News Articles

New Ocular Robotics PCL code sprint

Ocular Robotics        Open Perception

Ocular Robotics' range of RobotEye RE0x 3D Scanning LIDAR systems deliver unique capabilities in the ability to direct the attention of the scanned beam to the region of interest of the application at the resolution required by the application down to 0.01 degree increments on a moment by moment basis. Take a mobile robotics application where you may want 3 lines between zero to five degrees about the horizon for obstacle avoidance updated at 5Hz while travelling from one point to the next. When the robot arrives at its destination it may need to paint a wider region in order to interact with an object put 100, 1000, up to a maximum of 3000 lines across an elevation range of -10 degrees to +20 degrees elevation for example to give the point density required for the designated task. In fact RE0x scanners even enable the scanning of user definable rectangular regions anywhere in the 360 degree azimuth by 70 degree elevation range of the RE0x scanners.

Ocular Robotics and Open Perception plan to undertake a Code Sprint aimed at developing a simulator for the RE0x sensors to allow the…

Occipital launches Structure

Structure Sensor

While depth sensors have become very popular since the release of the Kinect, they have been mostly limited to desktop and laptops. On Tuesday Occipital announced Structure, a depth sensor specifically designed for mobile applications. The sensor is compact, has its own battery and fits nicely to an iPad.

A high-level SDK will be provided for iOS, but Structure will be hacker-friendly and opensource drivers for Android and desktop will be available. A new grabber will also be contributed to PCL to connect with the community and enable an easy integration.

You can help make this happen faster by supporting the project on Kickstarter

PCL meetups

The recent ICRA (International Conference on Robotics and Automation) research conference hosted another successful PCL tutorial on Friday, May 10. Given the fact that some of the PCL luminaries were present at the event,  this was the perfect opportunity to use the day prior to the event and hold a meeting for a generic "PCL roadmap" discussion.


Taken almost as a scene from a Cosa Nostra movie, the group talked about PCL 1.7, interoperability issues regarding the PointCloud2 format, but also the way to push forward agendas using pcl-developers@ as a forum for discussions. Decisions such as "to break" or not a part of the API have always been open for vote in PCL, and as the code base and the community continue to grow, these decisions and discussions around them are going to be increasingly more important.


Such meetings have been proven to be very beneficial in the past as well for PCL, with all sorts of different collaborations being spawn between participants, some leading to joint research publications, while others resulting in better code contributions. Given that there's a plethora of scientific events being organized each year, we thought about encouraging any developers to propose such single day PCL tutorial sessions, in order to get a chance to meet your fellow colleague developers, but more importantly your users.…

Kinect for Windows with PCL

PCL's actual grabber interface provides a smooth and convenient access to different devices and their drivers, file formats and other sources of data. The first driver that was incorporated is the OpenNI Grabber, which makes it a breeze to request data streams from OpenNI compatible cameras. The cameras that have been tested so far are the Primesense Reference Design, Microsoft Kinect for XBox and Asus Xtion Pro.

Microsofts Kinect for Windows was not compatible with PCL yet, because it is driven by the Kinect SDK which is not compatible with OpenNI.


Now there is an Open Source package available containing a dll module which functions as bridge between the Kinect SDK, OpenNI and PCL.

bridge_solution.jpg oni_recording.jpg oni_playback.jpg

Project URL:

This bridge module was developped by Tomoto S. Washio and made compatible to PCL by Michael Dingerkus. For compatibility there is a patch included to install extensions for PCL in terms of handling…

Community Resources and Repositories

Following the January 7 news item on publicly available point cloud data sets many in the PCL community have responded positively, and contributed a number of links to publicly available data and software repositories.  Based on the comments and requests of these members it is clear that there is a need for a common place for researchers to advertise publicly available data and software related to the processing of point clouds.  As a step in this direction the set of collected links has been organized and placed on the PCL media page.  The community is encouraged to contribute new links as well as to comment on best way to organize these links as to provide easy access to high-quality data for the development and comparison of new algorithms related to point cloud processing.

City Center Bremen Germany

The above image shows an example data set from the Robotic 3D Scan Repository and has been reproduced with permission from Professor Andreas Nüchter, Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH, Germany.  

PCL-ORCS - code sprint success!

Ocular Robotics        Open Perception

Pat Marion, an R&D Engineer at Kitware, has concluded his work on the joint Open Perception - Ocular Robotics code sprint.  The goal of the code sprint was to develop a pcl::Grabber driver interface for the  RE0x laser sensors and to develop visualization code capable of real-time display of point cloud data streams acquired by the grabber interface.

The pcl::RobotEyeGrabber is a new C++ class that was added to the pcl io module.  It implements the pcl::Grabber interface and provides access to point cloud data streams sent over the network by RE0x laser sensors.  A point cloud visualization application called RobotEye Viewer was developed using the RobotEyeGrabber and PCLVisualizer.  The application uses the RobotEye C++ API to send control messages to the RobotEye laser sensor and displays real-time point cloud streams acquired using the grabber interface.

The following video demonstrates the RobotEye Viewer application in action using a RE05 laser sensor:



Presentation at Smart Libraries for Computer Graphics

Federico Tombari and Alex Ichim will be representing PCL at the Smart Libraries for Computer Graphics event organized by the Eurographics Italian Chapter. They will be giving a talk on the PCL modules, with a focus on registration.

Other famous open source libraries will show off their work: EigenVCGLibSpiderGL, g2o, MeshLab

For more information, check out the event website:

SwRI and NIST sponsor a new PCL code sprint

The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are sponsoring a new PCL code sprint! The efforts will be focused on developing algorithms for human detection and tracking, out of 2D camera imagery fused with 3D point cloud data (coming from ASUS XtionPRO cameras).

Interested candidates should submit the following information to

  • a brief resume
  • a list of existing PCL contributions (if any)
  • a list of projects (emphasis on open source projects please) that they contributed to in the past

This project requires good C++ programming skills, and knowledge of PCL internals.

3 new code sprints from Toyota and Open Perception

Toyota has been a long term supporter of PCL, and pretty much created the concept of code sprints for PCL, with the first PCL code sprint ever: TOCS! This year, we have partnered with our colleagues from Toyota again for a series of 3 new exciting code sprint projects:

  • Primitive shape (cylinders, spheres, cones, etc.) recognition in point cloud data
  • Segmentation/Clustering of objects in cluttered environments
  • 3D feature development and benchmarking

PCL-TOCS(#2) will run for 3 months during the spring of 2013. As always, interested candidates should submit the following information to

  • a brief resume
  • a list of existing PCL contributions (if any)
  • a list of projects (emphasis on open source projects please) that they contributed to in the past

This project requires good C++ programming skills, and knowledge of PCL internals.

Spectrolab PCL code sprint

It is our pleasure to announce a new code sprint from our host organization, Open Perception, and Spectrolab, a Boeing company. Spectrolab has expressed interest in connection with the potential possibilities that PCL offers, and we will be searching for outstanding candidates to participate in a new code sprint that involves the development of 3D Viewer Software in PCL, as well as an advanced sensor grabber for Spectrolab's SpectroScan3D LIDAR imager.

The sprint will run for 3 months in the spring of 2013. Potential candidates should submit the following information to

  • a brief resume
  • a list of existing PCL contributions (if any)
  • a list of projects (emphasis on open source projects please) that they contributed to in the past

This project requires good C++ programming skills, knowledge of PCL internals and a basic understanding of laser sensors and 3D visualization.

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