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TurtleBot SLAM (with RTAB-Map, Hand-Gestures, Face Recognition & AR Code Tracking)


Navigation of TurtleBot using hand-gestures to find target locations marked with AR codes and/or to find a specific person using face-recognition


  • Please visit http://abhipatil.me/portfolio/tbot_slam/


The following sections describe contents of this package and how to use them:

1. Pre-requisites:

The following hardware is required for complete execution of project:

  1. TurtleBot 2 (with Kobuki base)
  2. Kinect (mounted on TurtleBot)
  3. A computer with webcam and installed with ROS Indigo and Ubuntu 14.04 (mounted/connected on TurtleBot)
  4. A second computer installed with ROS Indigo and Ubuntu 14.04 for visualization (Rviz) and hand gesture API
  5. A second depth camera is preferred (ASUS Xtion Pro or Kinect) for hand gesture recognition; this will be connected to the second computer
  6. Printed AR codes from 2 to 5 that could be placed anywhere around TurtleBot

The following needs to be setup in order to run all nodes:

  1. TurtleBot setup
  2. TurtleBot networking setup
  3. Second depth camera setup (ASUS Xtion Pro camera) - Please edit the camera_id parameter value in asus_cam.launch with appropriate value for your camera. To find your camera_id value, launch the OpenNI2 driver and look for device_id:
roslaunch openni2_launch openni2.launch

The following packages need to be installed:

  1. rtabmap_ros - RTAB-Map package
  2. openni2_launch - required if using ASUS Xtion Pro for hand gesture recognition
  3. freenect_launch - required for 3dsensor.launch with TurtleBot navigation
  4. ar_track_alvar - to recognize AR code tags and move TurtleBot towards them

2. 'tbotnav' Package Contents

This package consists the following nodes:


  1. move_to_pose.py - this node is used to move TurtleBot to a specific pose and uses the MoveBaseAction and MoveBaseGoal messages to do so
  2. run_tbot_routine.py - this is the main node that performs the entire routine, combining various nodes, as outlined in the overview section; this node subscribes to the following topics:
    a. ar_pose_marker - to determine the id and pose estimate of AR code
    b. num_fingers - the detected number of fingers using hand gestures
    c. face_names - get the names of people detected during face recognition mode
    d. odom - this is required to know the current odometry of the robot and perform odom correction (implementation in progress)

Hand Gesture Recognition:

  1. fingers_recog.py - this node takes a input image and outputs an image with detected number of fingers
  2. get_hand_gestures.py - this node subscribes to a depth image /asus/depth/image_raw, processes the image using finger_recog.py and publishes the detected number of fingers at the topic num_fingers. This node also outputs an image window showing the depth feed with hand and detected number of fingers.

Face Recognition:

  1. train_faces.py - this node subscribes to a RGB image stream from webcam, detects faces, captures faces for training (using Fisherfaces algorithm) and saves the trained data in a xml file, to be used in face recognition.
  2. face_recog.py - this node subscribes to RGB image stream from webcam, loads the trained data file from above and performs face recognition.
  3. gui_face.py - this node launches a simple GUI making it easier for users to input their name, captures their faces, train the data and finally run the recognition API

This package consists the following launch files:

  1. move_base_rtabmap.launch - (to be launched on TurtleBot computer) this file performs the following:
    a. Launches minimal.launch from TurtleBot_bringup package
    b. Runs the move_base node for navigation
    c. Runs the rtabmap node
    d. Launches alvar.launch for AR code detection
    e. Runs the usb_cam node for face recognition

  2. tbot_routine.launch:
    a. Launches tbot_routine_rviz.launch and runs the rviz node, opening up a Rviz visualization window
    b. Launches asus_cam.launch, launching openni2.launch with custom camera_id
    c. Runs the get_hand_gestures node

3. Step-by-step guide:

  1. Turn on TurtleBot and ensure that networking is setup correctly

  2. Connect ASUS Xtion Pro to your 'second' computer for hand gesture recognition

  3. Source the TurtleBot workspace. For e.g, if your workspace is called tbot_ws, enter in command line:

    source ~/tbot_ws/devel/setup.bash
  4. On TurtleBot computer, run:

    roslaunch tbotnav move_base_rtabmap.launch
  5. On your 'second' computer, run:

    roslaunch tbotnav tbot_routine.launch
  6. On your 'second' computer, in another terminal window, run:

    rosrun tbotnav run_tbot_routine.py
  7. Follow the instructions on the window launched in (6)

Future work:

  • Object tracking: Replace AR code tracking and get TurtleBot to find specific objects in the environment
  • RTAB-Map & beyond: Explore the capabilities of RTAB-Map and RGB-D SLAM to make the navigation more robust
  • Simple is beautiful: Improve the overall execution of the project to make it more user interactive by making it simpler/easier

This project was completed as part of the MS in Robotics (MSR) program at Northwestern University.