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Developer tips

This page collates some tips that may be useful for users developing software for ARIAC.

Shorter ARIAC teardown time

When ARIAC is launched, several processes are run, one of which is gzserver. This process does not always terminate properly when ARIAC is being torn down, and as a result must be terminated by roslaunch. The amount of time that passes before this occurs defaults to more than 15 seconds. To shorten it, edit the _TIMEOUT_SIGINT variable at the top of the following file:

# /opt/ros/kinetic/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/roslaunch/

Choose a value lower than 15, such as 2. Note that this change is permanent (but reversible) and will impact all processes launched with roslaunch, not just ARIAC.

Running ARIAC with cheats enabled

By default, the ARIAC_COMPETITION environment variable is set when running ARIAC, which disables cheats. To run ARIAC with cheats enabled, add the --development-mode option (or -d).

$ rosrun osrf_gear --development-mode

Teardown ARIAC upon trial completion

If you set the ARIAC_EXIT_ON_COMPLETION environment variable, the process running an ARIAC trial will exit once the trial ends.

$ rosrun osrf_gear

This change will persist with the terminal in which the environment variable has been set. To undo it, use:


Running ARIAC with debugging output

To run ARIAC with debug output, add the --verbose option (or -v).

$ rosrun osrf_gear --verbose

Running ARIAC without simulation visualization

To run ARIAC without simulation visualization, add the --no-gui option. Logging will still work and logs can be played back with visualization afterwards.

$ rosrun osrf_gear --no-gui


The rqt GUI has many plugins that are useful for development. The Joint trajectory controller and the Service caller may be of particular use to ARIAC developers.


MoveIt provides an RViz plugin for interacting with the arm. See the MoveIt ARIAC tutorial.

Spawning models in the ARIAC environment

It may be useful for development purposes to spawn models in the ARIAC Gazebo environment. An example of doing so is:

$ rosrun gazebo_ros spawn_model -sdf -x 1.192 -y 3.92 -z 0.9 -model gear_part_0 -file `catkin_find osrf_gear --share`/models/gear_part_ariac/model.sdf

Note that in order for models to be detected by the logical cameras, they must following the naming convention of <model_name>_<N> e.g. gear_part_0.

Save Gazebo configuration

If you wish to run Gazebo in a position/size other than the default, rather than moving/rescaling it each time you run ARIAC, you can save the configuration with File > Save Configuraiton (from within Gazebo).

Monitoring TF frames

Various components of ARIAC publish transform frames, such as a logical camera publishing the poses of the parts that it sees. The tf package provides some command-line tools for interacting with transform information. For example, to know the pose of a frame with respect to the ARIAC environment origin, run:

$ rosrun tf tf_echo /world /bin7_frame
At time 0.000
- Translation: [-0.300, 0.230, 0.720]
- Rotation: in Quaternion [0.000, 0.000, 0.707, 0.707]
            in RPY (radian) [0.000, -0.000, 1.571]
            in RPY (degree) [0.000, -0.000, 90.000]

Note that ARIAC uses tf2_msgs and not the deprecated tf_msgs. Accordingly, you should use the tf2 ROS bindings instead of tf.