If you were to choose only one feature to go through from this issue of the newsletter, I recommend the first one. It’s an incredible feat of reverse engineering and heaps of robotics knowledge in action. As usual, the publication of the week section is manned by Rodrigo. Last week’s most clicked link was the OpenSimpleLidar, with 16.6% opens.
Running a 1.5-ton Industrial Robot With a Custom Open-source Controller
What do you do if the industrial robot you’ve bought does not work because you don’t have a suitable controller? Well, Excessive Overkill adds some ODrives to it, integrates LinuxCNC with it, and makes it work! The build’s accuracy does not match what you would see on a stock robot due to the low control rate, but the integration is impressive, nevertheless. For more information about this build, check out the project repo.
AcroMonk: A Minimalist Underactuated Brachiating Robot
“This project offers an open-source and low-cost kit to test control algorithms for underactuated robots. It implements a brachiation robot platform called AcroMonk which can brachiate robustly over a horizontally laid ladder bar”. You can see the robot in action in this video.
Repeatable, Reproducible, and now Accessible! ROS Development via Dev Containers
Cool project from the ROS world, ruffsl created a template for hosting containers for easy and reproducible work with ROS 2. This work should allow running ROS on any hardware, an Android tablet being an example shown in the thread. This development is significant because it will enable professional-level development with limited resources.
OpenVR: Teleoperation for Manipulation
This repository and the corresponding paper describe a project where researchers from Carnegie Mellon University used an Oculus Quest 2 VR headset to interface with a Franka Emika Panda manipulator. In this work, the researchers use Unity to visualize the end effector and a vision system that ‘exports’ a representation of the state of the items in the scene into Unity.
Publication of the Week - Impact of ROS 2 Node Composition in Robotic Systems (2023)
ROS 2 came with a new set of paradigms allowing the robotics community to evolve their solutions. This paper presents the importance and impact of ROS 2 node composition in robotics systems. A node composition, commonly known as components, helps users develop resource-constrained systems. Components come in different flavors, manual, dynamic, and containers, each with pros and cons. But, when it comes to performance, the compositions can save 28% CPU and 33% RAM on a mobile robot running Nav2 compared to a standard multi-process system. These are impressive gains, and as Steve Macenski, one of the authors, said on LinkedIn: “If they are not using node composition, they are the crazy one”.
ANYbotics raises $50 million to help deploy its robot dog
“ANYbotics this week announced a $50 million Series B. The round, led by Walden Catalyst and NGP Capital, comes as the firm is pushing to deploy its ruggedized four-legged robot, ANYmal X”.