In traditional robot behavior programming, the edit-compile-simulate-deploy-run cycle creates a large mental disconnect between program creation and eventual robot behavior. This significantly slows down behavior development because there is no immediate mental connection between the program and the resulting behavior. With live programming the development cycle is made extremely tight, realizing such an immediate connection. In our work on programming of ROS robots in a more dynamic fashion through PhaROS, we have experimented with the use of the Live Robot Programming language. This has given rise to a number of requirements for such live programming of robots. In this text we introduce these requirements and illustrate them using an example robot behavior.

This presentation has been given at the DSL Rob Workshop held as part of the SIMPAR 2014 conference (Bergamo, Italy).

In this tutorial we will show you how to programs robot behaviour on using Live Robot Programming over PhaROS.


  1. Follow the steps 1 to 4 of this post.
  2. Create a ROS node that consumes /kompai2/pose and /kompai/scan and publish in /command_velocity. To do this, just executing this:

    LrpharosPackage uniqueInstance
  3. Create an instance of the RobulabBridge class

    RobulabBridge uniqueInstance
  4. To assure that everything is fine, inspect the instance of RobulabBridge and check that its instance variable laserData is not nil and its values change over the time.
  5. Open the LRP UI by right-clicking the World and selecting Live Robot Programming.

Stop when an obstacle is detected

  1. Ok, so now we can start writing the behavior. First we will need some variables, those are: robulab to manage the robot and some constants such as: f_vel as linear velocity, t_vel for angular velocity, and min_distance as the minimum distance between the robot and an obstacle.

    (var robulab := [RobulabBridgr uniqueInstance ])
    (var min_distance := [0.5])
    (var f_vel := [0.25])
    (var t_vel := [0.5])
  2. We define the state machine called Tito.
    What we want to the robot is to go forward unless there is an obstacle in front of it so it should stop and turn to avoid it.
    This could be modelled in a abstractly as two states: forward and avoid.

    (machine Tito
        ;; States
        (state forward
            (onentry [robulab value forward: f_vel value])
        (state stop
            (onentry [robulab value stop])
        ;; Transitions
        (on obstacle forward -> stop t-avoid)
        (on noObstacle avoid -> forward t-forward)
        ;; Events            
        (event obstacle [robulab value isThereAnObstacle: min_distance value])
        (event noObstacle [(robulab value isThereAnObstacle: min_distance value) not])
  3. Finally, to run it, just start the machine on the forward state.
    (spawn Tito forward)

  4. The robot should move linearly and stop when detects an obstacle.

Avoiding obstacles

Let’s add an avoiding behavior. A simple one might be turning until it detects there is no obstacle and go forward again.
Then a simple behavior that match the avoidance requisite is:

  • If the obstacle is in the left side of the front: turn right
  • If the obstacle is in the right side of the front: turn left.

RobotBridge provides two methods to detect obstacles on the left and right part of the front of the robot: RobotBridge>>isThereARightObstacle: and RobotBridge>>isThereALeftObstacle:
Then, the idea is to turn left if there is an obstacle in the front-right, or, turn right if there is an obstacle in the front-left.

  1. Add the following states

            (state turnLeft
                (onentry [robulab value turn: t_vel value])
            (state turnRight
                (onentry [robulab value turn: t_vel value negated])
  2. Add the corresponding transitions

            (on rightObstacle stop -> turnLeft t-lturn)          
            (on leftObstacle stop -> turnRight t-rturn)
            (on noObstacle turnLeft -> stop t-tlstop)
            (on noObstacle turnRight -> stop t-trstop)
  3. And add the events

            (event rightObstacle [robulab value isThereARightObstacle: minDistance value])
            (event leftObstacle [robulab value isThereALeftObstacle: minDistance value])
  4. Now the robot will start turning to avoid the obstacle.


Updated version of LRP it is not necessary to add value after a variable.

    (onentry [robulab value turn: t_vel value negated])

is turned to

    (onentry [robulab turn: t_vel negated])

making it more readable.

Our coordination framework for multi-robot exploration needs to know the current robot’s pose (position and orientation) within the explored map frame.

There are two ways to achieve it:

1 – Using costmap function.

 bool costmap_2d::Costmap2DROS::getRobotPose(tf::Stamped& global_pose) const

2 – Using tf listener.

 geometry_msgs::PoseStamped pose_stamped;

 pose_stamped.header.stamp = ros::Time::now();
 pose_stamped.header.frame_id = tf_prefix + "/" + map_frame;

 pose_stamped.pose.position.x = transform.getOrigin().getX();
 pose_stamped.pose.position.y = transform.getOrigin().getY();
 pose_stamped.pose.position.z = transform.getOrigin().getZ();

 pose_stamped.pose.orientation.x = transform.getRotation().getX();
 pose_stamped.pose.orientation.y = transform.getRotation().getY();
 pose_stamped.pose.orientation.z = transform.getRotation().getZ();
 pose_stamped.pose.orientation.w = transform.getRotation().getW();


A complete implementation of the second method can be found

Both methods need a transform from “map” to “odom” (gmapping can do this).

Our coordination framework will be released after the corresponding paper has been published.

The objective of this tutorial is to be able to create a behaviour for the Robulab described using Live Robot Programming. The LRP program transparently uses PhaROS to communicate with the Robulab.

Let’s do it step by step

  1. Follow the instructions to have Robulab working specified in this tutorial.
  2. Open the image you created on the previous step and download the LRP code1

    Gofer it
        smalltalkhubUser: 'jfabry' project: 'LiveRobotProgramming';
  3. Download the code with the example by executing the following snippet on a workspace:

    Gofer new smalltalkhubUser: 'mcamp' 
        project: 'RobotExperiments'; 
        package: 'LrpharosPackage'; 
  4. Let’s check everything is ok before launching LRP UI:

    • The laptop is connected to UBNT network
    • roscore is running.
    • You have cleaned processes by executing ProcessesCleaner clean.
    • You started the driver node for kompai.
  5. Our example needs a PhaROS node subscribed to /kompai2/pose and another node publishing on /command_velocity, to do so you need to create a instance of LrpharosPackage. Due to the live feature of LRP, it needs to have an unique instance of the package (which contains the nodes).

    LrpharosPackage uniqueInstance 
  6. Open the LRP UI by right-clicking the World and selecting ** Live Robot Programming **. It will open a window like this:

    Live Robot Programming UI

  7. Now, copy&paste the following script into the left pane (You can find it also in LrpharosPackage class>>lrpSimple)

    (var robulab := [LrpharosPackage uniqueInstance])
    (var stop := [0])
    (machine simple
        (state forward
            (onentry [robulab value forward: 0.1])
        (state stop
            (onentry [robulab value stop])
        (state finish
            (onentry [robulab value stop])
        (on forceStop *-> finish t-finish)
        (event forceStop [stop value = 1])
        (ontime 2000 forward -> stop t-f)
        (ontime 1000 stop -> forward t-s)

    It should look something like this

    Forward-Stop machine

  8. Now we are almost close to launch the script. Before that you should be aware to have ways to stop it in an emergency case: have a remote joystick or just switch it off.

  9. To trigger it add the following line at the end of the script:

    (spawn simple forward)

    Et voilà! The robot will start moving forward and then stop as the two steps.

  10. An alternatively way to stop the robot using the LRP UI is by setting the stop variable to 1 in the ** Variables: ** pane.

    Stop the robot by setting stop variable

  11. After stopping the robot, if you want to re-start it you have to click Reset Int. button in the bottom of the left pane.

Any question? Feel free to ask below.


  1. LRP uses Roassal visualization engine for displaying the machines, states and transitions. After LRP is installed, you should run do a few simple steps in order to avoid a small-but-hard-to-solve bug related to fonts. You can fix it in less than 1 minute following the instructions here.

  2. Each time you need to clean the proccesses through ProcessesCleaner clean, the LRP process is terminated. Then you have to close the window after doing it.

  3. Everytime you create a kompai node (through PureROS new scriptKompai1 or scriptKompai2) you should then reset the LRP singleton by executing:

    LrpharosPackage reset.

    This way the LrpharosPackage instance will be bound to the correct kompai node.

In this tutorial you will be able to get the laser and odometry data from a Robulab robot published into ROS topics.


You must ensure to meet all the requirements listed in the section Setup in Testing Robulab‘s post.


  1. Create a fresh PhaROS image by executing in a terminal:

    $ pharos create newimage
  2. Open the image. This will open Pharo IDE.

    $ rosrun newimage edit
  3. For ease Proxy (de)activation and Process cleaning (stoping & terminating PhaROS nodes), we recommend you to install the CAR shortcuts workspace: open a workspace, copy&paste the following script, select it completely and Do-it:

    Gofer new smalltalkhubUser: 'PabloEstefo' 
        project: 'ExperimentUtils'; 
        package: 'Experiment-Utils'; 
    (Smalltalk at: #EUWorkspace) open.
  4. It will open a new workspace titled CAR Utils that will have the following shortcuts:

    • ProxySwitch on to activate HTTP proxy

    • ProxySwitch off to deactivate it

    • ProcessesCleaner clean to terminate all non-critical processes. This will terminate any PhaROS node running. It is useful when you edit some script and want to relaunch it.

  5. Then install the required software for controlling Robulab robot by selecting and Do-it the following script on an empty workspace:

    Gofer it  
        smalltalkhubUser: 'CAR' 
        project: 'Robulab'; 
        configurationOf: 'PureROS'; 
    ((Smalltalk at: #ConfigurationOfPureROS) project version: #bleedingEdge) load: {'kompai'}.


  1. Start roscore: in a terminal execute

    $ roscore

  2. Start the main script driver for Robulab1:

    1. On the CAR Utils workspace, select and Do-it ProxySwith off to deactivate HTTP Proxy

    2. Write in a workspace & Do-it the following script:

    PureROSKompai new scriptKompai1

    In case you are using the Kompai2 Robulab, launch the script scriptKompai2 instead.

  3. Let’s see which topics are available. To do so, in a terminal execute:

    $ rostopic list

    and you should see

  4. Ok, now we know that laser (/kompai/scan) and pose (/kompai2/pose) topics exist, let’s inspect the data the robot is publishing into those topics. First we will see pose data by executing:

    $ rostopic echo /kompai2/pose

    and you should see something like this:

      seq: 65593
        secs: 1407481583
        nsecs: 757790000
      frame_id: /map
        x: 0.0
        y: 0.0
        z: 0.0
        x: 0.0
        y: 0.0
        z: 0.0
        w: 1.0
  5. The same way, let’s inspect laser data by executing:

    $ rostopic echo /kompai/scan

    and you will see something like this:

      seq: 529
        secs: 1407331004
        nsecs: 244896000
      frame_id: /laser
    angle_min: -2.36492109299
    angle_max: 2.34746789932
    angle_increment: 0.0174532923847
    time_increment: 0.0
    scan_time: 0.0
    range_min: 0.170000001788
    range_max: 3.80999994278
    ranges: [0.17000000178813934, 2.109999895095825, 2.109999895095825, 3.809999942779541, 3.7899999618530273, 3.740000009536743, 3.7100000381469727, 3.6700000762939453, 3.630000114440918, 1.9500000476837158, 1.909999966621399, 1.8899999856948853, 1.8799999952316284, 1.8700000047683716, 1.5299999713897705, 1.5299999713897705, 1.5099999904632568, 1.5, 1.4900000095367432, 1.4700000286102295, 1.4700000286102295, 1.4500000476837158, 1.4600000381469727, 1.4500000476837158, 1.4299999475479126, 1.4199999570846558, 1.4199999570846558, 1.5499999523162842, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7100000381469727, 1.7100000381469727, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7000000476837158, 1.690000057220459, 1.7000000476837158, 1.690000057220459, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7100000381469727, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7000000476837158, 1.7100000381469727, 1.7100000381469727, 1.7100000381469727, 1.7300000190734863, 1.7300000190734863, 1.7300000190734863, 1.7400000095367432, 1.7400000095367432, 1.75, 1.7599999904632568, 1.7699999809265137, 1.7799999713897705, 1.7899999618530273, 1.7999999523162842, 1.809999942779541, 1.8300000429153442, 1.840000033378601, 1.850000023841858, 1.8799999952316284, 1.8899999856948853, 1.899999976158142, 1.9299999475479126, 0.699999988079071, 0.6499999761581421, 0.6200000047683716, 0.6100000143051147, 0.5899999737739563, 0.5899999737739563, 0.5600000023841858, 0.5899999737739563, 0.5899999737739563, 0.5899999737739563, 0.5699999928474426, 0.5699999928474426, 0.5699999928474426, 0.5699999928474426, 0.5799999833106995, 0.6399999856948853, 2.059999942779541, 2.069999933242798, 2.059999942779541, 2.0799999237060547, 2.0899999141693115, 2.0999999046325684, 2.0899999141693115, 0.8899999856948853, 0.8799999952316284, 0.8999999761581421, 2.4800000190734863, 2.430000066757202, 2.390000104904175, 2.359999895095825, 2.3299999237060547, 2.2899999618530273, 2.259999990463257, 2.2300000190734863, 2.200000047683716, 2.1700000762939453, 2.1500000953674316, 1.0499999523162842, 1.0099999904632568, 0.9900000095367432, 0.9700000286102295, 0.9700000286102295, 0.949999988079071, 0.9399999976158142, 0.949999988079071, 0.9599999785423279, 2.0199999809265137, 2.009999990463257, 2.0, 1.9800000190734863, 1.9800000190734863, 1.9700000286102295, 1.9600000381469727, 1.940000057220459, 1.9500000476837158, 1.9500000476837158, 1.940000057220459, 1.9299999475479126, 1.940000057220459, 1.9299999475479126, 2.630000114440918, 3.690000057220459, 3.690000057220459, 3.700000047683716, 3.690000057220459, 3.700000047683716, 3.7100000381469727, 3.7200000286102295, 3.7200000286102295, 3.7200000286102295, 3.7200000286102295, 3.740000009536743, 3.7699999809265137, 3.7300000190734863, 2.7200000286102295, 2.5, 2.319999933242798, 2.1700000762939453, 1.9299999475479126, 1.909999966621399, 1.7999999523162842, 1.7100000381469727, 1.6299999952316284, 1.559999942779541, 1.4900000095367432, 1.409999966621399, 1.350000023841858, 1.2799999713897705, 1.2400000095367432, 1.2300000190734863, 1.2400000095367432, 1.25, 1.2699999809265137, 1.2699999809265137, 1.2999999523162842, 1.309999942779541, 1.3300000429153442, 1.350000023841858, 1.3600000143051147, 1.3799999952316284, 1.399999976158142, 1.4199999570846558, 1.440000057220459, 1.5, 2.369999885559082, 2.319999933242798, 2.2799999713897705, 2.240000009536743, 2.2100000381469727, 2.1600000858306885, 2.140000104904175, 2.0999999046325684, 2.059999942779541, 2.0299999713897705, 2.009999990463257, 1.9800000190734863, 1.940000057220459, 1.9800000190734863, 2.0299999713897705, 2.0799999237060547, 2.1500000953674316, 2.2200000286102295, 2.2699999809265137, 1.4700000286102295, 1.4800000190734863, 2.700000047683716, 2.6700000762939453, 2.6600000858306885, 2.6500000953674316, 2.609999895095825, 2.5999999046325684, 2.5799999237060547, 2.569999933242798, 2.549999952316284, 2.5299999713897705, 2.509999990463257, 2.509999990463257, 2.5, 2.4800000190734863, 2.4700000286102295, 2.4700000286102295, 2.450000047683716, 2.4600000381469727, 2.430000066757202, 2.430000066757202, 2.430000066757202, 2.430000066757202, 2.4200000762939453, 2.430000066757202, 2.4200000762939453, 2.4100000858306885, 2.4100000858306885, 2.4000000953674316, 2.4100000858306885, 2.4100000858306885, 2.440000057220459, 2.5199999809265137, 2.5199999809265137, 2.5299999713897705, 2.5199999809265137, 2.25, 2.1600000858306885, 2.0299999713897705, 1.899999976158142, 1.899999976158142, 1.909999966621399, 1.8700000047683716, 1.9600000381469727, 1.9900000095367432, 2.0199999809265137, 1.840000033378601, 1.75, 1.6399999856948853, 1.5700000524520874, 1.5, 1.4299999475479126, 1.3700000047683716, 1.309999942779541, 1.25, 1.2100000381469727, 1.1699999570846558, 1.1200000047683716, 1.090000033378601, 1.059999942779541, 1.0299999713897705, 1.0700000524520874, 1.0800000429153442, 1.100000023841858, 1.1100000143051147, 1.1200000047683716, 1.1299999952316284, 1.149999976158142, 1.1799999475479126, 1.190000057220459, 1.2000000476837158, 1.2100000381469727, 1.2300000190734863, 1.25, 1.2699999809265137, 1.2999999523162842, 1.3200000524520874, 1.350000023841858, 1.3799999952316284, 1.409999966621399, 1.440000057220459, 1.4700000286102295]
    intensities: []

In this tutorial we will make basic tests to assert that both the robulab robot and the laptop are configured correctly. We will consider as well configured if we can start a PhaROS node that handle robulab robot, so we can publish motion messages through rostopic pub command and make it to move.


  1. Robulab charged and switched on.
  2. Laptop with Ubuntu 14.04
  3. ROS Indigo installed on laptop (Read: How to install ROS Indigo in Ubuntu 14.04)
  4. Your .bashrc file you should look like this:

    source /opt/ros/indigo/setup.bash
    source ~/PhaROS-ws/devel/setup.bash
  5. PhaROS installed (Read: How to Install PhaROS).

  6. Robot should be unplugged and free to move.

Ok, lets test it

  1. Create a package for testing the robulab. In a terminal run (this could take a couple of minutes):

    $ pharos create testrobulab
  2. Open the Pharo image of your PhaROS package by running this:

    $ rosrun testrobulab edit
  3. Install the required software to controll Robulab by executing this script.

    Gofer it  
        smalltalkhubUser: 'CAR' 
        project: 'Robulab'; 
        configurationOf: 'PureROS'; 
    ((Smalltalk at: #ConfigurationOfPureROS) project version: #bleedingEdge) load: {'kompai'}.
  4. Connect your laptop to UBNT wireless network.

  5. Start ROS by running roscore in a terminal.

    $ roscore

    If everything goes fine it should print something like this:

    started roslaunch server http://achao:56856/
    ros_comm version 1.11.3
     * /rosdistro: <...>
     * /rosversion: <...>
    auto-starting new master
    process[master]: started with pid [4073]
    setting /run_id to 6e36ef46-005d-11e4-ac41-b8ee65bb26b0
    process[rosout-1]: started with pid [4086]
    started core service [/rosout]

    Where achao is the hostname of the laptop I am using.

  6. Be sure that the Pharo image has not http proxy set, or if it has, they are coherent with your network configuration. To deactivate it you can just execute this in a workspace:

    NetworkSystemSettings useHTTPProxy: false
  7. Open a workspace and execute:

    PureROSKompai new scriptKompai1

    change it to scriptKompai2 if you are using Robulab2. This will create a PhaROS node that you can check by executing:

    $ rosnode list

    and you would see

  8. Let’s check the available topics to publish, in a terminal execute:

    $ rostopic list

    and the list of topics should be:

  9. Let’s publish some motion message in /command_velocity. For that lets use the command pub for rostopic which has the following structure: rostopic pub <topic id> <topic type> <message> command. Press [TAB] key to autocomplete: topic id, topic type and get message template.

    $ rostopic pub /command_velocity geometry_msgs/Twist "linear:
      x: 0.0
      y: 0.0
      z: 0.0
      x: 0.0
      y: 0.0
      z: 0.5"   

And the robot will start to rotate. If so you are done :)

Recently, our research team tested a new robotics simulator named STDR Simulator. The simulator natively supports ROS Hydro, but we have still successfully installed it on ROS Groovy. Here is our installation record, hoping to help someone. (This record is also released on

1. Get stdr_simulator from Github

Since stdr_simulator is a catkin package, you will need a catkin workspace in order to build the package from source. If you don’t already have a catkin workspace, you will find details in this ros tutorial.

cd your_catkin_ws/src
git clone

NOTE: on Ubuntu 13.04 (raring), where Qt5 is installed by default, you need to specify the path to qmake-qt4 when you invoke catkin_make:

catkin_make -DQT_QMAKE_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/qmake-qt4

2. Get cmake_modules for Groovy from Github

cmake_modules is a common repository for CMake Modules which are not distributed with CMake but are commonly used by ROS packages. You will need this package to solve some problems such as stdr_parser: Could not find module FindTinyXML.cmake.

git clone

3. Get a catkin version map_server

You need to get a Groovy compatible catkin map_server package for compiling stdr_server and stdr_gui package: map_server. Then put it in your_catkin_ws/src

4. Build the simulator

Assuming you are still in your_catkin_ws/src directory:

cd ..

5. Possible problems in header or library path with map_server

Error 1: stdr_server/map_loader.h:32:37: fatal error: map_server/image_loader.h: No such file or directory

The easiest way to solve this error is that just replace #include “map_server/image_loader.h” by #include “the_absolute_path_of/map_server/image_loader.h” in stdr_server/map_loader.h file.

Error 2: /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -limage_loader


sudo ln -s /opt/ros/groovy/stacks/navigation/map_server/lib/ /usr/lib/