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README.txt

2015-01-03
Author: Riccardo Monica <rmonica[at]ce.unipr.it>
  RIMLab, Department of Information Engineering, University of Parma, Italy
  http://www.rimlab.ce.unipr.it/

-- INTRODUCTION --
This repository contains a KinFu Large Scale wrapper for ROS (Robot Operating System, www.ros.org).
KinFu is the KinectFusion implementation by PCL (Point Cloud Library, www.pointclouds.org).
The original version of this wrapper was developed by Michael Korn <michael.korn(at)uni-due.de> and published at "http://fsstud.is.uni-due.de/svn/ros/is/kinfu/". That version just published the tracked reference frame to TF and the current synthetic depth map.
Some features were added. These include:
- World model download as ROS message
- Known voxels download as ROS message
- Commands to start, stop, run only once, reset
- Use external tracking, from ROS messages or TF frames
- Clear part of the world model, defined by a sphere or a bounding box
- Request for synthetic depth maps, projected from arbitrary locations
- Detection of unknown borders and frontiers

The PCL KinFu Large Scale source code was integrated into the repository.
As of 2018-03-12, the integrated source code diverged significantly from original KinFu, due to many off-by-one errors which were discovered in the rolling buffer code.
The code is not backward compatible with original KinFu.

In this repository, there are four ROS packages, explained in the following sections.

-- KINFU_MSGS --

Definition of the messages for the other packages.

-- KINFU --

The core package. This package runs KinFu and the extensions. Since PCL dropped support for KinFu, the source code has been copied in the package. The simple installation procedure is detailed in kinfu/INSTALL.txt.

The kinfu node accepts two main types of message: requests and commands.

Commands are used to change the KinFu behavior at runtime and are executed by sending a kinfu_msgs/KinfuCommand message to the topic "/kinfu_command_topic". After its execution, the command will cause a std_msgs/String ack message to be sent to the "/kinfu_command_ack_topic", reporting the command_id of the command, with the added string ":OK" if succeeded or ":NO" otherwise.
Moreover, a pose hint for the KinFu tracking may be added to a command. This can be combined with some commands to guarantee that they are executed and simultaneously the KinFu tracking is set to that position. For example, sending a COMMAND_TYPE_RESUME with a forced hint allows to resume the KinFu from a specific pose.

It is possible to force the tracked pose to stick to a TF frame, thus disabling the internal ICP tracking. This may be done by setting the parameters "forced_tf_position" to true and "first_frame_reference_name" and "current_frame_reference_name" respectively to the reference frame and the Kinect frame. The same result may also be achieved at runtime with COMMAND_TYPE_SET_FORCED_TF_FRAMES.

Requests ask kinfu to publish parts of the internal representation, optionally processed in a few ways.
See kinfu_msgs/KinfuTsdfRequest.msg for the message type.

For requests, the kinfu node offers two interfaces:
* message-based interface *
Requests are sent to the kinfu node, through the topic defined by the parameter request_topic (default: "/kinfu_request_topic").
Responses are published by the kinfu node into the topic specified by the request_source_name field in the request.
NOTE: Since ROS is unable to guarantee the delivery of a message sent by a just-created publisher, kinfu creates a latched publisher and keeps it alive until a subscriber is detected on the topic. If no subscriber is detected, the publisher is discarded after 30 seconds.

* action-based interface *
This interface wraps the request/response mechanism of kinfu inside an action (actionlib).
The kinfu node creates an action server (by default, /kinfu_output/actions/request), of type kinfu_msgs/Request.action.
Multiple actions may be active at the same time and are executed concurrently, if possible (access to KinFu is always exclusive).

Parameters and their default values are listed in "kinfu/src/parameters.h".

-- KINFU_TF_FEEDER --

The kinfu_tf_feeder node is a simple utility node that feeds the hints from TF by sending commands to the kinfu node. This allows for a greater flexibility than using the "forced_tf_position" parameter. The node may send the hint only if the TF frame is recent enough. In addition, it can use COMMAND_TYPE_TRIGGER, so a suspended kinfu node may be executed only when fresh TF data is available.

-- KINFU_VOXELGRID_CONVERSIONS --

This node can convert the std_msgs/Float32MultiArray message from REQUEST_TYPE_GET_VOXELGRID into:
- sensor_msgs/PointCloud2
- arm_navigation_msgs/CollisionMap (for OpenRAVE planner)
- moveit_msgs/PlanningScene (for MoveIt! planner)
The collision maps are built as a set of cubes. A few basic compression algorithms are available.

-- KINFU_OUTPUT --

When the kinfu package was first created, in 2013, PCL and ROS were not fully independent yet. ROS would include (parts of) its own version of PCL, even when another version was installed in the system or compiled specifically to enable KinFu. This caused all sorts of compatibility problems.
For this reason, the kinfu_output node was created. It communicated with the kinfu node through custom-defined messages, and converted them into ROS standard messages.
As of 2016, the source of KinFu is included in the package, and separation between ROS and PCL is complete on both Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 16.04. The kinfu_output node is not needed anymore, and its functionality is integrated into the kinfu node.

-- PUBLICATIONS --

R. Monica, J. Aleotti, Contour-based next-best view planning from point cloud segmentation of unknown objects, Autonomous Robots, Volume 42, Issue 2, February 2018, Pages 443-458
Riccardo Monica, Jacopo Aleotti, Stefano Caselli, A KinFu based approach for robot spatial attention and view planning, Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Volume 75, Part B, 2016

2016-11-08