Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TurtleBot ROS Fuerte RC1

The software team over at I Heart Engineering is pleased to announce the availability of our first release candidate of a TurtleBot ROS Fuerte ISO. If you have a TurtleBot and some spare time, we can use your help testing to make this release meet its full potential.

The ISO image was assembled in Brooklyn at the I Heart Engineering research and manufacturing facility and contains the latest stable version of Ubuntu 12.04 and ROS Fuerte. We have worked to make significant usability improvements and decrease the amount of time it takes to get your robot up and running out of the box. Some of these new features are detailed below.

We have developed a network autoconfiguration system that connects to NetworkManager via dbus to identify the primary network interface, IP address and the WiFi SSID if available. This allows ROS to be automatically started whenever  you connect to a WiFi network.

As part of our effort to streamline the startup process, we have built a system for automatically starting any launch files found in /etc/ros/launch.d sequentially.

Having worked on several robot ground stations we can appreciate the idea of using an Android based cellphone or tablet running ROS. So, to make it even easier to use them with the TurtleBot we developed ros-network-id which generates a QR code describing the network configuration and password to allow mobile devices to connect without typing on the screen. For robots without a usable display, ros-network-id can also be used as a command line program over ssh.

The autoconfiguration system has been designed to work for every reasonable case, however in the event it doesn't the settings can be overridden by editing /etc/ros/network.conf.

While still a work-in-progress, we have written a TurtleBot Startup Guide which has some references to help get you started if you are unfamiliar with the operation of a TurtleBot.

The system has been designed to get the most out of using ROS with Ubuntu's Unity interface. Custom icons, GUIs and launchers help provide an improved user interface. ROS applications and launch files now have icons and launch files can be started by double clicking them. Right clicking launcher icons shown above makes secondary options available.

The turtlebot-config program provides an automatic configuration system for TurtleBot hardware. It can identify USB serial cables and create a fixed symlink to /dev/irobot_create so that the robot will work regardless of the order cables are plugged in. The config tool should also automatically identify laptop battery support, particularly for the Lenovo x130e.

To provide visual feedback that the TurtleBot ROS nodes are running the turtlebot-indicator provides a white notification icon when the /turtlebot_node is currently running and is greyed out when ROS is stopped. The indicator can also be used to stop and start ROS manually.

Continuing our emphasis on style and function, the operating system, installer and greeter login screen have been provided with a TurtleBot color scheme and background and TurtleBot themed wallpapers help keep your computer stylish

turtlebot-fuerte-ubuntu-12.04-amd64-RC1.iso can be downloaded via bittorrent available here and instructions for creating a USB installer from the ISO image can be found here.

Any testing would be greatly appreciated and help ensure that the final release is works well for everyone. If possible, please file feedback and bug reports with the issue tracker on github.

Also in addition to all of the ROS and GNU/Linux/Ubuntu contributors, we would like to offer a special thanks to our friends at WG and DPRG for help making this happen.


Marcus Liebhardt said...

Nice work! Let's see if I can find somebody over here testing it. :-)

awesomeM said...

Can somebody please seed the iso file more? I've been trying to download the ISO for a day and a half, I'm only 40% through.

My turtlebot is hungry!

I Heart Robotics said...

Also for those of you without torrent access.

I Heart Robotics said...

Patch to turtlebot-config for RC1 is building and should be available soon.

awesomeM said...

Ahh! thanks for the direct link to the ISO.

Downloading now.

JuanMan said...

I dont know if there is a problem with the network identifier system, or something different went wrong, but I only can get connected to the first WiFi network I connected when testing the RC1. Is this a known problem, or maybe a unique case?

I Heart Robotics said...

You should be abe to fix this by editing the connections in network manager and making the available to all users.