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Tangobot (Android-based autonomous robot)

Dear ROS users,

Have you ever thought of making an Android-based robot, making use of all the great sensors and computational power that phones have, while leveraging all the tools which you already know from the amazing ROS ecosystem? What better than a Tango-powered phone, with it’s added visual odometry system and depth sensing camera?

Ekumen is pleased to announce the Tangobot project: a simple Turtlebot-inspired robot which can do autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance powered entirely by a Tango-capable Android device – readily available from Play Store (but also fully open-sourced on Github).

The main goal of this project is to make it easier for developers to build robot-side ROS applications for Android.
Far from being a complete or fine-tuned solution, it brings together all the components of the standard ROS navigation stack - with the addition of using odometry and depth sensing from Tango - into a single Android application.
The application has been developed in close cooperation with Intermodalics and with support from Google.

The main focus of this initial version was only to make all the components work together.
You can tele-operate the robot as well as have it navigate autonomously around obstacles using an empty map. You can use the existing Android “ROS Map Navigation” app to drive it and have a 100% Android experience.

But this is only the starting point, open for the community to extend and improve. Some ideas for future extensions include: supporting additional mobile bases, configuring mapping and localization using Tango Area Learning or loading existing static maps, coming closer to parity with standard Turtlebot tutorials and developing more client Android applications for interesting use cases of the technology.

In case you are curious and want to hear more, we will be presenting this project at ROSCon as part of the “Developing Android Robots” presentation on Friday at 11:50am.

We hope that interested developers will be able to use this as a starting point to build their own Android robot applications and libraries, or to extend this initial Tangobot configuration with additional readily-available capabilities.

As usual within ROS, this is an open source package available in Github and has a tutorials page available in the ROS Wiki. We welcome bug reports and appreciate contributions.

We hope you will all find this new project useful.

The Ekumen Apps Team