January 2014 Update: PR2Lite moves real arm with Moveit!

PR2Lite has completed its initial migration to Hydro and Moveit! with the help of its new laptop.

The migration after the fix for the mimic joints was installed went smoothly.  The integrated support of moveit with the higher level planner, the lower level planner, rviz, fake joints, mimic joints, the setup assistant, the configuration files, and more makes support for non-PR2 robots much simpler than the older arm navigation in ROS Electric. Having already gone through the learning pains and building some of the necessary infrastructure to get a working arm-navigation from ROS Electric definitely helped the migration go well. Some of the old PR2Lite custom configuration files and PR2Lite controllers overlap the newly provided generic functionality provided by Moveit, but it doesn’t seem to cause any operational issues and provides some improved flexibility at a cost of increased configuration complexity. Including the torso lift as part of PR2Lite’s arm navigation results in much better plans.

In summary, we wish Moveit! had been around a few years ago.

The pr2lite_moveit_config and moveit_pr2lite code for arm navigation has been uploaded to git_hub:

We are now beginning a phase of cleaning up of PR2Lite:
  • replace the old  desktop-based computer with its cumbersome DC-AC converter with the nicer laptop
  • We currently rely mostly on a tethered robot.  We’re about to change that to improve pr2lite mobility.  Unlike the current configuration, we’ll make it easy to be able between switch from battery power and tethered power.  To accomplish this, we’ll use a new DC-AC converter to power the following components that need either a wall-adapter or additional power:
    • the Laptop power adapter
    • the USB power for the hikuyo lidar
    • powered USB3/USB2 hubs for the IMU and microtrollers
    • the power chord of the kinect
    • the power for the Dynamixel servos
    • the power adapter for the neato lidar
    • wireless hub
  • The wheels and the linear actuators will have their own dedicated batteries.
  • add low-battery alarms to avoid silent errors with our linear actuator and wheel drivers
  • clean up the wire mess.
  • continue to improve the reliability of the microcontrollers
  • upgrade the resolution of the wheel encoders

In parallel, we’ll continue to test 2D navigation (hydro version not yet checked in), the new MX-based arm, and more.