Interest for a ROS2 Study and Robotics Concepts group (free)

Hi robotics enthusiastics! Is there any interest for a ROS2 Study and Robotics Concepts group (free)? There are so many opportunities to learn and work on ROS1 projects, but there are less for ROS2. Also, most learning platforms teach only basic concepts like topics, nodes, publishers/subscribers, services and omit totally navigation, manipulation, perception, AI and DevOps concepts, which are essential in robotics and research. Furthermore, most of them utilize Python, which is suitable for non real-time applications and rapid prototyping. Therefore, the group would focus on both Python and C++.

The requirements to participate, would be to have some basic knowledge in ROS1 or/and ROS2 and some practical experience with gazebo and RViz. This doesn’t mean that someone has to be an advanced or expert in ROS (I am also not an expert), but he/she should have some experience with the robotics framework. For example, someone could have gained knowledge from the ROS tutorial ROS 2 Documentation — ROS 2 Documentation: Foxy documentation, or has worked out a course like the Hello (Real) World with ROS from EDX (very good to get some practical experience in ROS1 and basic robotics concepts). In addition, it would be nice if the members have some basic experience with platforms like GitHub or Bitbucket for future project contributions.

To sum up, the group would focus on ROS2 and robotics concepts, but also on advanced topics like humanoid robots, mobile manipulators, robot fleets, drones and web interfaces. It wouldn’t be a group for people who don’t have any experience in ROS and programming. The members could communicate with each other for example via discord or slack.

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Really excited for this learning group. May I know how I can join the same?

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Hi @lonebots nice to read that there is someone interested in. If more people like this idea, then I can create a slack or discourd channel. If somebody else has a better idea for a communication platform and also has to suggest more ideas i.e. topics and group activities, feel free to post them. Furthermore, you can ask friends with a specific background if they would like to participate, too. Everyone who meets the requirements mentioned earlier is welcome to join.

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I would also be very interested in joining, as I am experiencing some of the same “gaps” in reference material going from novice and onwards. To be fair, I don’t think this is a ROS specific problem, and I think most domains experience similar uphill learning curves. But it is definitely helpful when others document and structure their learning experiences, and I see a great potential for a study group to contribute in this direction.

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Any example how this would look like if it ends up happening? Has there been a similar group for ROS1?

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If the times work out (I’m in Israel) I’d also love to participate in such a group :slight_smile:

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Hi guys! I’m glad to read that this idea is getting more and more interest and participants.

@lonebots If this group actually gets created you will be informed as soon as possible.

@jakobbak This is exactly the reason why I have suggested this kind of group. I totally agree with you, this is not a ROS specific problem, and thus there are still not many groups out there. However, there are still not many people who are able to work on robotics projects in an advanced manner e.g. simulating a mobile manipulator in a factory or simulating drone fleets which complete a specific task. Even, NASA has not many people in this area and thus they post from time to time also job offerings on LinkedIn. In my opinion, having such a group would provide the opportunity on one side to improve complex skills in robotics and on the other side to improve teamwork which is essential even if you want to work remotely or in a company.

@parzival Maybe, there are some groups for ROS1, but I don’t believe that it makes much sense to improve ROS1 skills, if you have some experience in ROS. ROS1 is deprecated and will not be for long supported. The idea switching to a DDS gives much more opportunities, to let robots act themselves for example in a fleet or to act in real-time. Nevertheless, there are still many things to improve and people do a great job to achieve this e.g. Nav2.

@abrown This would be not a problem, and that is the advantage of an online learning group by using platforms. You have to consider, that most of us live in a different country (I live in Greece) and have also other private things to do. This doesn’t mean that group members don’t have to participate at all, since it’s a free group (otherwise this group would also make no sense), but at least once or twice a month participation should be possible. But these are all details which we can discuss when we actually create this group. To be honest, I have no desire to participate in a group that is in the end never active.

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This sounds interesting to me as well. I hope it turns out to be feasible; I’ll stay tuned…

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My question was to understand the effectiveness of such a group :slight_smile:

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In my opinion, the group would increase the effectiveness, because the members could fill knowledge gaps in robotics concepts related to ROS2 and also improve their teamwork skills. Furthermore, as mentioned before, the participants could apply the new knowledge on projects in the future to complete some complex tasks e.g. drone fleets. The main advantage of such a group is that you get a solid understanding of ROS2 concepts by exchanging knowledge, meet new people in this field and build a portfolio which you can showcase to get a job in this field (this is a consideration for the future dependent on the activity of the group). Not to be misunderstood these are just my suggestions, thus I am looking forward also to read others.

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Hi @Steve_Billings I’m glad that you also like the idea. Please, feel free to make further suggestions as well :slightly_smiling_face:.

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Hi @robo_mike , I do find I learn a lot by working through projects (actually building software that does something), but I think that is already at the core of your idea.

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I totally agree with you @Steve_Billings that working hands-on is the best way to learn (i.e. learning by doing). As you realized right, this is planned for the future :). One of my suggestion is to divide the group in sub topics i.e. ROS2 Basics, ROS2 Advanced & Expert, Robotics Hardware, Robotics Simulation, Perception, Manipulation, Navigation, Advanced Robotics Concepts, Hands-On and so on. In that way we would have channels for the theory and for practical applications separately.

EDIT:
I forgot to mention that I would also suggest a channel for Robotics Design e.g. in Fusion 360, FreeCad etc. because building a URDF from scratch (despite using xacro) is cumbersome and you can’t create complex shapes.

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I would be interested in the group.

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Hello Mike,

I would love to join this group.

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Hello guys, it is pleasant to observe that the interest for the creation of the learning group increases. Do you have any other ideas for a communication platform except of slack and discord? Nevertheless, which one of these would you prefer? Furthermore, I would like to read more suggestions on how we could struct the channels and the overall group. Feel free, to post any idea you have. We are just doing a brain-storming and filter out at the end which one we will use.

At first, I would suggest to determine the knowledge of the group in ROS, ROS2, robotics algorithms, programming languages (Python or/and C++ and versions e.g. for C++ → C++11, C++14 and so on), Gazebo & RViz, etc. Then we could work out a small start up project to work hands-on and learn in parallel. Do you like this consideration or do you have something else to introduce?

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Yeah @robo_mike, I would totally agree with your idea about the starter projects before that lets conduct a meeting (online/offline) online preferably for getting to know each other and from there on we could start and decide further things. I think discord would be a better choice for meetings(personal preference). We could start of with the basics as there would be people who are really interested to know things from the beginning. We can also go for sceduling regular meeting on weekly or monthly basis to share oir progress among the group and help others who are stuck. Hope we can kick start this very soon.

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Right @lonebots

before that lets conduct a meeting (online/offline) online preferably for getting to know each other and from there on we could start and decide further things.

This is a very good opportunity to break the ice, determine the level of knowledge and the countries where each of us resides (to find an average solution for time differences).

We can also go for sceduling regular meeting on weekly or monthly basis to share oir progress among the group and help others who are stuck.

This is already considered :slight_smile:

EDIT
It is very important not to work competitively with each other. Those people should be warned and banned in the following if they aim something else. Being kind and supportive is a major skill in team working which a lot of people don’t have.

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Yes @robo_mike, this is really important and I totally agree with you. When can we arrange the initial ice breaker session. Before that how can we get a rough number and details of the interested people to on board them to a common communication platform?

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Hi @lonebots, there should be more people to arrange an introduction session. At present, we are only eight people. I’m not sure if that makes sense to create this group with so few people. Therefore, we should wait a little more. Do you agree?