Ball Aerospace COSMOS: Open Source Command and Control

COSMOSToday’s entry for “neat stuff I stumbled across on the web” discovery is COSMOS by Ball Aerospace, an open-source command-and-control system for embedded systems. It has been added to my candidate list of software platforms to drive low-level hardware projects.

My primary target for high-level infrastructure has and still remains ROS, but COSMOS will have its place in projects yet to come. The strengths of COSMOS is that it is already designed for specific scenarios around telemetry gathering and display so should be better suited for projects in that category. ROS also has telemetry capabilities but it is less focused on displaying that data to the user.

A robot running ROS is concerned about the data, but it is more concerned about what it should do in response to that data. COSMOS has less focus there. A command-and-control system gathers the data, shows it to the operator, and the operator decides what to do. COSMOS can send commands to the systems it is monitoring but the thinking between the input (data) and output (action) is mostly left open for the human operator and/or task-specific custom software. It feels like a platform for building my own SCADA system. It will also be useful for times when the project is purely a data-gathering operation with no response necessary.

COSMOS is written in Ruby using the Qt framework. I have a working knowledge of Ruby thanks to my exploration with Ruby on Rails, and I also have a minimal working knowledge of Qt thanks to the Tux Lab thermoformer project with the Raspberry Pi GUI. That experience should make things easier if I ever decide to get serious using COSMOS for a future project.

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