Getting Started with ROS

If you're interested in learning to use ROS, I've just put together a tutorial to help some of the people in my lab that may help you get started too!

The tutorial is intended to help you get up to speed with how everything is connected together in ROS. Once you've gone through each section, you should have the base-level of knowledge needed to work with the huge selection of ROS packages that are out there and really speed up your robotics development.

You can find it over on my github:

You'll need Ubuntu 14.04, which you can either install on a separate partition on your computer, or run in a virtual machine. If running in a virtual machine, I recommend using the ROS Indigo image from Nootrix (linked in the tutorial) as it has everything you need to get started pre-installed!

If you think I've forgotten anything important, or something isn't clear, do let me know.

King's: Reading and Robots

It's been a good start at King's - great research group, labs, offices. Right now it's catch-up time, where upon starting I was promptly given a reading list as long as my arm to fill in any knowledge gaps and help gain a deeper understanding of the area I'll be researching.

The authors' accurate portrayal of a PhD student at work

The authors' accurate portrayal of a PhD student at work

I'm currently working through The Elements of
Statistical Learning
, which I thoroughly recommend for anyone interested in this area; although this comes with the caveat that sections deemed particularly challenging are noted with a little image of Munch's Scream - it can get pretty heavy.


Offering relief from the growing pile of reading on my plate, I've got my hands on a uArm Metal to play with. <Troy McClure voice> You may remember this robot from such videos as "The Breakfast Machine" and "The Sandwich Robot".

This is a pretty fun robot to experiment with, if not a bit tricky to setup with correct firmware/protocols. A nice plus is that despite it's relatively young age, it's open source nature has resulted in an active developer community.

So far I've just used software created by uFactory intern Alex Thiel, CreatorStudio, which offers some nice capabilities such as trajectory recording. There's a video of the uArm in action below.

Documentation for using the uArm is a bit sparse it appears, so I may put together another post with more detail on using it in future, but that's all for now.

</Troy McClure voice>