First experiences using ROS

I’ve been doing a stock take of what robotics components I have available. I think now I should bite the bullet and go for the build of my Omnibot based robot.

These are the steps I took to setup a VMWare image ready to run ROS.

Planned Hardware

  • Acer Aspire One Netbook (1.6GHz Atom, 1Gb RAM, 160Gb HDD)
  • Arduino (or clone, possibly Arduino MEGA for the I/O)
  • DAGU 4Channel Motor controller (handles a 4Amp stall current)
  • Gutted Tomy Omibot/Robbie Snr. (Circa 1984)

Install Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick)

  • 512Mb Ram
  • 20Gb disk space

Configure package manager

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://packages.ros.org/ros/ubuntu maverick main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'
wget http://packages.ros.org/ros.key -O - | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get update

Install ROS Desktop Full Install

sudo apt-get install ros-diamondback-desktop-full
echo "source /opt/ros/diamondback/setup.bash" >> ~/bin/.bashrc_ford
source ~/bin/.bashrc_ford

Other neat fixes

sudo su - root
echo 'SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", KERNEL=="ttyUSB[0-9]*", ATTRS{idVendor}=="0403", ATTRS{idProduct}=="6001", SYMLINK+="sensors/ftdi_%s{serial}"' > /etc/udev/rules.d/52-ftdi.rules

Will create symlinks to the /dev/ttyUSB[0-9] device in /dev/sensors for all FTDI chips connected. (i.e. Arduinos) This is very useful to make sure you always connect to the same Arduino after a system restart if you have multiple devices.

$ ls /dev/sensors
/dev/sensors/ftdi_A60078HS -> ../ttyUSB0
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