World Wide Web, such as through applications-layer robotics protocols.
We posit that the convergence of robotics with Internet and Web
technologies will lead to a thriving robotics ecosystem with greater
levels of reproducibility, interoperability, and accessibility. Broader
populations of users and applications developers will be able to use
and create “apps” that address various needs across society, while
building on continuing advances in robotics research and development.
Currently, other than online videos, the impact of the great
achievements and capabilities in robotics remains relatively limited to
robotics research labs. Robotics has made great strides in producing a
variety of capable and affordable off-the-shelf platforms comprised of
physically capable hardware, richer perception of unstructured
environments, and general purpose robot middleware. However, these
robots lack a common and general format for exchanging information that
both limits interoperability between systems and accessibility of
interfaces for developing applications for broader
In this talk, I will cover our recent work with rosbridge as a
lightweight applications-layer protocol for robotics. Assuming only the
JSON format and network sockets, rosbridge was originally intended to
enable any network process (independent of any specific operating
system or build environment) to access, share topic messages with, and
call services provided by a Robot Operating System (ROS) run-time
environment. More generally, rosbridge is a step towards a larger
robotics World Wide Web, where protocols provide generic messaging and
data exchange between robots and robot middleware provides server-side
functionality (analogous to a web server).
Using rosbridge, I describe our robot web applications implemented
Remote Lab. Such applications demonstrate “no-install” interfaces for
reaching broader populations of users as well as platforms for common
decentralized experimentation. I will also discuss examples of improved interoperability in robotics projects enabled by rosbridge.