Setting up QT

What you’ll need

  • A monitor
  • A mouse and keyboard
  • Wireless internet

QT has two ports: one USB-C and one USB-A. You’ll need to use the USB-C port for display and figure out how to control a mouse and keyboard. I suggest a USB-C hub that has a display port that you can use (USB-C or HDMI, for example) and has USB-A ports for your mouse and keyboard. Alternatively, you can use a USB-A hub to connect your mouse and keyboard to QT.


If you have trouble using your mouse or keyboard through a USB-C port, try flipping the USB-C input going into QT. In theory, USB-C should go both ways, but in practice, sometimes not.

Head Computer Setup

Turning off the default face

  1. If you haven’t already, SSH into QT’s head computer:

    ssh qtrobot@
  2. Update QT:

    cd ~/robot/packages/deb
    git pull
    sudo dpkg -i ros-kinetic-qt-robot-interface_1.1.8-0xenial_armhf.deb


If the git pull step fails, the head computer might be having trouble with it its network. You can check this with ping If there’s nothing, there is a problem with the network. To fix this, the best think we’ve found is to restart QT: sudo reboot.

  1. Edit a configuration file to turn off QT’s default face:

    1. Open the configuration file:

      sudo nano /opt/ros/kinetic/share/qt_robot_interface/config/qtrobot-interface.yaml
    2. Change the line that says disable_interface: false to disable_interface: true

    3. Save and exit nano by hitting Ctrl+x, then typing ‘y’, and then hitting Enter twice to confirm things.


You can reboot to see these changes take effect, or continue on and we’ll reboot eventually.

Setting up our code

  1. Secure-Shell (SSH) into QT’s head computer:

    ssh qtrobot@
  2. Install our project’s dependencies:

    git clone
    bash ~/qt-robot/scripts/pi_setup.bash
  3. Increase the swap size, so we’re able to build without running out of virtual memory:

    1. Turn off your swap memory:

      sudo /sbin/dphys-swapfile swapoff
    2. Open your swap configuration file:

      sudo nano /etc/dphys-swapfile
    3. Set CONF_SWAPFACTOR to 2 by changing the line that says #CONF_SWAPFACTOR=2 to CONF_SWAPFACTOR=2, that is by deleting the # character to uncomment the line.

    4. Save and exit nano by hitting Ctrl+x, then typing ‘y’, and then hitting Enter twice to confirm things.

    5. Turn the swap file back on:

      sudo /sbin/dphys-swapfile swapon
  4. Clone our repositories and build them:

    1. Go to the source code directory in the catkin workspace:

      cd ~/catkin_ws/src
    2. Clone our repositories:

      git clone
      git clone
    3. Build our workspace:

      cd ~/catkin_ws


    It takes around five minutes for this command to finish. You can setup QT’s body computer at the same time as it runs, if you like.

  5. Setup our code to run when QT’s head computer turns on.

    1. Copy the autostart script into the correct directory:

      roscp qt_robot_pi /home/qtrobot/robot/autostart/
    2. Enable the autostart script:

      1. Open a webbrowser on QT (e.g., Firefox) and go to

      QT’s configuration menu.

      1. Click ‘Autostart’. You’ll be prompted for a username and password. Enter qtrobot for both.
      2. Click the ‘Active’ checkbox next to

      QT’s autostart menu with our script,, checked.

      1. Click ‘Save’ and then ‘Return’ twice.


You can reboot to see these changes take effect, or continue on and we’ll reboot eventually.

If you’d like, you can confirm that things are running after a reboot by opening a terminal and running the following command. You should see both /sound_listener and /start_face_server:

rosnode list | grep "/\(sound_listener\|start_face_server\)"

What you should see if the head nodes are running correctly.


Getting your Amazon Web Service credentials

For QT to speak, we use Amazon Polly, which requires an Amazon Web Services account. At our current usage, using Amazon Polly is free up to a certain level), but you will need a credit card to create an account.

  1. Create an Amazon Web Services account.
  2. Once you sign in, in the top right of the page, click your account name (mine says “Audrow”), then in the drop-down menu click “My Security Credentials,” then click “Create New Access Key.”
  3. Record your access key and keep it somewhere safe. You can do this by downloading this or just viewing it and copy-pasting it to somewhere for later reference.


It is best practice to create separate accounts with less access than your root account and use those access keys, see Amazon’s security best practices.

Setting up our interaction in a Docker container

  1. Change your system timezone to be in your current timezone. To do this, you can click the time in the upper-right of the desktop on QT and then click ‘Time & Date settings…’

  2. Open a terminal and clone this repository onto QT’s body computer:

    git clone
  3. Run a script to allow for updates:

    sudo bash ~/qt-robot/scripts/nuc_setup.bash


If this step fails, try the following commands before rerunning:

sudo apt install --reinstall python3-six
sudo apt install --reinstall python3-chardet


This step takes five minutes or so.

  1. Setup Cordial by following this guide.

Setting up remote access to QT

Get Dataplicity login credentials from Audrow and sign on. Go to the devices tab and then click “+ Add New Device”. Copy or enter this command into a terminal on QT’s body PC and enter QT’s password ‘qtrobot’. After that runs, remote access should be setup. You can confirm this by clicking the added device and confirming that you can explore the file system (e.g., ls /home/qtrobot).


When you login on Dataplicity, you will be signed in with the user dataplicity. You should then switch to the user qtrobot with su qtrobot and then enter the password, ‘qtrobot’.