Category: ROS

ROS and sounds or how to make your droid to say the Dalek Exterminate!!!

Audio feedback from your robot


After our previous post where Bence explained that roboticists should be careful doing scary stuff with their robot, I thought I need to do some with mine to troll ourselves. So why shouldn’t my robot sound like this when it is moving:





ROS Indigo with Elementary OS Freya

I’ve recently got my a new laptop for work, which is great, but this means I had to abandon all the comfort of OSX.

Of course for work I need an Ubuntu system but I set my eyes on a distribution called Elementary OS before, that is Ubuntu-based but tries to mimic the style of OSX.


To begin the ROS installation a minor tweak is needed on the first step. Instead of

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb $(lsb_release -sc) main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'


sudo sh -c 'echo "deb trusty main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

Since ROS doesn’t have packages dedicated to Elementary, this second line tells it to use the Ubuntu Trusty packages instead (on which Elementary OS Freya is based).

However, when I tried to start up the simulation of TIAGo, I got buckets of errors from rosdep about the operating system not being detected. After a quick sneak peak at the code of it, I discovered that there is an environmental variable that can be used to override whatever is happening, as rosdep is supposed to support Elementary OS, it’s the latter that does something fishy here.

I added

export ROS_OS_OVERRIDE=elementary

to my .bashrc, and the problem was solved.

Here is a video of the working system, with the TIAGo robot from PAL Robotics.

So those are my notes on the Elementary OS + ROS topic. For those who’d like to get started with Elementary OS check the links below.


Elementary OS goodies to install,

20 things to do after installing Elementary OS

Do you like Evernote‘s desktop client? NixNote2 provides a fully cross-platform opensource alternative to the official client.

To see if and where your boot process can be optimized, try bootcharting

To see what you can do with your Thinkpad fans and in Linux go here.

Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute seminar talks on youtube

I’m always glad to find interesting and inspiring material to watch that is freely available.

In this case, it is about the seminar talks of the Robotics Institute from Carnegie Mellon University. Thanks guys!


At the moment the playlist counts 77 video of internal talks all shared on youtube available for everyone.

I’m embedding the latest on here that I’ve watched today. Take a sneak-peek:

For the rest, please refer to the playlist of CMU RI:

Gazebo and dynamics

Have you ever seen a robot spinning, shooting out like a cannonball or rapidly sliding in Gazebo?

Then, my friend, I have to let you know that you messed up the dynamics in your robot’s URDF.

You may now answer, that you don’t even know what dynamics is, and you just want your robot to magically work. Before you go …


… read the tutorial of Gazebo on how to use Meshlab to figure out the inertial parameters of your robot based on the meshes you are using.

So keep calm and specify your inertial parameters, doctors recommend it!