Live Robot Programming: The language, its implementation, and robot API independence

Miguel Campusano*, Johan Fabry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Typically, development of robot behavior entails writing the code, deploying it on a simulator or robot and running it in a test setting. If this feedback reveals errors, the programmer mentally needs to map the error in behavior back to the source code that caused it before being able to fix it. This process suffers from a long cognitive distance between the code and the resulting behavior, which slows down development and can make experimentation with different behaviors prohibitively expensive. In contrast, Live Programming tightens the feedback loop, minimizing the cognitive distance. As a result, programmers benefit from an immediate connection with the program that they are making thanks to an immediate, ‘live’ feedback on program behavior. This allows for extremely rapid creation, or variation, of robot behavior and for dramatically increased debugging speed. To enable such Live Robot Programming, in this article we discuss LRP; our language that provides for live programming of nested state machines. We detail the design of the language and show its features, give an overview of the interpreter and how it enables the liveness properties of the language, and illustrate its independence from specific robot APIs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of Computer Programming
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 1. Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Miguel Campusano is funded by CONICYT-PCHA/Doctorado Nacional/2015-21151534.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Live Programming
  • Nested state machines
  • Robot


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