RobotUI - A Software Architecture for Modular Robotics User Interface Frameworks

IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) 2012, Vilamoura, Portugal, October 7-12

Florian Poppa & Uwe R. Zimmer

State of the art robotics frameworks are based on modular architectures enabling them to cope with the complexity demanded by robotic applications. The encapsulation of the framework modules is the key to their reuse in various robotic scenarios. Model-driven approaches further simplify the reuse of already implemented and tested modules by enabling developers to model their applications on a higher abstraction level incorporating existing modules [1]. Unfortunately, this progress is only present for the implementation of the robot behavior itself, but not for the accompanying user interfaces (UIs).
The contributions of this paper are threefold: In a first step we introduce the idea of dedicated robotics UI frameworks which allow the reuse of UIs across robotics frameworks. The paper then presents an architecture for flexible and versatile UI frameworks for robotics applications by investigating and specifying the necessary features for such systems on a platform and programming language independent basis. The introduced ROBOTUI architecture fosters code reuse on the level of self-contained UI modules and enables the user to build new robotics related UIs based on existing UI building blocks. Finally, we present an implementation of the proposed architecture and demonstrate the advantages of a dedicated UI framework and the high level of code reuse achieved by implementing the modular RobotUI architecture.

Abstract | Paper (pdf)