rxros repository

Repository Summary

Checkout URI https://github.com/rosin-project/rxros.git
VCS Type git
VCS Version master
Last Updated 2019-11-10
Dev Status DEVELOPED
Released RELEASED

Packages

Name Version
rxros 0.1.0
rxros_tf 0.1.0

README

RxROS

Introduction

RxROS is new API for ROS based on the paradigm of reactive programming. Reactive programming is an alternative to callback-based programming for implementing concurrent message passing systems that emphasizes explicit data flow over control flow. It makes the message flow and transformations of messages easy to capture in one place. It eliminates problems with deadlocks and understanding how callbacks interact. It helps you to make your nodes functional, concise, and testable. RxROS aspires to the slogan ‘concurrency made easy’.

Contents

Setup and installation

In order to make use of this software you must install one of the following ROS distributions on your computer:

  • ROS Melodic Morenia, or
  • ROS Kinetic Kame

RxROS

RxROS is installed using the following command (in Ubuntu and Debian, for ROS Melodic and Kinetic):

# for ROS Kinetic replace 'melodic' with 'kinetic'
sudo apt install ros-melodic-rxros

To start using RxROS create a package in your Catkin workspace which depends on the rxros package:

# make sure to source the correct version of ROS. If your using
# Kinetic, replace 'melodic' with 'kinetic' in the following command
source /opt/ros/melodic/setup.bash

# create a workspace (skip if you already have a workspace)
mkdir -p ~/my_ws/src
cd ~/my_ws/src

# create your package 'my_pkg' which has 'rxros' as a dependency
catkin_create_pkg my_pkg std_msgs rxros

# create the files you need in your new package ...

# build your workspace
cd ~/my_ws
catkin_make

A typical RxROS program should include the rxros/rxros.h header file as shown in the following code:

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
// ... add your code here
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
  // ... add your code here   
}

The rxros package is constructed in a similar manner to roscpp and tf: tf has a set of additional packages that add functionality specific to a certain topic or functional context (i.e.: packages for converting to-and-from certain math libraries, working with geometric data (points, poses, etc)).

This means that in case you need access to TF functionality of rxros the rxros_tf/rxros_tf.h header file needs to be included as follows:

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
#include <rxros_tf/rxros_tf.h>
// ... add your code here
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
  // ... add your code here
}

Acknowledgements

The RxROS library depends on and uses the following software:

  1. Ubuntu Bionic 18.04
  2. ROS Melodic v12
  3. Reactive C++ v2
    https://github.com/ReactiveX/RxCpp
    Released under the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct.
    The RxCpp library (header files) is installed as part of installing RxROS
  4. roscpp meets c++14 now!! by Takashi Ogura (OTL)
    https://github.com/OTL/roscpp14
    Released under Apache License 2.0
    Ideas from the library has been used in RxROS.

Example packages

Some example packages showcasing the use of RxROS may be found in the rxros_examples repository.

Refer to the README in that repository for additional setup and installation instructions.

RxROS API

Now, lets look at the RxROS API in more details. RxROS provides simple access to ROS via a set of functions. These functions provide more precisely an extension to RxCpp in form of observables and operations that give simple access to ROS.

Creating a RxROS node

Creating a RxROS node has some commonalities with creating a normal ROS node, as shown in the example below. A RxROS node starts by calling ros::init to initialize the node and ends with a call to ros::spin to block the main thread and listen for topic updates. Failure to include theses statements will either cause a RxROS node to exit immediately or behave in a unpredictable manner. However, any variant of ros::init and ros::spin may be used to create a RxROS node.

Example

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "node_name");
    // ...
    ros::spin()
}

Parameters

ROS provides through the parameters interface a simple way to customize a node without having to recompile the source each time there is a change to its configuration. The RxROS parameter interface provides easy access to the ROS parameter server through an overloaded set of get functions. Each function takes as argument the name of the parameter to be looked up and a default value that is returned if the specified parameter was not found. The returned result is of the same type as the default value. Failure to specify the correct parameter type will either cause a wrong conversion or the program may simply crash.

Syntax

auto rxros::parameter::get<param_type>(const std::string& name, const param_type& defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const int defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const double defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const char* defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const std::string& defaultValue);

Example

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    const auto frequency = rxros::parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/frequency", 10.0); // hz
    const auto minVelLinear = rxros::parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/min_vel_linear", 0.04); // m/s
    const auto maxVelLinear = rxros::parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/max_vel_linear", 0.10); // m/s
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Logging

Logging is fundamentally a debugging facility that allows the programmer to print out information about the robot’s internal state. RxROS provides five logging levels where each level indicates the severity of the problem. Each loglevel returns as shown a reference to a logging object which actually is an std::ostringstream. This means that the well-known C++ stream insertion operator “<<” can be used to compose the logging messages. RxROS logging will be fully backwards compatible with ROS. This means that all the functionality provided by the ROS logging framework is also available to RxROS.

Syntax

rxros::logging& rxros::logging().debug();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().info();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().warn();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().error();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().fatal();

Example

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::logging().debug() << "frequency: " << frequency;
    rxros::logging().info() << "min_vel_linear: " << minVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::logging().warn() << "max_vel_linear: " << maxVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::logging().error() << "min_vel_angular: " << minVelAngular << " rad/s";
    rxros::logging().fatal() << "max_vel_angular: " << maxVelAngular << " rad/s";
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Observables

Observables are asynchronous message streams. They are the fundamental data structure used by RxROS. As soon as we have the observables RxCpp will provide us with a number of functions and operators to manipulate the streams.

Observable from a Topic

An observable data stream is created from a topic simply by calling the rxros::observable::from_topic function. The function takes two arguments a name of the topic and an optional queue size. In order to use the rxros::observable::from_topic function it is important also to specify the type of the topic messages.

The example below demonstrates how two ROS topics named “/joystick” and “/keyboard” are turned into two observable streams by means of the rxros::observable::from_topic function and then merged together into a new observable message stream named teleop_obsrv. Observe the use of the map operator: Since teleop_msgs::Joystick and teleop_msgs::Keyboard are different message types it is not possible to merge them directly. The map operator solves this problem by converting each teleop_msgs::Joystick and teleop_msgs::Keyboard message into a simple integer that represents the low level event of moving the joystick or pressing the keyboard.

The pipe operator “|” is a specialty of RxCpp that is used as a simple mechanism to compose operations on observable message streams. The usual “.” notation could have been used just as vel, but it’s common to use the pipe operator “|” in RxCpp.

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_topic<topic_type>(const std::string& topic, const uint32_t queue_size = 10);

Example
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    auto joy_obsrv = rxros::observable::from_topic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick")
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Joystick joy) { return joy.event; });
    auto key_obsrv = rxros::observable::from_topic<teleop_msgs::Keyboard>("/keyboard")
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Keyboard key) { return key.event; });
    auto teleop_obsrv = joyObsrv.merge(keyObsrv);
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Observable from a transform listener

A transform listener listens as the name indicates to broadcasted transformations, or more specific it listens to broadcasted transformations from a specified parent frame id to a specified child frame id. The rxros::observable::from_transform turns these transformations into an observable message stream of type tf::StampedTransform. The rxros::observable::from_transform takes three arguments: the parent frameId and child frameId and then an optional frequency. The frequency specifies how often the rxros::observable::from_transform will perform a lookup of the broadcasted transformations.

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_transform(const std::string& parent_frameId, const std::string& child_frameId, const double frequency = 10.0);

Observable from a Linux device

The function rxros::observable::from_device will turn a Linux block or character device like “/dev/input/js0” into an observable message stream. rxros::observable::from_device has as such nothing to do with ROS, but it provides an interface to low-level data types that are needed in order to create e.g. keyboard and joystick observables. The rxros::observable::from_device takes as argument the name of the device and a type of the data that are read from the device.

The example below shows what it takes to turn a stream of low-level joystick events into an observable message stream and publish them on a ROS topic. First an observable message stream is created from the device “/dev/input/js0”. Then is is converted it to a stream of ROS messages and finally the messages are published to a ROS topic. Three simple steps, that’s it!

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_device<device_type>(const std::string& device_name);

Example
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "joystick_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::observable::from_device<joystick_event>("/dev/input/js0")
        | map(joystickEvent2JoystickMsg)
        | publish_to_topic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick");
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Observable from a Yaml file

This section describes how to turn a Yaml configuration file into an observable message stream. ROS uses the Yaml format to configure various packages. An example of a Yaml file is given below: It’s a configuration of the sensors and actuators that are used on a BrickPi3 robot.

brickpi3_robot:
  - type: motor
    name: r_wheel_joint
    port: PORT_D
    frequency: 20.0

  - type: color
    frame_id: color_link
    name: color_sensor
    port: PORT_4
    frequency: 2.0

  - type: touch
    frame_id: touch_link
    name: touch_sensor
    port: PORT_1
    frequency: 2.0

The Yaml file defines a configuration of the BrickPi3 motor, color and touch sensor. The rxros::observable::from_yaml function will turn the Yaml configuration file into an observable data stream with three elements: One element for each device.

The example below demonstrates how to use the rxros::observable::from_yaml function. As soon as we subscribe to the observable it will start to emit events (on_next events) in form of configurations of type XmlRpc::XmlRpcValue for each device. The device can then be used to lookup information about its type, name, port and frequency. The DeveiceConfig is a simple helper class that will take the configurations and provide simple access functions such as device.getType() which is equal to config["Type"].

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_yaml(const std::string& namespace);

Example
#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "brickpi3"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::observable::from_yaml("/brickpi3/brickpi3_robot").subscribe(
        [=](auto config) { // on_next event
            DeviceConfig device(config);
            if (device.getType() == "motor") {
                rxros::logging().debug() << device.getType() << ", " << device.getName() << ", " << device.getPort() << ", " << device.getFrequency();
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

#include <xmlrpcpp/XmlRpcValue.h>

// Support class to simplify access to configuration parameters for device
class DeviceConfig
{
private:
    std::string type;
    std::string name;
    std::string frameId;
    std::string port;
    double frequency;
    double minRange;
    double maxRange;
    double spreadAngle;

public:
    explicit DeviceConfig(XmlRpc::XmlRpcValue& value) {
        type = value.hasMember("type") ? (std::string) value["type"] : std::string("");
        name = value.hasMember("name") ? (std::string) value["name"] : std::string("");
        frameId = value.hasMember("frame_id") ? (std::string) value["frame_id"] : std::string("");
        port = value.hasMember("port") ? (std::string) value["port"] : std::string("");
        frequency = value.hasMember("frequency") ? (double) value["frequency"] : 0.0;
        minRange = value.hasMember("min_range") ? (double) value["min_range"] : 0.0;
        maxRange = value.hasMember("max_range") ? (double) value["max_range"] : 0.0;
        spreadAngle = value.hasMember("spread_angle") ? (double) value["spread_angle"] : 0.0;
    }
    ~DeviceConfig() = default;

    const std::string& getType() const {return type;}
    const std::string& getName() const {return name;}
    const std::string& getFrameId() const {return frameId;}
    const std::string& getPort() const {return port;}
    double getFrequency() const {return frequency;}
    double getMinRange() const { return minRange;}
    double getMaxRange() const { return  maxRange;}
    double getSpreadAngle() const { return spreadAngle;}
};

Operators

One of the primary advantages of stream oriented processing is the fact that we can apply functional programming primitives on them. RxCpp operators are nothing but filters, transformations, aggregations and reductions of the observable message streams we created in the previous section.

Publish to Topic

rxros::operators::publish_to_topic is a rather special operator. It does not modify the message steam - it is in other words an identity function/operator. It will however take each message from the stream and publish it to a specific topic. This means that it is perfectly possible to continue modifying the message stream after it has been published to a topic. This will allow us to e.g. send transform broadcasts or even publish the messages to other topics.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::publish_to_topic<topic_type>(const std::string &topic, const uint32_t queue_size = 10);

Example:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "joystick_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::observable::from_device<joystick_event>("/dev/input/js0")
        | map(joystickEvent2JoystickMsg)
        | publish_to_topic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick");
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Send Transform

The rxros::operators::send_transform operator works exactly the same ways as the rxros::operators::publish_to_topic operator. It does not modify the message steam it is operating on, but it will take each message and broadcast it to any listeners. The rxros::operators::send_transform comes in two variants: One that takes no arguments and operates on message streams of type tf::StampedTranformation and one that takes the parent frame id and child frame id as argument and operates on message streams of type tf::Transform. The later will convert the tf::Transform messages into tf::StampedTranformation messages so that both operators broadcast the same message type.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::send_transform();
auto rxros::operators::send_transform(const std::string& parent_frameId, const std::string& child_frameId);

Call Service

Besides the publish/subscribe model, ROS also provides a request/reply model that allows a remote procedure call (RPC) to be send from one node (request) and handled by another node (reply) - it is a typical client-server mechanism that can be useful in distributed systems.

RxROS only provides a means to send a request, i.e. the client side. The server side will have to be created exactly the same way as it is done it ROS. To send a request the rxros::operators::call_service operator is called. It take a service name as argument and service type that specifies the type of the observable message stream the operation was applied on. The service type consists of a request and response part. The request part must be filled out prior to the service call and the result will be a new observable stream where the response part has been filled out by the server part.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::call_service<service_type>(const std::string& service_name);

Sample with Frequency

The operator rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency will at regular intervals emit the last element or message of the observable message stream it was applied on - that is independent of whether it has changed or not. This means that the observable message stream produced by rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency may contain duplicated messages if the frequency is too high and it may miss messages in case the frequency is too low. This is the preferred way in ROS to publish messages on a topic and therefore a needed operation.

The operation operator rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency comes in two variants. One that is executing in the current thread and one that is executing in a specified thread also known as a coordination in RxCpp.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency(const double frequency);
auto rxros::operation::sample_with_frequency(const double frequency, Coordination coordination);

Example:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "joystick_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    | sample_with_frequency(frequencyInHz)
    | publish_to_topic<geometry_msgs::Twist>("/cmd_vel");
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Example 1: A Keyboard Publisher

The following example is a full implementation of a keyboard publisher that takes input from a Linux block device and publishes the low-level keyboard events to a ROS topic '/keyboard'. For more information see rxros_examples.

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
#include <rxros_teleop_msgs/Keyboard.h>
#include "KeyboardPublisher.h"
using namespace rxcpp::operators;
using namespace rxros::operators;

int main(int argc, char** argv)
{
    ros::init(argc, argv, "keyboard_publisher"); // Name of this Node.

    const auto keyboardDevice = rxros::parameter::get("/keyboard_publisher/device", "/dev/input/event1");
    rxros::logging().info() << "Keyboard device: " << keyboardDevice;

    auto keyboardEvent2KeyboardMsg = [](const auto keyboardEvent) {
        auto makeKeyboardMsg = [=] (auto event) {
            teleop_msgs::Keyboard keyboardMsg;
            keyboardMsg.time = ros::Time(keyboardEvent.time.tv_sec, keyboardEvent.time.tv_usec);
            keyboardMsg.event = event;
            return keyboardMsg;};
        if ((keyboardEvent.type == EV_KEY) && (keyboardEvent.value != REP_DELAY)) {
            if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_UP)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_UP);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_LEFT)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_LEFT);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_RIGHT)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_RIGHT);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_DOWN)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_DOWN);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_SPACE)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_SPACE);
        }
        return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_NONE);};

    rxros::observable::from_device<input_event>(keyboardDevice)
        | map(keyboardEvent2KeyboardMsg)
        | publish_to_topic<teleop_msgs::Keyboard>("/keyboard");

    rxros::logging().info() << "Spinning keyboard_publisher...";
    ros::spin()();
}


Example 2: A Velocity Publisher

The following example is a full implementation of a velocity publisher that takes input from a keyboard and joystick and publishes Twist messages on the /cmd_vel topic. For more information see rxros_examples.

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
#include <rxros_teleop_msgs/Joystick.h>
#include <rxros_teleop_msgs/Keyboard.h>
#include <geometry_msgs/Twist.h>
#include "JoystickPublisher.h"
#include "KeyboardPublisher.h"


int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.

    const auto frequencyInHz = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/frequency", 10.0); // hz
    const auto minVelLinear = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/min_vel_linear", 0.04); // m/s
    const auto maxVelLinear = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/max_vel_linear", 0.10); // m/s
    const auto minVelAngular = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/min_vel_angular", 0.64); // rad/s
    const auto maxVelAngular = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/max_vel_angular", 1.60); // rad/s
    const auto deltaVelLinear = (maxVelLinear - minVelLinear) / 10.0;
    const auto deltaVelAngular = (maxVelAngular - minVelAngular) / 10.0;

    rxros::Logging().info() << "frequency: " << frequencyInHz;
    rxros::Logging().info() << "min_vel_linear: " << minVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::Logging().info() << "max_vel_linear: " << maxVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::Logging().info() << "min_vel_angular: " << minVelAngular << " rad/s";
    rxros::Logging().info() << "max_vel_angular: " << maxVelAngular << " rad/s";

    auto adaptVelocity = [=] (auto newVel, auto minVel, auto maxVel, auto isIncrVel) {
        if (newVel > maxVel)
            return maxVel;
        else if (newVel < -maxVel)
            return -maxVel;
        else if (newVel > -minVel && newVel < minVel)
            return (isIncrVel) ? minVel : -minVel;
        else
            return newVel;};

    auto teleop2VelTuple = [=](const auto& prevVelTuple, const int event) {
        const auto prevVelLinear = std::get<0>(prevVelTuple);  // use previous linear and angular velocity
        const auto prevVelAngular = std::get<1>(prevVelTuple); // to calculate the new linear and angular velocity.
        if (event == JS_EVENT_BUTTON0_DOWN || event == JS_EVENT_BUTTON1_DOWN || event == KB_EVENT_SPACE)
            return std::make_tuple(0.0, 0.0); // Stop the robot
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_UP || event == KB_EVENT_UP)
            return std::make_tuple(adaptVelocity((prevVelLinear + deltaVelLinear), minVelLinear, maxVelLinear, true), prevVelAngular); // move forward
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_DOWN || event == KB_EVENT_DOWN)
            return std::make_tuple(adaptVelocity((prevVelLinear - deltaVelLinear), minVelLinear, maxVelLinear, false), prevVelAngular); // move backward
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_LEFT || event == KB_EVENT_LEFT)
            return std::make_tuple(prevVelLinear, adaptVelocity((prevVelAngular + deltaVelAngular), minVelAngular, maxVelAngular, true)); // move left
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_RIGHT || event == KB_EVENT_RIGHT)
            return std::make_tuple(prevVelLinear, adaptVelocity((prevVelAngular - deltaVelAngular), minVelAngular, maxVelAngular, false)); // move right
        else
            return std::make_tuple(prevVelLinear, prevVelAngular));}; // do nothing

    auto velTuple2TwistMsg = [](auto velTuple) {
        geometry_msgs::Twist vel;
        vel.linear.x = std::get<0>(velTuple);
        vel.angular.z = std::get<1>(velTuple);
        return vel;};

    auto joyObsrv = rxros::Observable::fromTopic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick") // create an Observable stream from "/joystick" topic
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Joystick joy) { return joy.event; });
    auto keyObsrv = rxros::Observable::fromTopic<teleop_msgs::Keyboard>("/keyboard") // create an Observable stream from "/keyboard" topic
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Keyboard key) { return key.event; });
    joyObsrv.merge(keyObsrv)                                  // merge the joystick and keyboard messages into an Observable teleop stream.
        | scan(std::make_tuple(0.0, 0.0), teleop2VelTuple)    // turn the teleop stream into a linear and angular velocity stream.
        | map(velTuple2TwistMsg)                              // turn the linear and angular velocity stream into a Twist stream.
        | sample_with_frequency(frequencyInHz)                // take latest Twist msg and populate it with the specified frequency.
        | publish_to_topic<geometry_msgs::Twist>("/cmd_vel"); // publish the Twist messages to the topic "/cmd_vel"

    rxros::Logging().info() << "Spinning velocity_publisher ...";
    ros::spin()();
}

Repository Summary

Checkout URI https://github.com/rosin-project/rxros.git
VCS Type git
VCS Version master
Last Updated 2019-11-10
Dev Status DEVELOPED
Released RELEASED

Packages

Name Version
rxros 0.1.0
rxros_tf 0.1.0

README

RxROS

Introduction

RxROS is new API for ROS based on the paradigm of reactive programming. Reactive programming is an alternative to callback-based programming for implementing concurrent message passing systems that emphasizes explicit data flow over control flow. It makes the message flow and transformations of messages easy to capture in one place. It eliminates problems with deadlocks and understanding how callbacks interact. It helps you to make your nodes functional, concise, and testable. RxROS aspires to the slogan ‘concurrency made easy’.

Contents

Setup and installation

In order to make use of this software you must install one of the following ROS distributions on your computer:

  • ROS Melodic Morenia, or
  • ROS Kinetic Kame

RxROS

RxROS is installed using the following command (in Ubuntu and Debian, for ROS Melodic and Kinetic):

# for ROS Kinetic replace 'melodic' with 'kinetic'
sudo apt install ros-melodic-rxros

To start using RxROS create a package in your Catkin workspace which depends on the rxros package:

# make sure to source the correct version of ROS. If your using
# Kinetic, replace 'melodic' with 'kinetic' in the following command
source /opt/ros/melodic/setup.bash

# create a workspace (skip if you already have a workspace)
mkdir -p ~/my_ws/src
cd ~/my_ws/src

# create your package 'my_pkg' which has 'rxros' as a dependency
catkin_create_pkg my_pkg std_msgs rxros

# create the files you need in your new package ...

# build your workspace
cd ~/my_ws
catkin_make

A typical RxROS program should include the rxros/rxros.h header file as shown in the following code:

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
// ... add your code here
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
  // ... add your code here   
}

The rxros package is constructed in a similar manner to roscpp and tf: tf has a set of additional packages that add functionality specific to a certain topic or functional context (i.e.: packages for converting to-and-from certain math libraries, working with geometric data (points, poses, etc)).

This means that in case you need access to TF functionality of rxros the rxros_tf/rxros_tf.h header file needs to be included as follows:

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
#include <rxros_tf/rxros_tf.h>
// ... add your code here
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
  // ... add your code here
}

Acknowledgements

The RxROS library depends on and uses the following software:

  1. Ubuntu Bionic 18.04
  2. ROS Melodic v12
  3. Reactive C++ v2
    https://github.com/ReactiveX/RxCpp
    Released under the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct.
    The RxCpp library (header files) is installed as part of installing RxROS
  4. roscpp meets c++14 now!! by Takashi Ogura (OTL)
    https://github.com/OTL/roscpp14
    Released under Apache License 2.0
    Ideas from the library has been used in RxROS.

Example packages

Some example packages showcasing the use of RxROS may be found in the rxros_examples repository.

Refer to the README in that repository for additional setup and installation instructions.

RxROS API

Now, lets look at the RxROS API in more details. RxROS provides simple access to ROS via a set of functions. These functions provide more precisely an extension to RxCpp in form of observables and operations that give simple access to ROS.

Creating a RxROS node

Creating a RxROS node has some commonalities with creating a normal ROS node, as shown in the example below. A RxROS node starts by calling ros::init to initialize the node and ends with a call to ros::spin to block the main thread and listen for topic updates. Failure to include theses statements will either cause a RxROS node to exit immediately or behave in a unpredictable manner. However, any variant of ros::init and ros::spin may be used to create a RxROS node.

Example

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "node_name");
    // ...
    ros::spin()
}

Parameters

ROS provides through the parameters interface a simple way to customize a node without having to recompile the source each time there is a change to its configuration. The RxROS parameter interface provides easy access to the ROS parameter server through an overloaded set of get functions. Each function takes as argument the name of the parameter to be looked up and a default value that is returned if the specified parameter was not found. The returned result is of the same type as the default value. Failure to specify the correct parameter type will either cause a wrong conversion or the program may simply crash.

Syntax

auto rxros::parameter::get<param_type>(const std::string& name, const param_type& defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const int defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const double defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const char* defaultValue);
auto rxros::parameter::get(const std::string& name, const std::string& defaultValue);

Example

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    const auto frequency = rxros::parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/frequency", 10.0); // hz
    const auto minVelLinear = rxros::parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/min_vel_linear", 0.04); // m/s
    const auto maxVelLinear = rxros::parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/max_vel_linear", 0.10); // m/s
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Logging

Logging is fundamentally a debugging facility that allows the programmer to print out information about the robot’s internal state. RxROS provides five logging levels where each level indicates the severity of the problem. Each loglevel returns as shown a reference to a logging object which actually is an std::ostringstream. This means that the well-known C++ stream insertion operator “<<” can be used to compose the logging messages. RxROS logging will be fully backwards compatible with ROS. This means that all the functionality provided by the ROS logging framework is also available to RxROS.

Syntax

rxros::logging& rxros::logging().debug();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().info();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().warn();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().error();
rxros::logging& rxros::logging().fatal();

Example

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::logging().debug() << "frequency: " << frequency;
    rxros::logging().info() << "min_vel_linear: " << minVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::logging().warn() << "max_vel_linear: " << maxVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::logging().error() << "min_vel_angular: " << minVelAngular << " rad/s";
    rxros::logging().fatal() << "max_vel_angular: " << maxVelAngular << " rad/s";
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Observables

Observables are asynchronous message streams. They are the fundamental data structure used by RxROS. As soon as we have the observables RxCpp will provide us with a number of functions and operators to manipulate the streams.

Observable from a Topic

An observable data stream is created from a topic simply by calling the rxros::observable::from_topic function. The function takes two arguments a name of the topic and an optional queue size. In order to use the rxros::observable::from_topic function it is important also to specify the type of the topic messages.

The example below demonstrates how two ROS topics named “/joystick” and “/keyboard” are turned into two observable streams by means of the rxros::observable::from_topic function and then merged together into a new observable message stream named teleop_obsrv. Observe the use of the map operator: Since teleop_msgs::Joystick and teleop_msgs::Keyboard are different message types it is not possible to merge them directly. The map operator solves this problem by converting each teleop_msgs::Joystick and teleop_msgs::Keyboard message into a simple integer that represents the low level event of moving the joystick or pressing the keyboard.

The pipe operator “|” is a specialty of RxCpp that is used as a simple mechanism to compose operations on observable message streams. The usual “.” notation could have been used just as vel, but it’s common to use the pipe operator “|” in RxCpp.

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_topic<topic_type>(const std::string& topic, const uint32_t queue_size = 10);

Example
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    auto joy_obsrv = rxros::observable::from_topic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick")
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Joystick joy) { return joy.event; });
    auto key_obsrv = rxros::observable::from_topic<teleop_msgs::Keyboard>("/keyboard")
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Keyboard key) { return key.event; });
    auto teleop_obsrv = joyObsrv.merge(keyObsrv);
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Observable from a transform listener

A transform listener listens as the name indicates to broadcasted transformations, or more specific it listens to broadcasted transformations from a specified parent frame id to a specified child frame id. The rxros::observable::from_transform turns these transformations into an observable message stream of type tf::StampedTransform. The rxros::observable::from_transform takes three arguments: the parent frameId and child frameId and then an optional frequency. The frequency specifies how often the rxros::observable::from_transform will perform a lookup of the broadcasted transformations.

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_transform(const std::string& parent_frameId, const std::string& child_frameId, const double frequency = 10.0);

Observable from a Linux device

The function rxros::observable::from_device will turn a Linux block or character device like “/dev/input/js0” into an observable message stream. rxros::observable::from_device has as such nothing to do with ROS, but it provides an interface to low-level data types that are needed in order to create e.g. keyboard and joystick observables. The rxros::observable::from_device takes as argument the name of the device and a type of the data that are read from the device.

The example below shows what it takes to turn a stream of low-level joystick events into an observable message stream and publish them on a ROS topic. First an observable message stream is created from the device “/dev/input/js0”. Then is is converted it to a stream of ROS messages and finally the messages are published to a ROS topic. Three simple steps, that’s it!

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_device<device_type>(const std::string& device_name);

Example
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "joystick_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::observable::from_device<joystick_event>("/dev/input/js0")
        | map(joystickEvent2JoystickMsg)
        | publish_to_topic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick");
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Observable from a Yaml file

This section describes how to turn a Yaml configuration file into an observable message stream. ROS uses the Yaml format to configure various packages. An example of a Yaml file is given below: It’s a configuration of the sensors and actuators that are used on a BrickPi3 robot.

brickpi3_robot:
  - type: motor
    name: r_wheel_joint
    port: PORT_D
    frequency: 20.0

  - type: color
    frame_id: color_link
    name: color_sensor
    port: PORT_4
    frequency: 2.0

  - type: touch
    frame_id: touch_link
    name: touch_sensor
    port: PORT_1
    frequency: 2.0

The Yaml file defines a configuration of the BrickPi3 motor, color and touch sensor. The rxros::observable::from_yaml function will turn the Yaml configuration file into an observable data stream with three elements: One element for each device.

The example below demonstrates how to use the rxros::observable::from_yaml function. As soon as we subscribe to the observable it will start to emit events (on_next events) in form of configurations of type XmlRpc::XmlRpcValue for each device. The device can then be used to lookup information about its type, name, port and frequency. The DeveiceConfig is a simple helper class that will take the configurations and provide simple access functions such as device.getType() which is equal to config["Type"].

Syntax
auto rxros::observable::from_yaml(const std::string& namespace);

Example
#include <rxros/rxros.h>
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "brickpi3"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::observable::from_yaml("/brickpi3/brickpi3_robot").subscribe(
        [=](auto config) { // on_next event
            DeviceConfig device(config);
            if (device.getType() == "motor") {
                rxros::logging().debug() << device.getType() << ", " << device.getName() << ", " << device.getPort() << ", " << device.getFrequency();
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

#include <xmlrpcpp/XmlRpcValue.h>

// Support class to simplify access to configuration parameters for device
class DeviceConfig
{
private:
    std::string type;
    std::string name;
    std::string frameId;
    std::string port;
    double frequency;
    double minRange;
    double maxRange;
    double spreadAngle;

public:
    explicit DeviceConfig(XmlRpc::XmlRpcValue& value) {
        type = value.hasMember("type") ? (std::string) value["type"] : std::string("");
        name = value.hasMember("name") ? (std::string) value["name"] : std::string("");
        frameId = value.hasMember("frame_id") ? (std::string) value["frame_id"] : std::string("");
        port = value.hasMember("port") ? (std::string) value["port"] : std::string("");
        frequency = value.hasMember("frequency") ? (double) value["frequency"] : 0.0;
        minRange = value.hasMember("min_range") ? (double) value["min_range"] : 0.0;
        maxRange = value.hasMember("max_range") ? (double) value["max_range"] : 0.0;
        spreadAngle = value.hasMember("spread_angle") ? (double) value["spread_angle"] : 0.0;
    }
    ~DeviceConfig() = default;

    const std::string& getType() const {return type;}
    const std::string& getName() const {return name;}
    const std::string& getFrameId() const {return frameId;}
    const std::string& getPort() const {return port;}
    double getFrequency() const {return frequency;}
    double getMinRange() const { return minRange;}
    double getMaxRange() const { return  maxRange;}
    double getSpreadAngle() const { return spreadAngle;}
};

Operators

One of the primary advantages of stream oriented processing is the fact that we can apply functional programming primitives on them. RxCpp operators are nothing but filters, transformations, aggregations and reductions of the observable message streams we created in the previous section.

Publish to Topic

rxros::operators::publish_to_topic is a rather special operator. It does not modify the message steam - it is in other words an identity function/operator. It will however take each message from the stream and publish it to a specific topic. This means that it is perfectly possible to continue modifying the message stream after it has been published to a topic. This will allow us to e.g. send transform broadcasts or even publish the messages to other topics.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::publish_to_topic<topic_type>(const std::string &topic, const uint32_t queue_size = 10);

Example:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "joystick_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    rxros::observable::from_device<joystick_event>("/dev/input/js0")
        | map(joystickEvent2JoystickMsg)
        | publish_to_topic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick");
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Send Transform

The rxros::operators::send_transform operator works exactly the same ways as the rxros::operators::publish_to_topic operator. It does not modify the message steam it is operating on, but it will take each message and broadcast it to any listeners. The rxros::operators::send_transform comes in two variants: One that takes no arguments and operates on message streams of type tf::StampedTranformation and one that takes the parent frame id and child frame id as argument and operates on message streams of type tf::Transform. The later will convert the tf::Transform messages into tf::StampedTranformation messages so that both operators broadcast the same message type.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::send_transform();
auto rxros::operators::send_transform(const std::string& parent_frameId, const std::string& child_frameId);

Call Service

Besides the publish/subscribe model, ROS also provides a request/reply model that allows a remote procedure call (RPC) to be send from one node (request) and handled by another node (reply) - it is a typical client-server mechanism that can be useful in distributed systems.

RxROS only provides a means to send a request, i.e. the client side. The server side will have to be created exactly the same way as it is done it ROS. To send a request the rxros::operators::call_service operator is called. It take a service name as argument and service type that specifies the type of the observable message stream the operation was applied on. The service type consists of a request and response part. The request part must be filled out prior to the service call and the result will be a new observable stream where the response part has been filled out by the server part.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::call_service<service_type>(const std::string& service_name);

Sample with Frequency

The operator rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency will at regular intervals emit the last element or message of the observable message stream it was applied on - that is independent of whether it has changed or not. This means that the observable message stream produced by rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency may contain duplicated messages if the frequency is too high and it may miss messages in case the frequency is too low. This is the preferred way in ROS to publish messages on a topic and therefore a needed operation.

The operation operator rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency comes in two variants. One that is executing in the current thread and one that is executing in a specified thread also known as a coordination in RxCpp.

Syntax:
auto rxros::operators::sample_with_frequency(const double frequency);
auto rxros::operation::sample_with_frequency(const double frequency, Coordination coordination);

Example:
int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "joystick_publisher"); // Name of this node.
    //...
    | sample_with_frequency(frequencyInHz)
    | publish_to_topic<geometry_msgs::Twist>("/cmd_vel");
    //...
    ros::spin()();
}

Example 1: A Keyboard Publisher

The following example is a full implementation of a keyboard publisher that takes input from a Linux block device and publishes the low-level keyboard events to a ROS topic '/keyboard'. For more information see rxros_examples.

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
#include <rxros_teleop_msgs/Keyboard.h>
#include "KeyboardPublisher.h"
using namespace rxcpp::operators;
using namespace rxros::operators;

int main(int argc, char** argv)
{
    ros::init(argc, argv, "keyboard_publisher"); // Name of this Node.

    const auto keyboardDevice = rxros::parameter::get("/keyboard_publisher/device", "/dev/input/event1");
    rxros::logging().info() << "Keyboard device: " << keyboardDevice;

    auto keyboardEvent2KeyboardMsg = [](const auto keyboardEvent) {
        auto makeKeyboardMsg = [=] (auto event) {
            teleop_msgs::Keyboard keyboardMsg;
            keyboardMsg.time = ros::Time(keyboardEvent.time.tv_sec, keyboardEvent.time.tv_usec);
            keyboardMsg.event = event;
            return keyboardMsg;};
        if ((keyboardEvent.type == EV_KEY) && (keyboardEvent.value != REP_DELAY)) {
            if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_UP)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_UP);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_LEFT)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_LEFT);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_RIGHT)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_RIGHT);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_DOWN)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_DOWN);
            else if (keyboardEvent.code==KEY_SPACE)
                return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_SPACE);
        }
        return makeKeyboardMsg(KB_EVENT_NONE);};

    rxros::observable::from_device<input_event>(keyboardDevice)
        | map(keyboardEvent2KeyboardMsg)
        | publish_to_topic<teleop_msgs::Keyboard>("/keyboard");

    rxros::logging().info() << "Spinning keyboard_publisher...";
    ros::spin()();
}


Example 2: A Velocity Publisher

The following example is a full implementation of a velocity publisher that takes input from a keyboard and joystick and publishes Twist messages on the /cmd_vel topic. For more information see rxros_examples.

#include <rxros/rxros.h>
#include <rxros_teleop_msgs/Joystick.h>
#include <rxros_teleop_msgs/Keyboard.h>
#include <geometry_msgs/Twist.h>
#include "JoystickPublisher.h"
#include "KeyboardPublisher.h"


int main(int argc, char** argv) {
    ros::init(argc, argv, "velocity_publisher"); // Name of this node.

    const auto frequencyInHz = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/frequency", 10.0); // hz
    const auto minVelLinear = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/min_vel_linear", 0.04); // m/s
    const auto maxVelLinear = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/max_vel_linear", 0.10); // m/s
    const auto minVelAngular = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/min_vel_angular", 0.64); // rad/s
    const auto maxVelAngular = rxros::Parameter::get("/velocity_publisher/max_vel_angular", 1.60); // rad/s
    const auto deltaVelLinear = (maxVelLinear - minVelLinear) / 10.0;
    const auto deltaVelAngular = (maxVelAngular - minVelAngular) / 10.0;

    rxros::Logging().info() << "frequency: " << frequencyInHz;
    rxros::Logging().info() << "min_vel_linear: " << minVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::Logging().info() << "max_vel_linear: " << maxVelLinear << " m/s";
    rxros::Logging().info() << "min_vel_angular: " << minVelAngular << " rad/s";
    rxros::Logging().info() << "max_vel_angular: " << maxVelAngular << " rad/s";

    auto adaptVelocity = [=] (auto newVel, auto minVel, auto maxVel, auto isIncrVel) {
        if (newVel > maxVel)
            return maxVel;
        else if (newVel < -maxVel)
            return -maxVel;
        else if (newVel > -minVel && newVel < minVel)
            return (isIncrVel) ? minVel : -minVel;
        else
            return newVel;};

    auto teleop2VelTuple = [=](const auto& prevVelTuple, const int event) {
        const auto prevVelLinear = std::get<0>(prevVelTuple);  // use previous linear and angular velocity
        const auto prevVelAngular = std::get<1>(prevVelTuple); // to calculate the new linear and angular velocity.
        if (event == JS_EVENT_BUTTON0_DOWN || event == JS_EVENT_BUTTON1_DOWN || event == KB_EVENT_SPACE)
            return std::make_tuple(0.0, 0.0); // Stop the robot
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_UP || event == KB_EVENT_UP)
            return std::make_tuple(adaptVelocity((prevVelLinear + deltaVelLinear), minVelLinear, maxVelLinear, true), prevVelAngular); // move forward
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_DOWN || event == KB_EVENT_DOWN)
            return std::make_tuple(adaptVelocity((prevVelLinear - deltaVelLinear), minVelLinear, maxVelLinear, false), prevVelAngular); // move backward
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_LEFT || event == KB_EVENT_LEFT)
            return std::make_tuple(prevVelLinear, adaptVelocity((prevVelAngular + deltaVelAngular), minVelAngular, maxVelAngular, true)); // move left
        else if (event == JS_EVENT_AXIS_RIGHT || event == KB_EVENT_RIGHT)
            return std::make_tuple(prevVelLinear, adaptVelocity((prevVelAngular - deltaVelAngular), minVelAngular, maxVelAngular, false)); // move right
        else
            return std::make_tuple(prevVelLinear, prevVelAngular));}; // do nothing

    auto velTuple2TwistMsg = [](auto velTuple) {
        geometry_msgs::Twist vel;
        vel.linear.x = std::get<0>(velTuple);
        vel.angular.z = std::get<1>(velTuple);
        return vel;};

    auto joyObsrv = rxros::Observable::fromTopic<teleop_msgs::Joystick>("/joystick") // create an Observable stream from "/joystick" topic
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Joystick joy) { return joy.event; });
    auto keyObsrv = rxros::Observable::fromTopic<teleop_msgs::Keyboard>("/keyboard") // create an Observable stream from "/keyboard" topic
        | map([](teleop_msgs::Keyboard key) { return key.event; });
    joyObsrv.merge(keyObsrv)                                  // merge the joystick and keyboard messages into an Observable teleop stream.
        | scan(std::make_tuple(0.0, 0.0), teleop2VelTuple)    // turn the teleop stream into a linear and angular velocity stream.
        | map(velTuple2TwistMsg)                              // turn the linear and angular velocity stream into a Twist stream.
        | sample_with_frequency(frequencyInHz)                // take latest Twist msg and populate it with the specified frequency.
        | publish_to_topic<geometry_msgs::Twist>("/cmd_vel"); // publish the Twist messages to the topic "/cmd_vel"

    rxros::Logging().info() << "Spinning velocity_publisher ...";
    ros::spin()();
}