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Getting Started

The project is meant to run on a Raspberry Pi, but should be able to run on any operating system that supports both ROS and CouchDB.


First, install a compatible operating system on your machine. For Raspberry Pi, we recommend Raspbian Jessie. The image can be downloaded here and flashed to the SD card using the installation instructions here.

Raspberry Pi Docker Installation

There is a pre-built Docker image for running this codebase on a Raspberry Pi. Most people should use this image. The image contains only ROS and the openag_brain code, so it must be run alongside a CouchDB installation. There exists a docker-compose file in this repo for automatically configuring the 2 Docker containers. The setup process for it is fairly straightforward. First, you clone the repository and install Docker using a script from the repository:

git clone
cd openag_brain_docker_rpi

After this, you will have to start a new terminal session in order for the installation to complete. Then, the project can be started by running the following:

docker-compose up -d

Raspberry Pi Installation From Source

If you plan to work on the code for the project, it might make more sense to install the software directly on your machine instead of running everything in Docker containers. openag_brain ships with an install script.

To run it, first, clone openag_brain into ~/catkin_ws/src (~/catkin_ws is the ROS build space):

mkdir -p ~/catkin_ws/src
cd ~/catkin_ws/src
git clone

Now that openag_brain is in the catkin_build space, you can run the install script:

cd ~/catkin_ws/src/openag_brain

This will set up a full development environment for openag_brain and ROS.

Generic Installation From Source

If neither the Docker image nor the install script work for you, for whatever reason, you will have to install each component of the system yourself.

First, install ROS Indigo on your machine. There are installation instructions here for doing so. For Raspberry Pi, there are instructions here instead.

Next, install an instance of CouchDB on your machine. there are installation instructions here for doing so. In newer versions of Ubuntu (13.10 and up), this can be done via:

sudo apt-get install couchdb

Create a catkin workspace as described here. Then, install the code from the openag_brain repository in this workspace as follows:

cd ~/catkin_ws/src
git clone
cd ..
catkin_make install
rosdep install -i openag_brain

To run any of the openag commands, you must first activate the catkin workspace as follows:

source ~/catkin_ws/devel/setup.bash

Finally, you must install PlatformIO. PlatformIO and rosserial use different versions of pyserial, so installing them both on the same machine will break things. Instead, platformio should be installed in a python virtual environment. There is a script in openag_brain that will do this for you:

rosrun openag_brain install_pio


If you are running the Docker image, the project should run automatically and persist through reboots. Otherwise, with the catkin workspace active, the project can be run as follows:

rosrun openag_brain main -f default

The -f default flag (which is also used by the Docker image) loads a fixture named default which populates the database with a basic module configuration. You should be able to view the CouchDB server by going to http://localhost:5984/_utils in your browser. This is a good way to test that the project is actually running. See :ref:`ROSNodes` for instructions on how to configure the software to interface with your specific hardware.


ROS allows for Node level testing and Unit Level testing, the details can be found at

Tests can be run using rostest which runs the <test> tags in a launch file. For example, here's how to test a single ROS node:

rostest openag_brain test_direct_controller.launch

The log files for debugging can be found at:

test logs:
rosmaster stdout:

Happy Testing!