As part of the OPW program with OSRF, I was able to fly out to the University of Hong Kong to attend the first official ROS users meeting in Asia, ROS Kong 2014 . ROS (Robot Operating System) is an open source framework (a collection of software tools, libraries and drivers) mostly used in robotics. There I met with one of my mentors, Tully Foote, co-OPW intern Louise Poubel  and a subset of the international ROS community in attendance.
Speakers at the event highlighted research in a variety of topics that included service robotics applications, mapping, new and updated ROS packages and experience competing in the 2013 DARPA Grand Challenge. The presentations did not focus on the technical details but emphasized the range of research made possible with ROS. For example, getting a PR2 to fetch a sandwich :) . As an added treat, there was also a demonstration of the HKU Team’s Atlas robot. Atlas first used its cameras and Lidar sensors to grasp a pipe/baton to demonstrate semi-autonomous operation. After a quick calibration dance, the robot proceeded to pick and place an empty 5-gallon water bottle, a hand drill, then quite delicately, an egg.
OPW Round 7 ran from December 11, 2013 to March 11, 2014. During the three months, I’ve been exposed to, in no particular order: automation with bash scripting, SVN with mercurial, C++ in writing Gazebo plugins and worlds, Python with Google AppEngine and CourseBuilder, Amazon’s EC2 via CloudSim and, of course, Google Hangouts. All these came with working on the CloudSim-Ed project, the output of a brainstorming session which combined the proposed a directed, simulation heavy robotics course supplement and the Mentor2  program that targets secondary school students. And while the original simulation challenges were not the same as the envisioned ones, hopefully, the information gathered from this project can be used to launch more focused or creative ideas.
Testing out the Actuation Challenge for use in CloudSim requires launching a Simulator-Stable constellation from a CloudSim instance, connecting through SSH and cloning the cloudsim-ed-actuation package from there. The deploy script from Hugo Boyer  accepts the bitbucket username and project name where the repository resides.