[ros-users] Announcing Visual Tools, ROS Control Boilerplate, Utilities

Dave Coleman dave at dav.ee
Wed Jan 13 20:49:42 UTC 2016

Hi ROS Community,

I'm happy to announce the release a bunch of packages I've worked on and
found useful over the years. They have been used in mine and other's
research at the University of Colorado Boulder, as well as in the Amazon
Picking Challenge and other external projects for companies. They all have
decent documentation in their README.md file, example launch files, utilize
Travis CI, and have been released in Indigo and Jade. As always, please
help in making them even better!

*Rviz Visual Tools*
Ever wanted to make visualizing data in Rviz easier? rviz_visual_tools
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/rviz_visual_tools> provides a ton of
helper functions for visualizing different types of shapes and data in Rviz
in an efficient way.

*MoveIt! Visual Tools*
Want to visualize multiple RobotStates while also showing different
trajectories, trajectory lines, and grasp positions? moveit_visual_tools
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/moveit_visual_tools> contains all the
functionality of rviz_visual_tools while also providing visualization of
many of the MoveIt! data types. It also makes it easy to add collision
objects to your planning scene.

*OMPL Visual Tools*
Add to the functionality of Rviz and MoveIt! visual tools with even more
specialized features for OMPL data types and for introspecting your
sampling-based geometric OMPL planners. ompl_visual_tools
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/ompl_visual_tools> is specially good for
working in 2D or 3D spaces.

*ROS Control Boilerplate*
Want to get started with ros_control for your next robot/robot upgrade?
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/ros_control_boilerplate> contains lots of
working example code for the RRBot (as seen in Gazebo) as well as many
helper utilities such as loading joint limits from rosparam and URDF,
recording trajectories to file, playing back from file, etc.

*MoveIt! Sim Controller*
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/moveit_sim_controller> is a pass-through
non-physics based simulator for quickly testing your ros_control robot
offline. It also allows you to load your robot's initial state from a SRDF
(semantic robot description format) state instead of the default 0's state.

*TF Keyboard Cal*
Don't want to worry about more specialized calibration techniques for
moving your /tf transforms to different locations? tf_keyboard_cal
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/tf_keyboard_cal> lets you use your
computer keyboard to tweak the 6 dof transform of a frame quickly and
intuitively, and even load/save the settings from file.

*ROS Param Shortcuts*
The package rosparam_shortcuts
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/rosparam_shortcuts> provides lots of
helper functions for all sorts of datatypes to be easily loaded from
parameter server with good user feedback if the parameter is missing. This
package enforces the philosphy that there should be no default parameters -
everything must be defined by the user in yaml files (or launch files or
where ever) otherwise your program should not run.

*Two New Message Types*
For those interested, I've created cartesian_msgs
<https://github.com/davetcoleman/cartesian_msgs> for commanding a robot's
Cartesian end effector position (instead of by joint values), and I've also
released graph_msgs <https://github.com/davetcoleman/graph_msgs> for
sending graphs of nodes and edges across ROS topics.

I hope these are helpful to your robotics projects!

Dave Coleman
Correll Robotics Lab | CU Boulder | dav.ee
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