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Robotiq Q&A with ROS Contributor

Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette
by Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette on May 25, 2015 3:49:00 PM

Over the years, we have seen a bunch of applications in many research fields, with the introduction of ROS Industrial in the robotic world, life just got easier for people who want to share their code or part of their code with other users. At Robotiq we are really happy to support and help people that want to develop these types of tools for all different kinds of applications. We would like to recognize several important contributors to the ROS package over the course of a couple of blog posts, one of them is Devon Ash from Clearpath Robotics. Devon contributed to the package mainly for simulation purposes for the different mobile manipulators that Clearpath Robotics is producing. Here is a short Q&A on Devon’s contribution to the Robotiq ROS package.

Robotiq: How did you use the Robotiq ROS packages?


Clearpath: Concerning the Grizzly Mobile Manipulator (UR10 matched with the Robotiq 3-Finger Adaptive Gripper), I've been developing support for the Robotiq package to the Clearpath Robotics platforms. This means I created simulations and added it onto an arm to test things out before building the real robots which are set to become Clearpath Robotics products. We haven't developed any applications yet, we leave that up to the user of the platform, but all the functionality and a quick ''READ ME'' is there for anyone who wishes to use MoveIt with the arm, and separate ROS commands to open and close the Robotiq Gripper via Gazebo or RViz (Or our platform if you have a Grizzly, UR10 Arm and a Robotiq Gripper).

Concerning the Husky, UR5 + Robotiq 2-Finger 85 Gripper. We will be showing up at ICRA 2015 with the Husky Mobile Manipulator platform as well. It has a similar architecture to the one above.

Robotiq: What is your contribution to the package?

Clearpath: I was looking to add the Robotiq Gripper to Gazebo at the time and wanted an accurate model that had underactuation in it. The URDF (Unified Robot Description Format) model provided in the Robotiq visualization code on Github at the time was very simple, and is fine for simple actions. After some research and looking around, I realized that the Atlas robot was using the Robotiq Grippers and a much more sophisticated package developed by John Hsu. However, it was integrated for a higher level of Gazebo and so some hacking/patching was required to get this to work in ROS Hydro. My contribution was to migrate the development work done by John Hsu for the Atlas robots' Robotiq 3-Finger Gripper into the main Robotiq Github. It can be found at

The contribution included the robotiq_gazebo, robotiq_gazebo_msgs, and robotiq_gazebo_pugins ROS packages for the articulated version of the Robotiq Gripper (which includes under-actuation support in the Gazebo simulation). I ported them, but John Hsu actually developed them.

Robotiq: What is your understanding of Robotiq products?

Clearpath: From the prior answers, it's easy to see how portable the code and the hardware are for the Robotiq Gripper. I had it working in simulation on three different robotic platforms and on real hardware on 2 different platforms within a month from the start of development. Now the whole community has access to it. Not only that, it's really the only Gripper I've seen that has under actuation support in Gazebo, and that responds fully. In the future, I would love to integrate the Robotiq Gripper with MoveIt with the Clearpath Robotics products, which will fully show the strength of the code that is already existing, and the ability of the Gripper.

The code review happened really quickly for Robotiq, and I am thankful for that as some products are made and then forgotten about, but not Robotiq. We (myself and the Robotiq team) fully understood the value of providing the community with Gazebo support in their mainline repositories and releases, and we made it happen. Having a product that works as it should, is better in my opinion, than a product that tries to do everything and accomplishes nothing.

Our thanks to Devon for his much appreciated contribution to the ROS community.

We will be posting other small Q&As on different contributors to the ROS package to share their experiences using this platform and our product. Hope that you have enjoyed it. If you want to learn more about other research projects that have been done with our Grippers, take a look at the link below or check out this video from DLR.

Innovative robotic r&d projects robotiq

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Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette
Mathieu is a production engineer at Robotiq, where he constantly strives to optimize the production line for Robotiq Grippers. He enjoys discovering new robotic applications and sharing what he learns on Robotiq's blog.
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