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Robots to Get Their Own Operating System

By New Scientist

August 12, 2009

Robots are limited by the fact that they are often designed and built in isolation for specific functions, and roboticists have started to consider what aspects of their manufacture can be standardized in the hope of developing a universal operating system (OS).

"Robotics is at the stage where personal computing was about 30 years ago," says Brown University's Chad Jenkins. "But at some point we have to come together to use the same resources." It is almost impossible for robots to share code without a common OS.

Teams at Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Technical University of Munich, Germany, are developing and using the Robot Operating System (ROS), an open source series of programs designed to function as a common platform for a wide spectrum of robotics research. ROS features software commands that, among other things, offer robotic navigation and limb/sensor controls without needing details of how the hardware operates.

The operating system also boasts high-level commands for such actions as image recognition and even opening doors. With a common OS, robotics researchers would be able to concentrate on reproducibility.
From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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