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TechRepublic: The hottest thing in robotics is an open source project you've never heard of

With discussion at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21997755

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Never heard of that thing… what is it?

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Yes Loy, what are you on about? What is a ROS?
Oh and b.t.w. Thilo:

Looks like you should be even more active on all forms of social media than you already are :stuck_out_tongue: haha

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Good questio…

What is ROS?

even better question, how come its so widely used, yet the confrences are so small… last year ROSCON japan and france, didnt attract 300 professionals combined…?

If its so common among robotic profesionals, why so little attendance?

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Both ROSCon JP and ROSCon FR are local conferences for their respective countries, dealing with a still rather niche area (open-source robotics software), so it is not surprising that they don’t have a huge attendence.

The global ROSCon attracted nearly 600 people last year, which is similar to the number of attendees that PyCon was attracting 10 years ago. I think this is an impressive number given that the field of potential attendees is smaller (I think there are probably far less robotics engineers in the world than Python programmers).

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ROS-Industrial Conference in Stuttgart, Germany, could also attract “only” 150 people in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Such events are just very technical and (so far) we do not attract much more people. But who knows, maybe we need to book the Mercedes-Benz Arena (football stadium) in 2030 for the event …

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“ROS”? But it is not a robot nor an operating system. who names this stuff?:thinking:

Varies by region? IEEE ROS 2 Summit in Taipei had 570 developers, Taiwan ROS Summer School had 200.

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The summer schools in China get hundreds of attendees every year as well, seemingly without effort.

Of course there is a difference between knowing a conference’s subject, knowing that there is a conference and actually attending a conference. If I had the time & money I’d visit much more conferences than I currently do.
My guess is that since the Python community is so much larger than ROS’s, ROSCon has a much higher turnout ratio.

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I didn’t meet anyone in the robotics field who didn’t hear of ROS, even if they don’t use it (maybe my pool of samples is just too biased though :P). However, as Geoffrey pointed out, robotics is still a growing, but comparatively small field. Sure, IROS/ICRA grew a lot in the last 10 years, but just check out computer vision conferences since 2012…

And honestly, I am thrilled by these consistently high numbers of attendees at worldwide ROS-related events. In 2007 we organized a Player summer school in Munich, when Player was already quite established, and I don’t remember there being this many & large events. Such a list was considered long back then: http://playerstage.sourceforge.net/wiki/PlayerUsers (maybe now a “could be using ROS but don’t” list would be shorter :P). Then in 2010 we organized a ROS Fall School, where it was still about getting people on board. Then ROSCon started in 2012, and now there are regional conferences, tons of events, etc.

The title is just clickbait for non-roboticists, in the field ROS does not need an introduction, which is amazing progress! Keep up the great work :slight_smile: