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ROS tutorial on supporting and programming a useful custom robot

asked 2012-04-16 05:32:18 -0500

Cerin gravatar image

Is there a tutorial explaining, from start to finish, how to support a new robot in ROS, and configure it to actually do something? I have a very simple custom robot with an amd64-based architecture, two-wheeled drive, webcam, and bumper skirt. I'm trying to keep my goals modest, so to start, I'd like to use ROS and OpenCV to detect a face with the webcam, and control the motors to follow the face while avoiding simple obstacles. I've already completed a prototype for the face-detection part.

I've read over the official tutorials, but they only cover extremely low-level tasks like installing system packages. The software package list page seems to include some very sophisticated software, but most seem to have zero documentation, and I can't find any tutorials explaining how to use them.

I also saw this question, but it only covers defining the physical shape of a robot in URDF and nothing about the installation of the software on the physical robot or configuring it to do actual tasks.

I've installed ROS, and I understand the basic package system, but it's unclear to me what to do next.

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This is a tall request, since every robot is built different. But maybe someone could do a simpler but more complete tutorial for a differential drive robot. ROS is not user friendly by and large and there is a steep learning curve, plus it is rapidly changing ... Fuerte will bring new changes.

Kevin gravatar imageKevin ( 2012-04-16 05:51:56 -0500 )edit

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answered 2012-04-16 15:34:36 -0500

weiin gravatar image

My personal experience in building a simple two wheel robot (and also learning ROS): http://answers.ros.org/question/12599/ros-beginning#18583

Perhaps for your case, looking at the turtlebot code would be useful. It has a follower program as well: http://www.ros.org/wiki/turtlebot_follower/Tutorials/Demo

Most of the component APIs listed here: http://www.ros.org/wiki/APIs have very detailed tutorials. Where things are hazy for me, I look at the turtlebot codes to see how it translates into a real robot.

I'm using turtlebot as reference, only because I have one that I can dissect for learning. Also, the tutorials are more complete for turtleBot. It is easier to trace codes when you see what nodes are launched specifically.

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Asked: 2012-04-16 05:32:18 -0500

Seen: 1,137 times

Last updated: Apr 16 '12