Lesson 2, Robonomics AIRA Overview

In this lesson you will learn about Autonomous Intelligent Robot Agent (AIRA).

AIRA is a NixOS-based operating system that implements an economic standard for human-robot and robot-robot interactions. AIRA makes it possible to connect a variety of different robots under decentralized computer control (currently supports Ethereum, Polkadot, and Substrate).

Towards learning how to leverage AIRA, in this lesson, you would install AIRA, ssh into it and interact with it by runnig a simple example.

Part 1: AIRA Installation on VirtualBox


You can follow the procedure mentioned here to install VirtualBox and its extension.

After successfully installing VirtualBox download the WinterSchool AIRA image from here.

Import AIRA to VirtualBox

Open VirtualBox and press Ctrl+I or go to File > Import Applicance... and choose the previously downloaded image to be imported.

AIRA import VB image

Launch the machine

Once the importing is over, press on Start button and you'll see AIRA welcoming you with generated Ethereum address and IPFS identifier

AIRA image ready, Welcome screen

In case of any problems, a detailed walk-through video of this section can be here.

Part 2: Connecting to Aira via SSH

In order to easily interact with AIRA without frequently switching between your host machine and the virtual machine (VM), you can simply ssh to the AIRA, and run everything on AIRA from the terminal on your host machine. Here we show you how to setup a password-less ssh for AIRA.

It's required to have your ssh public key on Github. In case you don't have one, please follow the link

Add Host Adapter

Go to File -> Host Network Manager... or press Ctrl+H

Click on Create button. You should see a new adapter created such as vboxnet#.

Add the adapter to the VM

Select imported VM and click Settings. Go to Network tab and enable the adapter you just created. (e.g. in the figure below the new adapter name is vboxnet1)

Add Second Adapter

Populate Authorized Keys

Launch the VM and run the following command replacing <username> with your Github user name:

mkdir .ssh
chmod 700 .ssh
curl -sSL https://github.com/<username>.keys >> .ssh/authorized_keys

Find out the VM's IP address by running:

ip a

You should look for an address which starts with 192.168.xx.xx

Log in via SSH

Now open your terminal and log in via SSH as usual using the address from the previous step:

ssh root@192.168.xx.xx

In case of any problems, a detailed walk-through video of this section can be here.

Part 3: Interact with AIRA

At this point you should be familiar with a DApp from lesson 1 and also how to launch AIRA image. Now you are ready to do more complicated stuff like installing a package and interacting with it via DApp

Package installation

After you launched AIRA and logged in via SSH using your terminal, run the following commands:

su liability && cd
git clone https://github.com/vourhey/hello_aira
cd hello_aira
nix build -f release.nix
source result/setup.bash
rosrun hello_aira hello_aira

Upon running the last command, you should see a link to DApp generated specifically for your instance.

Terminal with AIRA

Click on the link, the DApp should be shown.


Connect MetaMask if prompted and click on the button

Request connection in Robonomics Dapp

Sign the message and wait for the result

Wait for Result of request

Meanwhile have a look at the terminal. You should see the greeting

AIRA greeting in terminal

At the end, the greeting will appear in the DApp

Robonomics DApp Greeting for AIRA


You click "Request current values" but see no greeting

Probably you have just launched AIRA and IPFS hasn't finished initialization. Wait a minute or so and try again.

I see response hash but the data doesn't appear

Again most probably the issue comes from IPFS connection. Click and the hash and you'll see the result. It's not necessary to download the file.

In case of any problems, a detailed walk-through video of this section can be here.

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