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Has anyone used any haptic devices in conjunction with ROS?

asked 2011-02-16 08:20:00 -0500

updated 2011-02-16 15:45:27 -0500

Or even just on Linux--the ROS interfacing is probably relatively simple. I'd be interested to hear of anyone's experiences with any kind of haptic input devices, though I'm interested mostly in something like a force-feedback joystick, as opposed to extremely high resolution haptics used for robotic surgery and the like. Thanks!

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answered 2011-02-25 00:25:14 -0500

mkillpack gravatar image

At the Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech we are using phantom omni haptic devices (cost around $1000) to control the PR2 arms. We have a phantom omni driver with ROS wrappings in c++ and an example of how to interact with it from python. You can find the two packages (phantom_omni and pr2_omni_teleop) at our gt-ros-pkg repository. Documentation on requirements and installation is at

In terms of our experience, overall we've been happy. The workspace of the omni is at times limiting (especially in orientation of the stylus), but a remapping of the coordinate frames to a more suitable workspace might help if this is a problem for your application. Also, the max force the omni can apply is low (on par with the Novint Falcon), but that's to be expected for a low impedance device. Good luck.


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Great, thanks Marc! In fact we've ended up borrowing a Phantom Omni but haven't had a chance to start playing with it yet. Interestingly, if I search for 'haptic' on the ROS wiki, the link you provided doesn't show up..
Patrick Bouffard gravatar image Patrick Bouffard  ( 2011-02-25 05:20:33 -0500 )edit

Hi marc,

Would it be possible to use phantom omni device to control PR2 arms simulated in gazebo? If yes then what changes need to be made in the pr2_omni_teleop package? How would be the performance in real-time (as the Omni device is real, running at 1KHz, and PR2 is a simulated one)?


tufail gravatar image tufail  ( 2013-04-01 15:11:34 -0500 )edit

I don't know the specifics, (i.e. topic names, etc), but there should be almost no changes. I have run lots of other code on both the real and simulated PR2 with absolutely no changes. The only problem is if your computer is too slow for gazebo to run in approximate real-time.

mkillpack gravatar image mkillpack  ( 2013-05-17 05:37:23 -0500 )edit

Hi,is it possible using your phantom_omni and the uos-ros-pkg to teleop the katana arm????thanks!!

rem870 gravatar image rem870  ( 2013-07-17 11:33:05 -0500 )edit

I'm not familiar with the uos-ros-pkg, but this is probably more dependent on the katana arm and uos-ros-pkg than the omni driver. In general, the omni node subscribes to a 3 dimensional force vector for user force feedback and sends out a position and quaternion at approximately 100 Hz.

mkillpack gravatar image mkillpack  ( 2013-07-29 04:51:37 -0500 )edit

answered 2011-02-22 08:56:05 -0500

Nick H gravatar image

The Cyphy lab at QUT has ROS drivers for the Novint Falcon on their ROS repo at launchpad. I think they are using it with a Mikrokopter.

They also have a direct link to someone's dropbox account on their wiki, I'm not sure which version is more up to date.

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answered 2011-02-21 21:35:59 -0500

Miguel Prada gravatar image

I used a Novint Falcon device a few months ago. I can remember it being a little bit painful to set everything up, but I finally managed to get it working using HAPI (

As for using it with ROS, I didn't. I did use it with Orocos but it took some ugly steps (i.e. a separate process and socket communication with an Orocos component) to make it work because there was some issues between HAPI and Orocos (something about the threads they spawned under the hood I think, but I didn't really dive into it).

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answered 2012-03-14 23:02:21 -0500

Nutan gravatar image

Do I need to revise anything using phantom desktop? Thanks.

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answered 2018-09-20 05:13:16 -0500

We worked on the Bilateral human in the loop Tele-haptic interface for controlling a robotic manipulator. In this work, we tried to implement the Phantom Omni haptic device to control industrial robotic manipulator through V-REP simulator and ROS. Phantom Omni haptic device controlled by Chi 3dAPI and position updates passed to V-REP and from V-REP to Robotic manipulators through ROS packages. In this work, we rendered basic haptic force feedback in the master side haptic device based on the force value sensed by the force sensor at the end effector.

Phantom Omni <-> Chai 3D <-> V-REP <-> ROS <-> Robotic manipulator.

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Asked: 2011-02-16 08:20:00 -0500

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Last updated: Mar 14 '12