[ros-users] Astromech droid repository

Björn Giesler bjoern at giesler.de
Sun Apr 10 20:14:59 UTC 2011


the Wiki says "To submit your own repository, please send an announcement to ros-users". So that's what I'm doing ;-)

I've started work on a stack for Astromech droid replicas ("R2-D2s"). There's an Astromech builder's club with a web home at http://astromech.net and a couple hundred builders world-wide. 

Astromech droids are basically differential-drive platforms with specific, movie-used appendages. They usually have a turnable dome. The full set of appendages are two "utility arms" in front, a "gripper arm" and a "cpu arm", a "periscope" and "life form scanner" in the dome, and the ability to go from three-leg mode (passive caster in front) to two-leg mode and back. Some builders opt to have all of those, some only have the turnable dome. That makes them a pretty standardized plaform which is scalable from a fixed set of functions.

The usual purpose of these "robots" is display at conventions, so most of them currently are remote-control only, but the first forays into autonomous robotics have recently been started. My own droid is (I believe) the first one to have working environment sensors (ultrasound, infrared, camera, soon a Kinect), currently used for collision avoidance.

To make things easier for other builders and also because of the standardized-scalable nature of the platform, I've started work on a ROS stack that allows control of Astromech platforms and basically provides a standardized software interface to the platform and all its appendages. Currently, this stack only supports my droid, but we're actively working on getting more droids supported. I'd like the stack to be listed in the ros.org Wiki.

The stack can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/astromech-ros/.

Comments etc. are of course very welcome.

Björn Giesler
bjoern at giesler.de
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