Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Open source Qbo bot makes the jump to ROS, the open source robot OS

While the Willow Garage-initiated ROS is designed to consolidate and accelerate robotics innovation for the long term, it's still a long ways from powering your robotic butler / life coach / best friend, so it's exciting to see it put to use in the here and now. The folks at Thecorpora, responsible for the Qbo open source robot project, have been busy converting Qbo's original Java API into ROS, and just announced they're at 99.9 percent completion of that task.

That means the Qbo gets instant access to some of the fun development going on in ROS, like stacking all its cameras and ultrasonic sensors into a system for machine vision, or controlling the bot with a Wiimote or a PS3 controller. (There's a video after the break of the Wiimote in action). Don't think Qbo will be powerful enough for you? Willow Garage just announced that it's about to put its own ROS-powered PR2 bot on sale soon, after a few months of its (highly successful) PR2 Beta Program.

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