Friday, May 13, 2011

Native ROS (Robot OS) for Java ... and MATLAB?

So, Google and Willow Garage just announced about an alpha-status pure Java implementation of ROS, the robot operating system (from Willow Garage). ROS in some ways is just another messaging system, and there are already about five billion of those in Java. However, it's also getting serious traction from all over the robotics community, has lots of ready-made robot awesomeness, and nicely seems to be overshadowing non-open competitors in robot middleware.

They are pushing it as a solution for Android. Android-brained robots are cool, but in our lab (and others), we use MATLAB a lot. There presently isn't any stable support for MATLAB is ROS, just GNU Octave. We have connected ROS with MATLAB, but the software hasn't been much more stable than the official support from Willow. Though I've been dodging Java since the Oracle lawsuit, I'm seriously planning to try out the new rosjava as a MATLAB option. MATLAB integrates easily with Java. Just import packages/classes, and use them.

As a side note, it seems like the new rosjava (unlike normal ROS) supports multiple nodes per process. I'll have to see if I can work multiple Java threads into communication with the main MATLAB thread ...


  1. Check and the discussion in the mailing list therein ...

  2. Thanks much for the reference on that.