Hi! My name is Gheric Speiginer and I am working with Keenan Black in Chad Jenkin’s Lab at Brown University. I am a rising Junior at Hampton University and my major is Computer Science. Recently Keenan and I have been working with the ROS platform, currently being developed by Willow Garage.
Willow Garage, if you’ve never heard the name before, is a new company that is attempting to standardize the field of robotics. They basically want to be the “Google” of robotics. One of their biggest projects is a new open source robotic operating system, called ROS, which stands for… Robotic Operating System (creative huh?!). Anyway, there is lots of hype around ROS right now. It has more funding than many other robotic frameworks like Player/Stage and has a quickly growing community. When it comes to open source, its generally a good idea to go where the hype is, for obvious reasons such as more people available to help you troubleshoot a problem, and more people to help progress the development of the project.
So back to Keenan and I at Brown University. Our current task here involves developing a ROS compatible driver for the iRobot Create. So far we have had some pretty good progress with only a couple of stumbling blocks. ROS was pretty trivial to install on the ASUS eeePC laptops that are used with the iRobot Creates here at Brown (or Smurvs, as they’re also called). The tutorials were just as simple to set up and run. The only minor problems we ran into were configuring ROS to work over a network, but more on that in the next blog.
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