Workstation Setup

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This tutorial describes the setup of a development workstation

Required Hardware

Install Ubuntu

Current required version: Ubuntu 14.04

Follow the standard Ubuntu Installation Instructions for 14.04 (Desktop):

Open Terminal App

Search your computer for the Terminal package, and open it:


The rest of the workstation setup tutorial will take place in by typing commands in this terminal prompt.

Install ROS

Current supported version: ROS Indigo.

Configure Ubuntu repositories

Configure your Ubuntu repositories to allow "restricted," "universe," and "multiverse." You can follow the Ubuntu guide for instructions on doing this.

Likely, they are already configured properly, and you only need to confirm the configuration.

Setup your sources.list

$ sudo sh -c 'echo "deb trusty main" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ros-latest.list'

Setup your keys

$ wget -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Update to Latest Software Lists

$ sudo apt-get update

Install ROS Indigo Desktop Full

$ sudo apt-get install ros-indigo-desktop-full

NOTE: You may get a prompt about 'hddtemp' during the installation. You can safely answer 'No'.

Initialize rosdep

rosdep enables you to easily install system dependencies for source you want to compile and is required to run some core components in ROS.

$ sudo rosdep init
$ rosdep update

Install rosinstall

$ sudo apt-get install python-rosinstall

Create Development Workspace

Create ROS Workspace

$ mkdir -p ~/ros_ws/src
# ros_ws (short for ROS Workspace)

Source ROS and Build

ROS Indigo (Supported)

Source ROS Setup

$ source /opt/ros/indigo/setup.bash


$ cd ~/ros_ws
$ catkin_make

Install Intera SDK Dependencies

ROS Indigo (Supported)

Install SDK Dependencies

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install git-core python-argparse python-wstool python-vcstools python-rosdep ros-indigo-control-msgs ros-indigo-joystick-drivers ros-indigo-xacro ros-indigo-tf2-ros ros-indigo-rviz ros-indigo-cv-bridge ros-indigo-actionlib ros-indigo-actionlib-msgs ros-indigo-dynamic-reconfigure ros-indigo-trajectory-msgs

Install Intera Robot SDK

Download the SDK on your Workstation

Checkout all required Github Repositories into your ROS workspace source directory: Use git clone or download the packages directly from Github:

$ cd ~/ros_ws/src
$ wstool init .
$ git clone
$ wstool merge sawyer_robot/sawyer_robot.rosinstall
$ wstool update

Source ROS Setup

You must use ROS Indigo to use RSDK, use command below:

# ROS Indigo
$ source /opt/ros/indigo/setup.bash


$ cd ~/ros_ws
$ catkin_make

Configure Robot Communication/ROS Workspace

This step describes the configuration and setup of your ROS environment. This section assumes you have linked your workstation to the robot via Ethernet.

Important Note: Connect to the robot via the ethernet port on the outside of the Controller. Connecting to the ethernet port inside the Controller door will not work (this is a diagnostic port that is only accessible by Rethink Employees).

Ethernet Port.png

See Network Setup for recommended network configurations. ROS Environment Setup

The script is a convenience script which allows for intuitive modification of the core ROS environment components. This user edited script will allow for the quickest and easiest ROS setup.

Further information and a detailed description is available on the SDK_Shell page.

Copy the script

The file already exists in intera_sdk repo, copy the file into your ros workspace.

$ cp ~/ros_ws/src/intera_sdk/ ~/ros_ws

Customize the script

Please edit the shell script making the necessary modifications to describe your development PC.

Using your favorite editor (gedit used for example)

$ cd ~/ros_ws
$ gedit

Edit the 'robot_hostname' field

Your robot's hostname is defaulted as the Controller's Serial Number and NOT the Robot's Serial Number. The serial number can be located on the back of the robot's controller box. Unless you intend to modify the default Networking configuration, leave the ".local" suffix on the end of the Controller's Serial Number in the robot_hostname.local field.

Edit the 'your_ip' field

Modify where 'your_ip' is either your computer's hostname or the IP address of your PC. We advise against using WiFi connections between your robot and workstation.


Useful command for identifying your IP address:

$ ifconfig
# Result will be contained in the 'inet addr' field (Ubuntu).

Alternatively, you may choose to use the hostname of your development PC rather than the PC's IP address. For instructions, press Expand on the right.

You may edit the 'your_hostname' field (only if not using 'your_ip'):


Important: This hostname must be resolvable to Sawyer. To test if your hostname is resolvable to Sawyer, please visit the development PC Hostname Validation page.

Important: Only set either ROS_IP *OR* ROS_HOSTNAME.

Setting of both ROS_IP and ROS_HOSTNAME will result in ROS_HOSTNAME taking priority, resulting in confusing environment setups. Comment out the unused method using the '#' as leading character.

Verify 'ros_version' field

Verify that the the 'ros_version' field matches the ROS version you are running:

This field will default to "indigo"


Save and Close script

Please save and close the script.

Initialize your SDK environment

From this point forward, your ROS environment setup should be as simple as sourcing the script from the root of your Catkin workspace:

$ cd ~/ros_ws
$ ./

Verify Environment

A useful command for viewing and validating your ROS environment setup is:

$ env | grep ROS

The important fields at this point:

ROS_MASTER_URI - This should now contain your robot's hostname.

ROS_IP - This should contain your workstation's IP address.


ROS_HOSTNAME - If not using the workstation's IP address, the ROS_HOSTNAME field should contain your PC's hostname. Otherwise, this field should not be available.

Try to get rostopic list from robot by typing following command:

$ rostopic list

You can see the rostopic list from the command line output similar as following:

Rostopic list.png

Setup Rviz

We can also setup Rviz to view robot model, start Rviz from a properly initialized environment using:

$ rosrun rviz rviz

Set the Fixed Frame as /base

Info: The ‘Fixed Frame’ provides a static, base reference for your visualization. Any sensor data that comes in to rviz will be transformed into that reference frame so it can be properly displayed in the virtual world.

Rviz Fixed Frame.png

Add robot model into Rviz by clicking add button, then select robot model in the list, press OK to add.

Rviz Add Model.png

Now you can visualize your robot on Rivz! Next : Hello Robot