[ros-users] Announcing: KaCanOpen - An Open Plug&Play CANopen Stack for ROS in Modern C++

Andreas Bihlmaier andreas.bihlmaier at gmx.de
Wed Jun 22 11:56:22 UTC 2016

tl;dr: You use CANopen devices and ROS? Then checkout: 
http://wiki.ros.org/kacanopen (Repository: 

Dear ROS community,

I'm happy to announce KaCanOpen <http://wiki.ros.org/kacanopen>, a 
plug&play ROS stack for CANopen devices (motors, remote I/Os, ...) 
written in modern C++.

KaCanOpen is an easy-to-use CANopen stack, which consists of four parts:


    *Drivers*: A wide range of CAN hardware (USB, PCI, embedded) is
    supported using different CAN drivers. They have been developed by
    the CanFestival <http://wiki.ros.org/CanFestival>project. Follow the
    link for details.


    *Core*: This is a library which implements basic CANopen protocols
    like NMT, SDO and PDO. As an example, you can easily fetch a value
    from a device (uploading inCANopen
    viacore.sdo.upload(node_id, index, subindex). Furthermore, it allows
    you to register callbacks on certain events or any incoming
    messages, so one can build arbitrary CANopen nodes (master or slave)
    using this library.


    *Master*: This library is intended to be used for a master node. It
    detects all nodes in a CAN network and gives direct access to them
    via standardized CiA® profiles. For example, on a motor device
    (profile CiA® 402) you can simply call
    mymotor.set_entry("Target velocity", 500). A main feature of this
    library is transparent SDO/PDO access to dictionary entries: By
    default a value is fetched and set via SDO. But you can also
    configure PDO mappings, which keep the value up-to-date in
    background via (much more lightweight) PDO messages. The call itself
    (mymotor.set_entry("Target velocity", 500)) remains unchanged.


    *ROS Bridge*: This library provides a bridge to a ROS network, which
    makes KaCanOpen especially interesting for robotics. After setting
    up the CANopen network, the library can publish slave nodes so they
    are accessible through ROS messages. Special effort is put into the
    use of standardized message types which allows interaction with
    other software from the ROS universe. For example, motors can be
    operated using JointState messages.

KaCanOpen is designed to make use of modern C++11/14 features and to 
avoid redundant code on the user side wherever possible. Reusing all the 
available functionality, a custom node for a custom CANopen device can 
be written in less than 100 lines of code.

Although, I have the joy to announce KaCanOpen here, most credit goes to 
Thomas for all the effort he put into it!

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