app, .interface, and .launch file for each app that you want Example

Generally, the approach I have taken is a minimal hardware setup in my *_bringup package, and then a separate repository for my *_apps. If it helps, all of my code is on the Auburn Automow Github

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answered 2012-03-06 17:02:43 -0500

ahendrix gravatar image

The applications platform is supported on the PR2 and the Turtlebot, so some of the applications are capable of running on multiple robots, including teleop and mapping.

You should be able to run the appmaster and app_manager nodes on your robot, and get a few of the more generic apps up and running. I would take a look at the launch file for the applications platform on the PR2 as a starting point: https://kforge.ros.org/pr2apps/pr2_apps/file/9621613819ec/pr2_app_manager/launch/pr2_app_manager.launch

If your robot is mobile and has a camera, you should be able to get the teleop app running; I would take a look at the teleop app for the PR2 as a starting point: https://kforge.ros.org/pr2apps/pr2_teleop_apphg/

A lot of this is still in the semi-experimental stages, even on the PR2, so there's a lot of documentation that just hasn't been written yet.

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I've been working with app_manager a good bit with my platform and the ROSOSC stack that I've been developing. I'll try and get some tutorials up for getting started with app_manager.

mjcarroll gravatar image mjcarroll  ( 2012-03-09 04:21:01 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2012-03-06 12:00:30 -0500

Seen: 630 times

Last updated: Mar 06 '12