Acquiring a new robot is a very exciting event. A Researcher looks forward to programming it, putting it to work and seeing what it can do. That is not as easy or fast as it sounds. You could spend hours on it before it can even make a movement.
Once it is working, the next stage is to develop software and features and try out a few new ideas you have. This is where you encounter an obstacle. The open system does not admit modifications as that may mean going beyond the robot system’s original capabilities.
Should that happen, you may have to contact the manufacturer and hope they will be open to you accessing their robot software. Alternatively, you will have to go for a new robotic system. That is a lot of time wasted.
To avoid having to waste precious time and effort hitting dead ends, a researcher is better of going for an open-sourced system. These systems come with a huge advantage for researchers since they no longer have to code software from scratch for the robot to function.
The ROS (Robot Operating System)
This is an open-sourced system that is licensed by the BSD. It is a flexible system for writing robot software that offers:
- A fast way to build the capabilities of a robots
- An effective way to maintain a robot’s capabilities
- A sure method of expanding your robot’s abilities
ROS makes it possible for researchers to develop add-ons and introduce other controllers for a variety of more advanced tasks for the robot to perform.
The ROS robot system has become increasingly available over the years. Many more hardware systems are included. Consequently, ROS provides the means for sensing, navigating and manipulating.
Researchers are therefore able to build more complex robots faster than they would otherwise have.
ROS Supports Research Platforms
Working in robotics development is hard work. A researcher has to visualize how a robot is going to operate, say, in a domestic setting. A domestic robot would be expected to clear clutter and most likely pick objects off the floor to place elsewhere. The researcher has to figure out how to develop hardware as well as software from the ground up.
ROS greatly assists in such a scenario because it supports research platforms. It creates a shortcut for researchers to come up with software capabilities faster. This way, they have more time to focus on more advanced research work.
ROS is gaining ground fast with an ever-expanding community. Researchers from a very cooperative community sharing codes freely and working in tandem to provide tools that would make ROS even more effective.
The advantages of ROS robots far outweigh the cons although in the beginning, they may seem overwhelming. This is one of the reasons for the fast growth of ROS. Once they get the hang of it, they quickly realize how useful they are. They are amazed that they are able to use robots to develop solutions for real problems. They are also able to solve complex issues.
ROS is aiding robotics in advancing in fields such as:
- Domestic assistance
- Vehicle and aircraft assembly
- Palletizing solutions
These fields and others have a lot to thank robotics for. As a result, many companies are embracing ROS instead of going for other robotic platforms and losing precious time that could be better used in more advanced research work.
A closed system ends up delaying the process which costs a company time and money. An open-sourced system on the other hand makes short work of assembling and getting the robots started so that other meaningful tasks can take more time. With more robots becoming open, solutions are found fast and more research work can get covered. Then researchers will spend less time trying to figure a bot out and more on finding solutions to bigger issues.