OSRF welcomes Ying Lu

OSRF is pleased to welcome Ying Lu! Ying is currently a Ph.D. student at the Robotics Lab of the Department of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, under the direction of Prof. Jeff Trinkle. Before that, she received a BS degree from University of Science and Technology of China. Her research focuses on contact and constraint models and solvers in multibody dynamics, with an emphasis on a benchmarking framework for unified interfaces to use different models and solvers. She was a member of the RPI Rockie team at the 2014 Sample Return Challenge, helping with the vision system, using ROS and OpenCV. Ying attended the 2013 and 2014 Grace Hopper Conference, a celebration for women in computing, and she was a 2014 Grace Hopper Scholar.

Ying is enthusiastic and excited to see how robotics is going to change the world, just as the computer revolution does!

OSRF welcomes Louise Poubel

OSRF is pleased to welcome Louise Poubel! Louise grew up in Brazil and thought why not cross the world and go to college in Japan? As if two continents weren’t enough, later she decided to get a master’s in robotics in Europe, where she studied in Poland and France. There, she did research on making humanoid robots imitate human whole body movements in real time. At the end of 2013, Louise joined OSRF as an intern, and has since been collaborating with GUI tools for Gazebo. Now she’s coming to conquer one more continent while joining our team full-time.

She is excited about open source technology and user experience because she believes that machines are here to make life easier for everyone around the world, not the opposite! Along this line of thought, she hopes one day to make robotic Rubik’s cubes which solve themselves while humans just sit back and relax.

ROS2 gets embedded

We are happy to introduce a prototype for ROS 2 in deeply-embedded systems, using the stm3240g-eval board, which contains an STM32F4 microcontroller, an Ethernet interface, and some extra SRAM. The prototype combines a real-time operating system (NuttX) with a pseudo-POSIX interface, a DDS implementation (Tinq), and an example that uses ROS message types to communicate with other ROS 2 machines.

Here’s Victor to tell you about it:

This prototype has several caveats, most importantly that system performance is limited to ~3 Hz at the moment due to the UDP implementation of the underlying RTOS, but we expect that to improve drastically over time. We are hoping that this work is a starting point for the next generation of ROS-compatible sensors and actuators: robot parts that, out of the box, plug into an Ethernet network and interoperate in the ROS environment as first class participants.

Thank you to OSRF supporters!

OSRF logoToward the end of last year, we asked you for financial support. And you responded. We received donations ranging from $2 to $100, coming from individuals spanning 26 countries. It’s fantastic to see this breadth of support. Thank you to everybody who donated!

You can continue to donate to OSRF at any time, and of course we’re always interested to talk with new corporate or government sponsors.

Another way to support OSRF, if you’re an Amazon customer, is to login to Amazon Smile and select us (Open Source Robotics Foundation) as your charity (learn more).

Ubuntu ROS apps on the way

Ubuntu announced today that their new Snappy Core operating system, already being adopted for cloud computing, will be specifically supported on embedded, connected, mobile devices (aka Internet of Things).

And what’s the coolest kind of embedded, connected, mobile device? A robot, of course. Here at OSRF, we’ve been working with Ubuntu to ensure that ROS will be ready to use on Snappy and we’re making plans for a ROS / Snappy store. You’ll be able to write, share, and run ROS-based Snappy apps for your favorite robots (check out an early prototype).

We’ve supported and relied on Ubuntu Linux since the beginning of the ROS project, and we’re excited to be part of this transition to a new Ubuntu-based app ecosystem.

New project: Eyes of Things

EoT logo

We’re happy to announce that OSRF will be an advisor to the Eyes of Things (EoT) project, which was recently selected by the European Commission in one of the first batches of the ICT-H2020 Framework Programme. The EoT project brings together eight European partners: VISILAB (Spain, Project Coordinator), Movidius (Ireland), Awaiba (Portugal), DFKI (Germany), Thales (France), Fluxguide (Austria), nViso (Switzerland) and Evercam (Ireland).

The 3.7M€ project envisages a computer vision platform that can be used both standalone and embedded into more complex systems, particularly for wearable applications, robotics, home products, and surveillance. The core hardware will be based on a system-on-chip (SoC) that has been designed for maximum performance of the always-demanding vision applications while keeping the lowest energy consumption. This will allow always on and truly mobile vision processing. Software will be developed in parallel to this design, at both the low and middleware levels, and also for a number of demonstrators. The demonstrators span applications in surveillance, wearable configuration and embedded into a household item. Eyes of Things will have a duration of three years, starting in January 2015. The kick-off meeting will be January 27th, 2015.

OSRF welcomes Esteve Fernandez

OSRF is pleased to welcome Esteve Fernandez! After working for many years on distributed systems, Esteve switched gears and pursued a career in robotics. He also enjoys writing software and sharing it with others, so combining open source and robotics is an exciting opportunity for him.

Esteve holds a MSc in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and M.S.E. and B.S.E. in Computer Engineering, and has been a professional developer for over 10 years. He is a member of the Apache Software Foundation and a frequent speaker at open source conferences, such as PyCon US and EuroPython.

Overall, Esteve found in robotics the perfect excuse for playing with Lego in his 30s without getting weird looks.

Support OSRF!

When we started the ROS project back in 2007, our goal was to build an open robotics software platform for students, engineers, entrepreneurs, and anyone else to freely use and modify. In 2012, we took the next step by founding OSRF as an independent non-profit organization to pursue that mission, with responsibility for both ROS and Gazebo. Today, we see these tools used worldwide to teach concepts, solve problems, and build products in ways that we couldn’t have imagined at the beginning.

We couldn’t be happier with the size and breadth of the collaborative community that we’ve built together, and we’re grateful to everyone in the community for the roles that you’ve played.

You won’t be surprised to hear that it costs money to run OSRF. We employ a small team of amazing individuals, we operate an office in the Bay Area, and we run a suite of online services on which the community depends.

Since our founding, OSRF has enjoyed generous financial support from government agencies and private industry, for which we’re very grateful. We hope and anticipate that that support will continue in the future. But now, as we approach the end of OSRF’s third year, we’re trying something new: asking you, our users, for support.

If you rely on ROS and/or Gazebo in your lab, your startup company, your weekend projects, or elsewhere, please consider donating to OSRF. Your donation will support our people and infrastructure so that we can spend (even) more time developing and maintaining the software and services on which you depend.

As one example, if everyone who visits the ROS wiki between now and the end of the year donates just $2, we’ll have our costs covered for next year to manage, update, and host all of our online services, including the wiki. Donations in any amount are welcome. Give more, and we can do more.

Donate to OSRF today.

Thank you for your support.

Contributions to the Open Source Robotics Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will be used at its discretion for its charitable purposes. Such donations are tax-deductible in the U.S. to the extent permitted by law.

Humanoid robot with open electronics

We’re pleased to announce the public release of information on a long-standing collaboration between OSRF and Sandia National Labs. The Intelligent Systems Control Department at Sandia is developing a humanoid robot intended for energy-efficient walking. We’re participating in the project by developing an electrical system capable of driving its numerous large motors and interfacing with higher-level software systems. Naturally, our contributions will be released as open-source hardware and firmware. Today’s press release from Sandia provides more details, and includes this introductory video:

(You might recall that we also recently built the open electronics and firmware for a new robot hand.)

OSRF welcomes Rachel Hwang

OSRF is pleased to welcome Rachel Hwang, our intern for the Outreach Program for Women!

Rachel got her B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago. As an undergrad, she worked as a research assistant at the Chicago Language Modeling Lab. With a background in linguistics, Rachel is especially interested in machine learning, natural language processing and all things computational linguistics. As on OPW intern, she will be working on a path planning algorithm for Gazebo. You can follow Rachel’s progress on her blog.