Archive for February, 2012


Commander Hackathon Day 3 – The magic of Rosbridge!

PR2 Commander Hackathon web page

It’s day 3 and we’re cooking with gas.

We’ve fully implemented an SLU to ROS pipeline using rosbridge.  Inference is done in SLU and the results are piped to ROS.  The following video shows the PR2 successfully following natural language commands (no cost function has been implemented yet).


Commander Hackathon Day 2 – A Happy Chad

PR2 Commander Hackathon web page

A picture says a thousand words…

Chad is happy when the group r=done; In this case, the group was able to get MIT’s SLU working to get to take text input from common web browsers, including the browser on Chad’s Android phone.

Further, after much skype-based discussions with Trevor, it became clear rosbridge is the path of least resistance for getting SLU to work with ROS.


“Move that Block!” Hackathon begun…!

This week, Brown robotics is teaming up with Stefanie Tellex from MIT to produce a natural language processing block manipulator.  The hackathon is seen as an incorporation of Stefanie’s work into our previous hackathon, the PR2 Castle Builder.

Keep up to date with progress here:


rosbridge/iPhone video tutorial

Trevor strikes again with another great rosbridge tutorial.

In helping to prepare for a demo in Washington last week, Trevor was able to quickly hack together a simple web page that used rosbridge for accelerometer-based robot teleop. He had the following video up-and-working within an hour or two.

It is worth noting this is a zero-install demo. The iPhone uses Safari to navigate to the page Trevor created, and it just works.

If you are interested in how this works, Trevor’s rosbridge/iPhone tutorial goes over the basics of creating a web page that can access the iPhone’s accelerometry and connect to rosbridge. Go to 13:10 to see the demo that results from the tutorial.


Demo at NITRD symposium

Tom and I were fortunate enough to get invites to the “Impact of NITRD” Symposium last week. There were hugely inspiring talks from the people that founded the Internet and made it a reality. It was especially enlightening to hear Vint Cerf and The Honorable Al Gore talk about the challenges they faced in realizing something that we now take for granted. We were invited by the NSF to give demo of low-cost robot platforms (i.e., the Turtlebot) that are accessible to a variety of citizen scientists. Thanks to Willow Garage their person follower that worked great, and Trevor for hacking some quick code for Turtlebot teleop with iPhone and Wiimotes.



rosbridge in action: Robots for Humanity

Charlie Kemp’s Healthcare Robotics Lab at Georgia Tech does great work in pushing the frontiers of robotics for assisting the physically disabled. Their robotics work in helping people with ALS and the elderly has been great to see, as well as the entertaining videos of the Dusty robot. One of their more inspiring projects is the Robots for Humanity project with Willow Garage. This project has created various interfaces and packages (such as assistive_teleop using rosbridge) to enable disabled users to control a PR2 and perform various daily living tasks.


rosbridge in action: OTL Telepresence Robot

One of our favorite videos using of rosbridge comes from the Open Technology Lab. OTL created a homemade telepresence robot where users on the Internet only need their web browser to control and see the camera feed from a remote robot. As shown in their video, this works seamlessly across devices (such as an iPhone) that have modern web browsers.

It is also great to see rosbridge appear in some of their other projects

We definitely recommend checking out the OTL blog for their incredible robot projects. It is awesome to see rosbridge and other contributions (such as ardrone_brown) from brown-ros-pkg show up in these projects.


rosbridge in action: Guardian Remote Lab

It is great to see people using rosbridge for various robot applications. We just happened to run across a remote lab project for Robotnik’s Guardian robot that exposes mapping functionality through a web browser. Nice!


Kuka YouBot working with wifi teleop

With some hard work from Arjun, our new KUKA YouBot is now working with ROS and can be remotely controlled over wifi.

Chris very quickly added a rosbridge install and a simple web interface to control the robot from common web browsers on the Internet. The following video is Chad (at home 3 miles away) driving the robot on campus from a web browser (Google Chrome)


PR2 clearing a table with HTML5 and point clouds

Working with our collaborators at Bosch LLC, the following screencap video was taken by Trevor (in Atlanta) who was teleoperating a PR2 robot (in Palo Alto) using the PR2 Remote Lab. Another reason to consider using rosbridge for web-based robotics, or at least learning more about it (rosbridge/Arduino tutorial).

The YouTube page for this video has more information about the details of this implementation.