[ros-users] Implementing a new sensor (N900 accelerometer)

Sebastien Lelong sebastien.lelong at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 09:36:41 UTC 2010

Hi guys,

I'm about writing some ROS code in order to access Nokia N900 accelerometer.
This is the first time I develop on top of ROS. The idea would be to both
get sensor data, and use the phone to control robots (like turtles...).
Accessing sensor data is easy, it's based on DBUS and well documented on
N900 documentation (http://wiki.maemo.org/Accelerometers). Even if it seems
to have a poor resolution, maybe it could be used to detect shocks, etc...

Questions I have are mostly about how to flawlessly integrate such new code
within ROS. As there are lots of existing code, it's quite hard to have the
big picture, overview, and know where to put things, and what code to
re-use. Maybe you could enlighten me...

For now, what I have in mind is the following (inspired by existing wiimote
  - n900_accel_node.py: published accelerometer data
  - n900_accel_teleop.py: subscribe to accelerometer data and publish
joy/Joy messages
  - no service

About accelerometer data, should I use IMU data format ?
(http://www.ros.org/doc/api/sensor_msgs/html/msg/Imu.html) ? Should I also
publish raw data topics, as I sometime can see ?

Wiimote package embeds everything related to the remote, accelerometer,
LEDs, rumble, etc... When developing more code, should I create a (huge)
N900 package, with accelerometers, camera, LEDs, sound recorder, etc... ?
Should I define a stack for this purpose, with dedicated packages for each
N900 "features" ?

Thanks in advance for your help
Sébastien Lelong
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