[robotics-worldwide] [software] Skinware: a real-time framework for data acquisition from robot skins

Fulvio Mastrogiovanni fulvio.mastrogiovanni at unige.it
Wed Jun 17 00:53:23 PDT 2015

Dear Roboticists,

We are pleased to announce Skinware [1], a new GPLv2+ free software framework
for real-time data acquisition from robot skins. Skinware has been created at
the University of Genoa [2] alongside European Union FP7 projects ROBOSKIN [3]
and CloPeMa [4] and the CySkin project [5]. A manuscript describing the
architecture of Skinware is available online [6], and one describing the newest
improvements (corresponding to Skinware 2.0) will be published shortly.

Skinware provides a highly extensible software framework for acquiring sensor
data from robot skins, likely containing as large as tens of thousands of
sensors, as well as sharing processed data with other processes. Skinware is
built with hard real-time constraints in mind and uses real-time patches to
Linux, while at the same time allowing non-real-time builds for debugging and
testing purposes. If required, it could be built as a Linux kernel module for
those hardware that require kernel-level tasks to ensure hard real-time
properties, while allowing user-space processes to access their data.

Skinware's strength lies not only in its robot-skin-tailored hard real-time
inter-process communication, but also its ability to abstract away from
differing robot skin technologies, thus allowing the same application to
process tactile (or otherwise) information regardless of the attached robot
skin technology, or even mix of technologies. Thanks to its modular design and
loosely-coupled components, such features as hot-plugging are possible, or for
example disabling and re-enabling parts of the robot skin, be it to restart a
faulty piece of hardware or for energy saving.

Software Features:

- Operating environment: POSIX systems (currently tested with Linux), the Linux
- Real-time patches: RTAI, RT-Preempt work in progress
- Programming languages: C99, C++11 and Python
- Number of simultaneous robot skin technologies attached: as many as you need!
- Accompanying software: spatial-calibration service, sample motion-detection
service, a visualiser application
- Documentation: both API documentation [7] and wiki tutorials [8]

Software website: http://www.cyskin.com/software-development/
Source code: https://github.com/maclab/skinware
Mailing list: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/skinware

University of Genoa

[1] https://github.com/maclab/skinware/releases/tag/v2.0.0
[2] http://www.maclab.dibris.unige.it/
[3] http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/89511_en.html
[4] http://www.clopema.eu/
[5] http://www.cyskin.com/
[6] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921889015000172
[7] https://github.com/ShabbyX/URT/releases/tag/v0.5.0
[8] https://github.com/maclab/skinware/wiki


Fulvio Mastrogiovanni

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