ViSP: a visual servoing platform
Participants : Fabien Spindler, Éric Marchand, Nicolas Melchior.
Visual servoing is a very active research area in robotics. A software environment that allows fast prototyping of visual servoing tasks is then of prime interest. The main difficulty is that it usually requires specific hardware (the robot and, most of the time, dedicated image framegrabbers). The consequence is that the resulting applications are often not portable and cannot be easily adapted to other environments. Today's software design allows proposing elementary components that can be combined to build portable high-level applications. Furthermore, the increasing speed of micro-processors allows developing real-time image processing algorithms on an usual workstation. We have thus developed a library of canonical vision-based tasks for eye-in-hand and eye-to-hand visual servoing that contains the most classical visual features that are used in practice. The ViSP software environment features all the following capabilities: independence with respect to the hardware, simplicity, extendability, portability. Moreover, ViSP involves a large library of elementary positioning tasks with respect to various basic visual features (points, straight lines, circles, spheres, cylinders, frames, ...) that can be combined together, and an image processing library that allows tracking of visual cues (dots, segments, ellipses,...). Simulation capabilities are also available. ViSP and its full functionalities are presented Fig. 1 and described in  .
This year, we continued to improve the software and documentation quality. A new open source version was released in April. It is available at http://www.irisa.fr/lagadic/visp/visp.html .
To ensure the stability of the software, daily builds were tighten on Inria's porting platform (Pipol) to test ViSP on new materials but also different software architectures (Linux, Windows, Mac OS). Moreover, new functionnalities were introduced like new visual servoing features, linear Kalman filtering, tracking of curves modelized by NURBS, control of the Adept Viper robot, real-time data plotting. A new release is planed in December.
ViSP last open source release code has been downloaded more than 360 times in 2009. It is used in research labs in France, USA, Japan, Korea, India, China, Lebanon, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and more recently Canada. For instance, it is used as a support in a graduate course delivered at MIT and at IFMA Clermont-Ferrand engineer school.