Robots get their own operating system

Any day now. Any day now, the robots will put it all together and take us down.  Especially since they can interact with each other now.

“It blows my mind to see robots collaborating like this,” says William Townsend, CEO of Barrett Technology, which developed WAM.

The one thing we have going for us against our future overlords is that most robots are developed in isolation, the equivalent of every computer manufacturer having its own operating system.  In short, there is no Windows for robots.  But that’s about to change.

“The Robot Operating System or ROS is an open-source set of programs meant to serve as a common platform for a wide range of robotics research. It is being developed and used by teams at Stanford University in California, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Technical University of Munich, Germany, among others.

“ROS has software commands that, for instance, provide ways of controlling a robot’s navigation, and its arms, grippers and sensors, without needing details of how the hardware functions. The system also includes high-level commands for actions like image recognition and even opening doors. When ROS boots up on a robot’s computer, it asks for a description of the robot that includes things like the length of its arm segments and how the joints rotate. It then makes this information available to the higher-level algorithms.”

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