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  • Oct 22 18:05
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AlexV
@asmodehn
wow outdoors ?
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
its a good point actually... The students will know java really well and some will know ruby really well too, and I was assuming I could just assume they could pick up python. maybe a bad assumption...
Well look - that's the long term vision, I know now that we will not get that done in even multiple semesters but we will learn and teach a lot as we strive for it :)
(see the caveats below the vision)
AlexV
@asmodehn
python language is easy to pick up. the trick is the environment... complex tools, different packages, standards always changing... and ROS is a very old framework using deprecated python features on top of that.
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
yeah I totally agree with that.
AlexV
@asmodehn
FYI : we are already doing elevators, but not outdoors.
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
I think ROS is overly complicated and very delicate when it comes even to just installing and configurations.
how do you do elevators?
AlexV
@asmodehn
IoT and building things can integrate once you get network comm out of you robot (HTTP or something else)
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
I see!
so now elevators have a REST api???
AlexV
@asmodehn
no they are all proprietary... but it s possible to integrate, protocols are not too tricky
just contact hte manufacturer in your building ;)
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
good luck. I was thinking of having the robot wait by the elevator until a human comes by and ask the human for a ride :)
AlexV
@asmodehn
hhehe yeah you can do that too :)
or you can see the elevator as just another kind of robot :)
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
yeah
so what's your guess: will your library work for me on ROS kinetic, Ubuntu 16.04 on a Pi or am I in for a nightmare of configuration problems?
AlexV
@asmodehn
I see your Robot API page now :) It should work fine, if you take the right version of it and it s dependencies...
Becuse of that very troublesome python/ROS integration it can be quite challenging, and understanding why is not simple...
But it s working for us here.
I m working to make it simple and package everything properly, hopefully in the next few weeks, if I dont get derailed doing something else...
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
I went through that trying to get a direct install of pos on a MacOS. I spent too too much time on it and then gave up and instead went to Ubuntu on VMWare on MacOS and that worked much much better!
AlexV
@asmodehn
In general I think the software level needed for doing robotics is much higher than what people usually... so the goal of robotic platform writer should be to make things simpler. but ROS sadly fails at that, making everything distributed and asynchronous makes everything so much more random and unpredictible.
If I understand correctly your summary for Robot API, you want the students write the web server that connects to ROS ?
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
yes, and that then enables them to write a mobile app to give it commands without needing the mobile app to talk ROS. It opens it up a lot.
AlexV
@asmodehn
yeah thats why I did rostful :). But then you dont want to use rostful, it s better if they do something smaller and simpler...
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
any suggestion then on how to approach it?
AlexV
@asmodehn
the rostful design is also multi process talking with zmq to ROs distributed system. wy too complicated for you (but the proper design for performance in big systems)
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
(by the way I wonder if anyone is working on a more modern software library to provide higher level abstractions but without the overly complicated - old fashioned architecrture of ROS)
AlexV
@asmodehn
yep : ROS on the robot : topics communication for sensors. ROS services to expose that. ROS services are just xmlRPC, so then you can use flask directly, serialize your json to ROS format and send with xmlrpc.
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
Oh... Didn't look into ROS services at all !
AlexV
@asmodehn
ROS2 is coming along slowly, but I dont know anyone except me working on high level feature... roboticist usually focus on the low level, close tot eh sensor... so if you know anyone, let me know :)
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
are you on the ROS team or is this on your own?
AlexV
@asmodehn
yeah people usually overlook services because of this comunity focus on topics (which for me sucks since they are lossy. cant develop complex protocols on it)
with the company I m currently in, because we need highlevel interaction wiht the robot and we coudlnt find anything already there... But my contract run out soon, so I ll need to find other means to keep working on that...
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
fascinating!
So explain your suggested architecture a little more: Flask running as a separate linux process, accepting HTTP requests, and then creating XMLRPC calls into the service which is running "inside" ROS?
AlexV
@asmodehn
exactly.
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
Ok I will investigate that approach, thanks A LOT for the suggestion!
by the way where are you located? I am in Boston, USA
AlexV
@asmodehn
no worries ! IF you have trouble let me know I might be able to throw something quickly together to give you a hand...
Currently in Seoul SK
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
so its 9:08pm here, what is it there?
AlexV
@asmodehn
10.08 am
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
(I know I could have asked google. ... lazy)
AlexV
@asmodehn
Let mw know what you come up with ;)
Pito Salas
@pitosalas
we will indeed!
(by the way my email is pitosalas@brandeis.edu)