Robot Web Tools (http://robotwebtools.org) is an ongoing effort to realize seamless, general, and implementation-independent applications layer network communications for robotics through the design of open-source network protocols and client libraries. A principal goal of RWT is to converge robot middleware (i.e. ROS) with modern web and network technologies to enable a broadly accessible environment for robot front-end development, cloud robotics, and human-interaction research suitable for use over public wide area networks. Instead of relying on the complex network configuration required by ROS and other cloud robotics paradigms, we have extended the generic rosbridge protocol of RWT that can operate over a variety of network transports, including the web-accessible WebSockets and considerably improved the interoperability of robot systems.
Robot Web Tools is a collaborative effort between the RAIL lab (WPI/Georgia Tech), Brown, Willow Garage, Washington University in St. Louis, Yujin Robot Co and Robert Bosch LLC.
Early work on this project is described in:
B. Alexander, K. Hsiao, C. Jenkins, B. Suay, and R. Toris, “Robot Web Tools [ROS topics],” Robotics & Automation Magazine, IEEE, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 20–23, 2012.
The following 2015 paper describes the updated design of the RWT client-server architecture and use for developing web-accessible user interfaces for robots, the technical challenges and improved methods for network transport of high-bandwidth ROS topics, such as for articulated kinematics transforms, point clouds, and image streams, and a survey of broader adoption and use of RWT in applications across robotics research and development.
Russell Toris Julius Kammerl, David Lu Jihoon Lee Odest Chadwicke Jenkins Sarah Osentoski Mitchell Wills Sonia Chernova. Robot Web Tools: Efficient Messaging for Cloud Robotics. In proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2015.