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Communicating with TurtleBot from Two Computers

asked 2012-04-07 04:10:44 -0600

tommytwoeyes gravatar image

I bought a TurtleBot and am really excited about getting it to perform various tasks for me. As a first, (relatively) simple task, I'd like to get it to periodically check whether my mail has been delivered each day (we have the "slot in the door" type of "mailbox," so it needs to navigate to the door and determine if there is a new pile of mail lying there) and send me an email once the mail arrives.

I'm totally new to ROS though, so I'm still going through the TurtleBot tutorials. I'm on the step in which you build a SLAM map of your house so you can subsequently program TurtleBot to navigate the map autonomously.

However, I have a problem - my desktop machine (Ubuntu 10.04) is in my bedroom, so I'm unable to see what the TurtleBot is doing in order to teleop navigate him around the other rooms in the house via RViz. I can watch the output from the Kinect's RGB camera, but due to the position in which it's mounted, I can't see all obstacles that he might run into.

The solution I came up with was to install the ros-electric-turtlebot-desktop package on a modest netbook (1.5ghz dual core, 1gb ram). I would then run the keyboard teleop from the netbook while I followed the TurtleBot around my house, with the gmapping app running on the TurtleBot's netbook and RViz and the map_server running on my desktop machine.

Is this even possible? If not, is there an alternative solution?

As a secondary question, if you believe this project is too complex for a beginner, could you please recommend a simpler alternative beyond the introductory tutorials on the TurtleBot wiki that would be more practical for me? I would really appreciate it - I am so eager to learn to use my TurtleBot but have been frustrated by my lack of knowledge.

Thanks in advance!

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answered 2012-04-07 08:46:50 -0600

Ryan gravatar image

Yes, this is completely possible. Just make sure that each computer can see each other, (based on the steps from the Network Setup page). Once each machine is fully on the ROS network, you'll be able to launch whatever applications you want on each one.

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I followed the wiki's network setup instructions & verified that the netbook & desktop workstations could both ping the TB's netbook (raw IP and $ROS_MASTER_URI on port 11311). The netbook workstation's KB teleop node produced some error I didn't understand.

tommytwoeyes gravatar image tommytwoeyes  ( 2012-04-07 10:26:15 -0600 )edit

I assumed it was due to the TB's ROS installation getting confused about which machine it was reporting to. I'll try it again & post any error messages I see so I can ask for further assistance.

Thanks, Ryan!

tommytwoeyes gravatar image tommytwoeyes  ( 2012-04-07 10:27:09 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2012-04-07 04:10:44 -0600

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Last updated: Apr 07 '12