ROS Guru

Tips and best practices for ROS development

Tool List for your Robotics Lab or Startup

You can’t do good work without good tools, and investing in your work environment is a great way to show that your organization values quality of work and planning ahead. Whether in academia or industry, I have seen people order a constant trickle of items from Amazon to meet their robotics needs. Literally dozens of packages arrive with tools and parts, eventually resulting in a set of tools and components that are standard almost everywhere, and that could have been purchased in one fell swoop. If you’re starting a new lab or robotics startup, get ahead of the game and purchase these items early. Your employees’ and students’ work will go much more smoothly and you’ll have a more productive organization (and better morale, because people won’t be kept waiting on parts!)

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Ways to Send an Alert after a Terminal Command is Finished

While working in my robotics lab, a common situation arises: I want to run a script or train a neural network that may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. I don’t know how long it will take the program to complete, and I don’t want to have to babysit the terminal it’s running in. I’ve found two good ways to alert myself when these scripts complete.

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Home Robotics are Out of Our Reach, and Here’s Why

Recently, Bloomberg reported that Amazon has plans to delve into home robotics. Mega-tech corporations trying their hand at robotics is not a new phenomenon: Bloomberg themselves did an in-depth piece on the state of robotics at Alphabet just a few months ago. 

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10 Useful ROS Tools

Over the years, developers have built an amazing suite of tools for debugging and introspecting the ROS system. Unfortunately, ROS packages also have a discoverability problem: unless you read about them in the tutorial or someone else tells you about them, you have no way of knowing they exist.

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Wrangling ROS Terminals

When I first started working through the ROS tutorials, one of the first annoyances I faced was the sheer number of terminals I was opening. Continue reading

The Best Laptops for ROS Development in 2019

In my years working with ROS in a research capacity, I’ve used dozens of development machines, and I’ve learned a few guidelines when picking out laptops for working with Linux, ROS, and robots. I’ve updated the guide for newer 2019 laptop models.

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Installing Speech Recognition in ROS

You can use easily speech recognition to emit ROS messages and control your robots with your voice. In this post, we’ll learn how to install some popular speech recognition libraries on a ROS machine. This post describes how to set up the Sphinx libraries and custom code developed by human-robot interaction researchers at UT Austin and elsewhere.

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How Many Unique AR Tags Exist?

In our robotics lab at UT Austin, we often use augmented reality (AR) tags to determine the position and orientation of an object. One good ROS package we use for tracking markers is ar_track_alvar, which can track ArUco-style markers (shown below) and calculate their 6D pose. The package makes detecting AR tags as easy as running a roslaunch file (with some slight configuration tweaks).

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