The Rossum Project / News: Recent posts

CAD Authoring Tool Available for RP1

A new tool called Map Viewer is now available
for RP1.

Before the introduction of Map Viewer, the most
significant impediment to using RP1 was the
difficulty of creating floor plans for the simulated
environment. Now, author Shane O'Sullivan has
created a CAD-like tool that makes it possible to
construct floor plans quickly and easily. The Map
Viewer application also includes support for
alternate robot simulators such as CARMEN,
Saphira, and Player/Stage.... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2005-01-24

Version 0.60 released

Version 0.60 of the Rossum's Playhouse (a.k.a. RP1)robot simulator is now available at the Rossum Project web site. Version 0.60 is the ninth public release of the system. It is also the first release of the RP1 simulator in over two years. The project has been on hiatus since the summer of 2002 and would have remained so had it not been for a request by a user for specific features (Ackerman steering and the ability for a robot to leave a paint trail as it moves across its environment). This new work represents a significant fact about open-source software: In any open-source project, development really depends as much on user interest and feedback as on the initiative of volunteers.... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2005-01-14

C/C++ API available for RP1 mobile robot simulator

I am pleased to announce that a C/C++ API is now
available for the RP1 mobile-robot simulator.
Although the RP1 is written in Java, the new
API allows C and C++ programs to operate simulated
robots interacting with the RP1 environment. The API has
tested successfully under Windows, Windows CE, Linux,
Sun Solaris, and will probably work under most Unix variants.

RP1 free software created as part of The Rossum Project,
an attempt to collect, create, and distribute open-source
software for robotics applications. The C/C++ API was written
by James Y. Wilson and is available at the Rossum
web site:... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2002-06-15

Need Feedback: Converting RP1 floor plans

Mark Roder is proposing to implement the ability to create
environments for the RP1 simulation ("floor plans") using an
XML-based specification. XML is a pretty hot topic right
now, and the idea has definite appeal.

I believe that it is important to the Project that we have
discussion on this kind of thing. Please give serious consideration
to adding your comments to the thread in our Developer's Forum ... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2001-03-04

MotionApplet updated to include acceleration

One of the things I like about working on an open-source
software project is that sometimes other people think
of things that I never considered. A case in point
is some recent improvements to the Rossum Project's
MotionApplet. Jing YE, a student at the University
of Melbourne, modified Michael Gauland's original
applet (which was pretty cool to start with),
adding logic to handle acceleration. The
original applet modeled the path of a robot
using a differential steering system, but assumed that
the robot would be traveling at a uniform speed.
I had hoped that, sooner or later, somebody would
add inputs for acceleration, but Jing YE's implementation
is better than what I expected (and includes a neat little
bit of coding for handling the differential equations
that describe robot motion). ... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2001-01-17

Important: Need Input on Proposed Changes

Last month, a contributor named Mark Roder posted a
notice in our Developer's Forum. The post included a
proposal to make several changes to the way the
RP1 robot simulator is packaged and distributed.
Since then, Mark and I exchanged a few emails and
last week he sent me a copy of his proposed changes
for review.

Some of his ideas are pretty good. All of them are
worthy of consideration. I have set up a temporary
"preview" page to allow interested parties to download
his package at... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2001-01-05

Rev 0.49 of Robot Simulator Released

Rev 0.49 of the RP1 Mobile-Robot Simulator is now available.

Rev 0.49 is primarily a maintenence release. Bugs were fixed. The animimation
was improved. The internal class organization was cleaned up some.

Rev 0.49 adds no significant new functions to the system. Several changes
were made to the code in preparation for some interesting new features that
will be introduced in the next release. Expect to see Rev 0.50 in early March.
For more news, see our download page... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-12-17

Rossum Gets a Christmas Present

One of my favorite robotics web sites is the "Cool Robot
of the Week" feature provided by NASA's Space Telerobotics
Program. Each week they identify a robotics project
as being noteworthy, innovative, and well... cool.
This week, the Cool Robot site they've chosen is none other
than The Rossum Project.

There are a lot of very impressive sites named on the
Cool Robot page, and I consider it an honor for Rossum to
be named as one of them. If you've never visited their
page, you're missing a real treat. Their URL is... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-12-13

Classy New Content Describes Robot and Algorithm

I am pleased to announce the addition of some
classy new content to The Rossum Project web site at

In his article "An Implementation of an Algorithm for
Robot Localization and Exploration", Vassilis Varveropoulos
describes an algorithm that he has implemented on a very
impressive robot. The robot, which is based on a highly
modified Rug Warrior base, uses a number of sensors, most
notably a Polaroid sonar range sensor mounted on a servo
motor to provide a 180 degree sweep. An RF link permits
it to communicate with a PC which performs the computationally
intensive navigation logic. ... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-11-22

New Rev of RP1 Robot Simulator

I am pleased to announce that Rev 0.48 of the RP1 mobile-robot
simulator is now available at

RP1 is a modest, 2-Dimensional robot simulator intended as
a tool for developing robot navigation and control software.
It allows a user to create a simulated robot that can
explore and interact with a virtual landscape. RP1 is
primarily a tool for software developers... using it requires
programming skills. Source code and binaries for RP1 are
available under the GNU General Public License.... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-10-30

Possible Tie-In with Way-Cool Java Robotics Project

From time to time, some of you have kindly sent me words of
praise for the RP1 robot simulator. So I think you'll identify with my
enthusiam for a robotics software project that I believe is an
absolutely remarkable accomplishment.

The tinyvm project,, is
offering an open-source Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for the
Lego Mindstorms RCX controller. Java Mindstorms is a system
which allows you to build robots from Lego components.
It includes a real-live microcontroller with 32 K of memory.
Somehow, the tinyvm folks have implemented a JVM that requires
less than 10 K of memory to run (16 K with class files) and
still manages to implement many of the major Java features
(including Threads and Exceptions, but not Garbage Collection).... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-10-10

Rev 0.47 Released; Notes on Project Status

I have just uploaded files for rev 0.47 of
the Rossum's Playhouse (RP1) Robot Simulator.

Rev 0.47 is a very minor release that features
bug fixes but does not add any new functionality.
I plan a more significant release in early November (see below).


RP1 development has been on hiatus since March
due to my personal and professional obligations,
though I did manage to upgrade the web site and write
a couple of papers (see
for more information). I am now trying to return to
software development. Of course, the success of
The Rossum Project ultimately depends on the participation
of both users and volunteer developers.... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-09-24

Source Code for Motion Applet Now Available

The source code for MotionApplet is now available. Motion Applet
is an interactive tool which shows the path of a robot given
certain parameters (based on forward kinematic equations).
It's a neat little tool for robotics.

You can download the code from our file-release system, or learn
more at

MotionApplet was written as a companion to a paper describing
a model for a robot locomotor system. The paper uses a
little bit of calculus, but is otherwise written for a general audience.... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-09-15

New Applet Provides Robot Path Tool

The Rossum Project has just posted a new Java applet that
allows you to analyze the path of a small wheeled robot
using the differential steering system. Michael Gauland created
the Java applet to illustrate the effect of different algorithms
for computing the path of a small wheeled robot.
You may view it at

The Rossum Project is an attempt to create a web resource providing
software, information, and tools for robotics applications.
Michael's MotionApplet is the first contribution from
an interested user. I'm hoping that there will be plenty of
others in the future. To learn more about The Rossum Project
visit ... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-08-18

It Pays to Advertise, or A New Face For Rossum?

I want to thank everyone for the positive response I received to my recent postings
in Source Forge's "Help Wanted" section over the last couple of weeks.

Among the email I received was a response to my request for help with
logos and graphics to help give the web site a bit of a face lift. Mike Santos
sent me an URL which includes a number of candidate logo's. If you
have comments, please feel free to post them on our "Open Discussion"
forum. His URL is... read more

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-07-30

Rossum to Debut at Source Forge

The Rossum Project is moving to Source Forge... a web service devoted to open source software. The move will make collaborative software development much easier. In the short term, we will be using Source Forge for User Forums and Mailing Lists, eventually it will be home to all our operations.

Posted by G. W. Lucas 2000-02-11