biotac_driver repository

Repository Summary

Checkout URI
VCS Type git
VCS Version hydro
Last Updated 2014-08-06
CI status No Continuous Integration
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Contributing Help Wanted (0)
Good First Issues (0)
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Name Version
biotac_driver 0.1.0
biotac_log_parser 0.1.0
biotac_logger 0.1.0
biotac_sensors 0.1.0
cheetah_lib 0.1.0
rosjson_time 0.1.0




Biotac low level driver and ROS nodes from UPenn's biotac_stack contained in the Penn-haptics-bolt repository (

The following instructions are from the file in the Penn-haptics-bolt respository. For more details also look at the UPenn Haptics group's wiki page:


Cheetah USB rules

In order to be able to read the Biotac data via the Cheetah SPI-USB board you first have to copy the udev rules

  1. Download the Cheetah SPI board drivers from

  2. Unzip the folder unzip

  3. Copy the udev rules sudo cp tp-usb-drivers-v2.10/linux/99-totalphase.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/

ROS package installation

After copying the Cheetah udev rules you can download and compile the ROS package. Also make sure you have a working catkin workspace (look at the ROS tutorials).

Download the package to the catkin workspace:

cd ~/catkin_ws/src/
git clone -b <ros_distro>

Where <ros-distro> can be the groovy or hydro branch.

Otherwise you can use ROS's wstool:

cd ~/catkin_ws/src/
wstool init
wstool set biotac_driver --git -v <ros_distro>
wstool update biotac_driver

Then compile the workspace:

cd ~/catkin_ws && catkin_make

Electrical connections

(Try for this order, but it doesn't really matter) 1. Plug the biotac sensors into the Multi-BioTac board

  1. Plug the +5V nano-USB cable into the MBTB and your computer's USB

  2. Plug the Cheetah's 10 pin ribbon cable into the MBTB

  3. Plug the Cheetah's USB into your computer's USB port

Running the ROS nodes

  1. To start reading the sensors rosrun biotac_sensors biotac_pub

  2. Check to make sure your sensors are working: rostopic echo biotac_pub

  3. Then to log some data in JSON form: rosrun biotac_logger _filename:=trial_001.json

Matlab GUI

Please see the Penn Bolt Wiki for instructions on how to use the GUI


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