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Building ROS Nodes


VOXL ships with the voxl-utils and voxl-nodes package pre-installed alongside ROS Indigo so you can start developing with ROS right away.

You can choose to compile ROS nodes either directly on-target (on VOXL), or in the voxl-emulator docker on a host PC and then push the compiled application onto the VOXL (see voxl-emulator for more info).

Building on VOXL

1) Prerequisite: you will need to have ros-indigo-build-deps installed to build ROS nodes directly on VOXL. This is not necessary when building in the voxl-emulator docker image.

2) ADB or ssh into VOXL and go to your VOXL’s home directory. This assumes you have followed the previous setup pages in this manual to get ADB and/or ssh working.

me@mylaptop:~$ adb shell


voxl2:/$ cd ~/

3) make a new catkin workspace and initialize it with catkin_make

voxl2:~$ mkdir -p catkin_ws/src
voxl2:~$ cd catkin_ws
voxl2:~/catkin_ws$  catkin_make

4) Make a new node source directory in the src folder. Here we use the VOXL time-of-flight node as an example.

voxl2:~/catkin_ws$ cd src
voxl2:~/catkin_ws/src$ git clone
voxl2:~/catkin_ws/src$ ls
CMakeLists.txt  tof_cam_ros
voxl2:~/catkin_ws/src$ cd ../

5) Build!

voxl2:~/catkin_ws$ catkin_make install

6) This installed the newly built ROS node to ~/catkin_ws/install which should be part of your ROS_PACKAGE_PATH if you have voxl-utils installed and it is sourced by the ~/ script. Check to confirm

voxl2:~/catkin_ws$ exec bash
voxl2:~/catkin_ws$ env | grep "ROS_PACKAGE_PATH"

7) Now you can launch your new ROS node! Note the tof_cam_ros node will fail to start unless you have a TOF sensor installed on VOXL.

voxl2:~/catkin_ws$ cd ../
voxl2:~$ rospack list | grep tof_cam_ros
tof_cam_ros /home/root/catkin_ws/install/share/tof_cam_ros

voxl2:~$ roslaunch tof_cam_ros tof.launch

Building in voxl-emulator Docker Image

You can build a ROS node in the voxl-emulator docker image following the same steps as you did for building on the VOXL itself. However, the process of getting the built package onto the VOXL itself will be different.

The voxl-nodes package and it’s README file provide a great example of how to do this. We recommend copying this project and swapping out the nodes in catkin_ws/src for your own and working from there. It includes instructions on how to build and helper scripts for making a package and installing on VOXL.