Autonomous Robots

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 149–176 | Cite as

OpenRatSLAM: an open source brain-based SLAM system

  • David BallEmail author
  • Scott Heath
  • Janet Wiles
  • Gordon Wyeth
  • Peter Corke
  • Michael Milford


RatSLAM is a navigation system based on the neural processes underlying navigation in the rodent brain, capable of operating with low resolution monocular image data. Seminal experiments using RatSLAM include mapping an entire suburb with a web camera and a long term robot delivery trial. This paper describes OpenRatSLAM, an open-source version of RatSLAM with bindings to the Robot Operating System framework to leverage advantages such as robot and sensor abstraction, networking, data playback, and visualization. OpenRatSLAM comprises connected ROS nodes to represent RatSLAM’s pose cells, experience map, and local view cells, as well as a fourth node that provides visual odometry estimates. The nodes are described with reference to the RatSLAM model and salient details of the ROS implementation such as topics, messages, parameters, class diagrams, sequence diagrams, and parameter tuning strategies. The performance of the system is demonstrated on three publicly available open-source datasets.


RatSLAM OpenRatSLAM SLAM Navigation Mapping Brain-based Appearance-based ROS Open-source Hippocampus 



This work was supported in part by the Australian Research Council under a Discovery Project Grant DP0987078 to GW and JW, a Special Research Initiative on Thinking Systems TS0669699 to GW and JW and a Discovery Project Grant DP1212775 to MM. We would like to thank Samuel Brian for coding an iRat ground truth tracking system.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ball
    • 1
    Email author
  • Scott Heath
    • 2
  • Janet Wiles
    • 2
  • Gordon Wyeth
    • 1
  • Peter Corke
    • 1
  • Michael Milford
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Information Technology and Electrical EngineeringThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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