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Fawkes 0.5.0 released

Today we are happy to announce the release of Fawkes 0.5.0. This release two years after the last major release (we need to get better on this) contains a vast amount of new software components and plugins, sub-systems, and overall system and framework improvements. For this release, the large majority of additions and changes has been made to functional components and plugins, rather than the core framework. This indicates that Fawkes has matured over the years and provides a solid base for robot software applications.

The new software components cover typical robot tasks like self-localization, (point cloud based) perception, robot arm motion planning, and integration with other software frameworks. Many of these components are possible because we integrated other third party robot software components and make it available within the Fawkes ecosystem. We have also added support for several common robot platforms like the Nao, the Robotino, and the Roomba. These robots can now be used easily out-of-the box with Fawkes.

Here is a more detailed (yet still incomplete) list of additions and changes in Fawkes 0.5.0.

ROS Integration
This version integrates closely with ROS, the Robot Operating System. It can provide data acquired in Fawkes to ROS and vice versa, integrate ROS' move_base locomotion planner, and several plugins now use rviz to visualize their internal state.
OpenNI Integration
Fawkes can now use OpenNI to acquire RGB-D data from sensors like the Kinect, and make use of the provided hand and user tracking capabilities.
Point Cloud Processing
New tool support and plugins have been added to make use of the Point Cloud Library (PCL). For example, a plugin to analyse tabletop scenes has been added identifying the position of table in front of the robot and objects on it.
OpenRAVE Manipulation Planning
An integration plugin for OpenRAVE has been added that allows plugins to use, for example, its motion planning capabilities. The Katana 5 DoF arm hardware plugin has been extended to make use of this new capability.
New Hardware Platforms
Fawkes can now work on robot platforms like the Nao, the Robotino, and the Roomba. The plugins integrate the robot's hardware capabilities and make it easily available to other plugins.
Self-localization
Fawkes now comes with an Adaptive Monte Carlo Localization plugin which has been ported from ROS. Using a known map an frequently taken 2D laser scans it can determine the robot's position within the map.
Coordinate Frame Transforms Framework
Fawkes now includes a framework and library for easily calculating transforms for points in different coordinate frames. The system is based on and thus compatible with ROS' tf framework.
RRD graphing
A new plugin provides RRD graphing capabilities for plugins. For example, for a MongoDB Logging project performance graphs have been created with this framework.
CLIPS Expert System Integration
The CLIPS rule engine for building Expert Systems has been integrated into Fawkes. Plugins can now easily acquire a CLIPS environment and start using it. For example, the Carologistics team has used this to create a reasoning agent to participate in the RoboCup Logistics League sponsored by Festo.

Thank you to the contributors who made this release possible. The new release is available on the download page. The documentation is continuously extended and improved in our Trac Wiki.

Posted by Tim Niemueller on September 27, 2012 12:43