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Why We Support Open Source Robotics Communities

June 27, 2024
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This will not be a controversial statement: modern robotics and autonomy thrive because of open source software and projects. And, like most other companies in the autonomy community, we rely on it, and our customers rely on it. That’s why we’ve made it a point to support the projects and communities that we benefit from, so that they can remain healthy and viable well into the future.

Tangram Vision Supports the Open Source Robotics Alliance

We’re excited to announce that, as of June 2024, we are the newest supporting members of the Open Source Robotics Alliance, the non-profit organization that provides governance, community oversight, and technical direction for projects including the Robot Operating System (aka ROS) and Gazebo among others.

OSRA and ROS play a central role in modern robotics. It’s hard to find a scaled or scaling robotics company that has not integrated some aspect of the ROS project into their device. And, beyond being stewards for ROS and other projects, the OSRA is one of the key organizers of the broader robotics community. This is a global community that spans from high school students just starting out in robotics to leaders of the world’s largest robotics companies. OSRA brings the community together with events around the world, and online communities as well.

Given the importance that ROS holds for us and our customers, there was no question that we should support the OSRA. If you are a robotics company, or a company that provides technology to robotics companies (like us), we recommend that you look into becoming a supporting member!

Tangram Vision Supports OpenCV

As a perception company, our entire team has used OpenCV at some point in our careers. For myself, I’ve used OpenCV since 2009 when my previous company, ReTel Technologies, used some of the earliest implementations of object detection as a key component for our human-in-the-loop video analytics system. Today, Tangram Vision uses some of OpenCV’s pattern detection libraries in MetriCal, our production line calibration system.

Much like the team at the OSRA, the team at OpenCV provides technical leadership and oversight of the OpenCV project. They ensure that roboticists, machine learning engineers, AI researchers, and others have access to tools to accelerate some of the hardest perception tasks at hand. And, like the team at the OSRA, they foster a community of hundreds of thousands to continue to develop, utilize, and improve OpenCV’s libraries.

We have been proud supporting members of OpenCV since 2023, and we are still the only organization to have paid our membership dues via a paper check. Want to support OpenCV as well? Send your check here (no other form of payment is recommended).

Tangram Vision Contributes Open Source Code

In addition to supporting the open source communities that are important to us and our customers, our team also regularly contributes open source code in two areas: the Rust programming language, and in perception generally.

You can see all of our open source projects and contributions at our Open Source Projects page, but we’ll highlight one here: RealSense™ Bindings for Rust.

Credit for the initial library goes to Jerry Lin. Since Jerry’s initial work, our team has taken on the task of further development and maintenance to ensure that all Rustaceans working with Intel® RealSense 3D sensors have access to a reliable and performant system for working with them.

This is how Tangram Vision supports and contributes to the Open Source tools that we, as roboticists and perception engineers, rely on. If you work for a company with the means to support these communities as well, we hope this post has inspired you to also contribute to these important projects.

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