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PCL 1.2

We're thrilled to announce that Point Cloud Library (PCL) version 1.2 has been released!

PCL 1.2

You can find the latest source and binaries on our download page:

Thanks to the hard work of all of our awesome contributors, we've got a big list of new features.

In addition, our Ubuntu package structure has been completely reorganized:

  • pcl 1.0 was renamed to pcl-1.0. To stick with the old version please run:
    $ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libpcl-1.0-dev
  • pcl 1.2 is now available as separate packages for every subsystem
  • the Doxygen documentation is in packages in libpcl-1.2-doc
  • there is a default package that depends on the current PCL release to get the newest release all the time just do:
    $ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libpcl-all
  • New to PCL? Visit our downloads page and give it a try. If you're looking for ideas on how to get started, be sure to check out our growing collection of tutorials.

PCL and Toyota Code Sprint 2011

It is our immense pleasure to announce the beginning of a new PCL Code Sprint sponsored by Toyota: PCL-TOCS!

PCL Code Sprints are intended to rapidly advance the capabilities of the Point Cloud Library in a certain area/subject by offering stipends to talented student developers and pairing them with knowledgeable mentors for several months of accelerated software development. These sprints have been inspired by the Google Summer Of Code (GSOC) initiative, and we will be following the same basic model. Projects will run for an initial period of 3 months with the same structure and performance evaluations as the GSOC program, and all of the code produced will be open source.

For this fall's PCL-Toyota Code Sprint, we have identified the following important areas for further development in PCL, and we are therefore searching for outstanding candidates (and mentors) to work on the following projects:

  1. Surface reconstruction and point cloud smoothing

    Accurate surface reconstruction and point cloud smoothing have been demonstrated in specific test environments with minimal clutter and when the object of interest fills most of the field of view. However, additional algorithms are needed when performing surface…

PCL 1.1.1!

We're thrilled to announce that Point Cloud Library (PCL) version 1.1.1 has been released!

PCL 1.0.1

PCL 1.1.1 is a patch release, API compatible with 1.1. Here's a few of the release highlights:

A story about -ffast-math


A rambling account of a day-long bughunt.

Yesterday a colleague discovered that when running under ecto, PCL's ascii-format pcd writer output files with corrupted colors... many of the points were incorrectly black. This pcd writer packs four bytes into a float and serializes the float with standard c++ streaming operators. This program was executed by a python script; at length Eitan discovered that if he simply omitted the import of ecto_ros, without recompiling, the files were uncorrupted.

My first thought ODR violation, which results in Undefined Behavior, AKA Nasal Demons, bugs that manifest themselves in absolutely whatever way they choose. Probably it has nothing to do with the pcd writer per se, we thought. It might be a locale issue, i.e. that it was running on this colleague’s desk, we thought... we were wrong.

It was completely reproducible, but difficult to debug: the process loaded a python interpreter, ecto, ecto_pcl, ~20 PCL shared libraries,…

Clustered Viewpoint Feature Histogram (CVFH) for Object Recognition

Aitor Aldoma from the Technische Universität Wien (TUW) spent his internship at Willow Garage working on a 3D feature called Clustered Viewpoint Feature Histogram (CVFH) useful for object recognition and pose estimation of rigid objects. The feature was integrated into PCL and the PR2 grasping pipeline to allow grasping of objects in table top scenes (see video).

CVFH is a semi-global feature that can deal with partial occlusions, noise or segmentation artefacts. Moreover, it can be learned on synthetic models of objects represented as CAD models and yet perform very well recognising objects seen with a depth sensor like the Microsoft Kinect mounted on top of the PR2. Because of the invariance of CVFH about the roll of the camera, the Camera's Roll Histogram (CRH) has been proposed to solve this final degree of freedom to provide a full 6DOF pose of the object in the scene.

Being able to learn on CAD models has several advantages. Besides simplifying the training stage as there is no need for calibrated systems, there are several grasp simulators that given a CAD model of the PR2 gripper and a CAD model of an object, can compute off-line several grasp hypothesis…

RGBDemo 0.6

RGBDemo is a software based on OpenCV, OpenNI and PCL that aims at showcasing computer vision applications that benefit from the recently available Kinect-like cameras. It was partly developed at the RoboticsLab of Carlos III University (Madrid) by Nicolas Burrus.

The 0.6 release includes two new demos, an interactive program to calibrate multiple RGBD cameras, and a one shot 3D model acquisition of objects lying on a table based on PCL table top detector. See the video below for more information. Other demos include visual SLAM and people counting.

The core library behind it (called nestk) can be used to develop your own RGBD software, and code source for everything is available under LGPL license on the project webpage.

Read more

PCL 1.1!

We're thrilled to announce that Point Cloud Library (PCL) version 1.1 has been released!

PCL 1.1

You can find the latest source and binaries on our download page:

Thanks to the hard work of all of our awesome contributors, we've got a big list of new features:

  • new 3D features:
    • SHOT (Signature of Histograms of Orientations)
    • PPF (Point-Pair Features)
    • StatisticalMultiscaleInterestRegionExtraction
    • MultiscaleFeaturePersistence
  • improved documentation:
    • sample consensus model coefficients better explained
    • new tutorials (RadiusOutlierRemoval, ConditionalRemovalFilter, ConcatenateClouds, IterativeClosestPoint, KdTreeSearch, NARF Descriptor visualization, NARF keypoint extraction, ConcaveHull, PCLVisualizer demo)
  • new surface triangulation methods:
    • MarchingCubes, MarchingCubesGreedy
    • OrganizedFastMesh
    • SurfelSmoothing
    • SimplificationRemoveUnusedVertices
  • new registration methods:
    • PyramindFeatureMatching
    • CorrespondenceRejectorSampleConsensus
  • new…

Presentations from the PCL tutorial at RSS 2011

We uploaded some of the presentations given by our team of lecturers at the RSS 2011 PCL tutorial in Los Angeles, CA. Please visit for more information.

We would like to thank the conference organizers (go USC!), our lecturers, and of course, all the participants, for the extremely interesting discussions and all the fun times we had in LA!

Obviously the presentations can only capture a small part of what happened on site, including (what is potentially a world premiere!) our lecturers giving talks from overseas via 3D point clouds, the online coding sessions, and all the crazy Kinect/PSDK hackery that went on.

Hope to see you again at IROS in San Francisco, and thanks again for your continuous interest in PCL!

PCL 1.0.1!

We're thrilled to announce that Point Cloud Library (PCL) version 1.0.1 has been released!

PCL 1.0.1

PCL 1.0.1 is a patch release, API compatible with 1.0. Here's a few of the release highlights:

  • please note that version 1.0.0 had a flaw when creating ASCII pcd files. This version includes the tool pcd_convert_NaN_nan to fix this
  • added VTK file visualization to pcd_viewer
  • hiding the cminpack/FLANN headers, thus reducing compile time for user code
  • fixed IntegralImageNormalEstimation
  • tutorial updates and fixes + new tutorials. Changed tutorial structure to split CPP files from RST text.
  • better doxygen documentation for many functions
  • fixed a bug in ConditionalRemovalFilter where the keep_organized condition was reversed
  • removed BorderDescription and Histogram<2> from the list of explicit template instantiations
  • added PointXY point registration macros
  • added ExtractIndicesSelf unit test
  • fixed a lot of alignment issues on 32bit architectures
  • PCD ascii files now have each individual line trimmed for trailing spaces
  • internal changes for PCDReader/PCDWriter, where NAN data is represented as "nan"
  • sped up compilation with MSVC by adding…

GSOC Developers Blog

Our team of PCL developers working on the Google Summer Of Code project decided to start blogging about their experiences while using and developing PCL code. We hope that the information gathered here will be extremely useful for next year's GSOC, or for future generations of students that will try to go through the same steps (from users to contributors/developers).

The image below shows a snippet of the sort of information we expect to find there: results, screenshots, comments, formulas, and most importantly code snippets.

For more information, go to

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