Starting out with ROS

This is going to be a pretty short post with the purpose of motivating future posts on related subjects.

I've got a lot of really cool robotics equipment now; a stock Hexy, a Cyclone Quadrotor, a Kinect, and a MakerBot Thing-O-Matic top the list, at the moment.

Unfortunately, a lot of these pieces of Hardware come with relatively  little software behind them. Hexy, for instance, has the short-but-sweet PoMoCo software to start. PoMoCo is great, but it's not very functional; by default, it allows only for interpolation between pre-programmed sequences of joint angles. It's very easy to pick the wrong combination of moves and get Hexy stuck in some contorted pose ( and you can forget about variable speed gaits ).

This isn't really PoMoCo's fault. Like Hexy, PoMoCo is designed to be a lightweight tool for beginners who can go on to use the platform for other things.

So, what's next for me on the Software side of Hexy? First off, I want to integrate Hexy with ROS (more on ROS in a later post). At first, I'm just going to hook PoMoCo into ROS and control it from the command line, but I plan on splitting PoMoCo into three ROS nodes, with the eventual goal of augmenting one of them with good gait generation and motor planning, and replacing the other with a series of ROS services to utilize Hexy from any ROS interfaced program.

In any case, I'll be working on Hexy when I  don't have to tool, and tooling when I can to get as much work in on Hexy. I'll keep you posted.

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