Control Baxter robot with robonomics

Example of how it works:


  • ROS Melodic + Gazebo (installation manual here)
  • extra packages:
sudo apt-get install ros-melodic-gazebo-ros-control ros-melodic-effort-controllers ros-melodic-joint-state-controller python-catkin-tools python3-dev python3-catkin-pkg-modules python3-numpy python3-yaml ros-melodic-cv-bridge
  • IPFS up to 0.6.0 (download from here and install)
  • python packages:
sudo apt-get -y install python3-pip
pip3 install --upgrade pip
  • Robonomics node download latest release here (last tested release v1.1)
  • IPFS browser extension (not necessary)

0. install CV Bridge extension for python3

  • Create catkin workspace
mkdir -p catkin_workspace/src
cd catkin_workspace
catkin init
  • Instruct catkin to set cmake variables. Use your current version of python. For me, it is python3.6:
catkin config -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/python3 -DPYTHON_INCLUDE_DIR=/usr/include/python3.6m -DPYTHON_LIBRARY=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/
catkin config --install
  • Clone cv_bridge src:
git clone src/vision_opencv
  • Find version of cv_bridge in your repository:
apt-cache show ros-melodic-cv-bridge | grep Version
    Version: 1.12.8-0xenial-20180416-143935-0800
  • Checkout right version in git repo. In our case it is 1.12.8:
cd src/vision_opencv/
git checkout 1.12.8
cd ../../
  • Build:
catkin build cv_bridge
  • Extend environment with new package:
source install/setup.bash --extend
  • Test:
$ python3

Python 3.6.9 (default, Jan 26 2021, 15:33:00) 
[GCC 8.4.0] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from cv_bridge.boost.cv_bridge_boost import getCvType

1. Download simulation and controller packages

Download packages:

cd ~
mkdir -p robot_ws/src
cd robot_ws/src
git clone
cd Baxter_simulation_controller
git checkout old_version
pip3 install -r requirements.txt
cd ../..
catkin build -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE=/usr/bin/python3

Don't forget to add source command:

echo "source /home/$USER/robot_ws/devel/setup.bash" >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

2. Start simulation

Let's start gazebo world and put our baxter in it:

roslaunch gazebo_ros empty_world.launch

empty world

Open one more window in terminal:

rosrun gazebo_ros spawn_model -file `rospack find baxter_description`/urdf/baxter.urdf -urdf -z 1 -model baxter

You can put some models in front of our baxter. It will be more interesting.


3.Manage accounts in DAPP

Since we are testing, let us create a local robonomics network with robonomics binary file. Go to folder with robonomics file and run:

./robonomics --dev --tmp --rpc-cors all


Go to Robonomics Parachain portal and switch to local node

local node

Go to Accounts and create Baxter and Employer accounts (Robot is not necessary)

Important! Copy each account's Mnemonic and address (to copy address click on account's icon). Mnemonic is the private key for account. Transfer some money (units) to these accounts:

create account

create account2


Add Baxter's Mnemonic and address to config.yaml in robot_ws/src/Baxter_simulation_controller/config/

4.Start simulation

In new window run:

ifps init #you only need to do this once
ipfs daemon

Open separate terminal and start controller package:

rosrun robot_controller


Now you can send a transaction triggering the Baxter to start moving and collecting data. To do so, you can use the same Robonomics Parachain portal. Go to Developer->Extrinsics and select Baxter's employer account, launch extrinsic, Baxter's account as a target account and yes as a parameter. Submit the extrinsic.


The robot should start moving. It won't accept commands from other accounts neither commands with no parameter. You should see the following:


when the work is over go to the Robonomics Portal to Developer > Chain state. Choose datalog.datalogItem(AccountId,u64) in state query.If you want to show all datalog's, then turn off include option add view Baxter's datalog message using "+" button.


Now the IPFS hash of the telemetry and photos is saved in the blockchain. To see the data simply copy the hash and insert it in the search bar with URL:< put your hash here >


Click View on Gateway and that's all!



previous ← Part 2. Saving Data To Blockchain next Baxter simulation v2.0 →