the Robot Construction Kit

Adding a Joystick into the Mix

Tutorial Info

This tutorial will give you some hands-on experience on:

  • How to find a ‘standard’ Rock package that provides a port X,
  • how to install the package and
  • how to create a small control loop by attaching a Joystick to our rolling rock task.

Finding a standard task that provides a port X.

We are using an existing task of the rock-robotics framework and the task from the previous tutorial, so we don’t have to implement anything.

In order to get our control, we need a task that supplies us with ‘base::commands::Motion2D’ (note that this type is equivalent to ‘base::MotionCommand2D’ which you will find in some older components).

As we want to integrate a joystick, we require controldev::JoystickTask, which produces ‘base::commands::Motion2D’. In order to install the package to your installation, either do

amake drivers/orogen/controldev

which will install the current version of the package, but not update / build it later. To permanently integrate it into your whole installation, you have to edit the manifest file.

Integration of the task

Now that we have found a task that supplies the needed motion commands, we need to integrate it into our run script. Therefore we modify the last runscript by adding a joystick driver to it. As we know from the package directory, the ‘controldev’ package provides a tasks for our purpose. To find out which exact task we can use, we call

oroinspect -t controldev

This returns us an output of every installed task that is defined controldev. The interesting part of the output is in our case this :

Task name:  controldev::JoystickTask
defined in controldev
---------------------------------------------------------- g
------- controldev::JoystickTask ------
A Task that provides a joystick driver
subclass of controldev::GenericTask (the superclass elements are displayed below)
No dynamic ports
  device:/std/string: Path to the joystick device
  maxRotationSpeed:/double: Maximum rotation speed in rad/s
  maxSpeed:/double: Maximum translation speed in m/s
  minRotationSpeed:/double: Minimum rotation speed in rad/s
  minSpeed:/double: Minimum translation speed in m/s
No attributes
No operations

This output tells us that there is a task ‘controldev::JoystickTask’, which has an output port with the name ‘motion_command’ of the type ‘/base/commands/Motion2D’. So it fits exactly our needs.

Knowing this, we can now modify the script from the previous tutorial (copy it to scripts/rockTutorial2.rb):

require 'orocos'
require 'readline'
include Orocos

## Initialize orocos ##

## Execute the task ## 'rock_tutorial::RockControlTutorial' => 'rock_tutorial_control',
     'controldev::JoystickTask' => 'joystick' do
    ## Get the specific task context ##
    rockControl = Orocos.name_service.get 'rock_tutorial_control'
    joystick = Orocos.name_service.get 'joystick'

    ## Connect the ports ##
    joystick.motion_command.connect_to rockControl.motion_command

    ## Set some properties ##
    joystick.device = "/dev/input/js0" # this might be another port

    ## Configure the tasks ##

    ## Start the tasks ##

    Readline::readline("Press Enter to exit\n") do

This script is quite the same as the script from the previous tutorial, but with some improvements. As you can see, we execute a second Task named ‘joystick’, besides the ‘rock_tutorial’ task.

Furthermore, we acquire a handle to the JoystickTask. Then we connect the output port ‘motion_command’ of the task ‘joystick’ to the equally named input port of the task ‘rockControl’. The task ‘joystick’ of course uses the joystick input to generate motion commands. In the next step, we could set a property named ‘device’ of the task ‘joystick’. Like that, we can set a string which is the local device of the joystick on your machine. Next, we configure the ‘joystick’ task with the command ‘joystick.configure’. Finally, we start all the tasks.

Run it

You can now simply run it by executing

    ruby rockTutorial2.rb

And in another console:

    rock-display rock_tutorial_control

Again, with a right-click on the pose port, you can start the visualization and enjoy commanding around the robot with the joystick.