What’s ROS android_ndk? Why should you care? How does it work? Gary Servín is with Ekumen, an engineering and software consulting company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina that specializes in ROS, web and Android development. With the backing of Qualcomm and OSRF, Ekumen has been trying to make it both possible and easy to run ROS applications on small Android devices like tablets and cellphones using Android’s native language development kit.
As Gary explains, the increasing performance, decreasing cost, and overall ubiquity of Android devices make them ideal brains for robots. The tricky part is getting ROS packages to play nice with Android, which is where ROS android_ndk comes in: it’s a set of scripts that Ekumen is working on to make the process much easier. Unlike rosjava, ROS android_ndk gives you access to 181 packages from the desktop variant of ROS, with the ability to run native ROS nodes directly.
Ekumen is actively working on this project, with plans to incorporate wrappers for rosjava, actionlib implementation, and support for ROS 2. In the meantime, there’s already a set of tutorials on ROS.org that should help you get started.
Next up: Lorenz Meier & Roman Bapst of ETH Zurich and PX4
Check out last week’s post: Stefan Kohlbrecher of Technische Universitaet Darmstadt