Configuring Navigation Stacks at Run Time
Ze'ev Klapow from Petaluma High School returned to Willow Garage for a second summer internship. He focused on expanding features of dynamic_reconfigure in the navigation stack. dynamic_reconfigure helps you build a GUI to control a moving robot.
Previously, you had to turn off the navigation stack, open a file, change the parameter(s), and then restart it. Now you simply type in the new parameter, and painful processes like tuning planners or updating the robot's footprint on-the-fly are as easy as adjusting a slider or calling a dynamic_reconfigure API. With the updates, which were available in ROS Electric, you can now configure almost all navigation stack components at run-time.
Ze'ev also added a "parameter groups" feature to dynamic_reconfigure, so that you can make manageable groups of long lists of parameters. The groups feature will be available with ROS Fuerte Turtle, coming in March 2012.
See Ze'ev's video for details. To use dynamic_reconfigure in your development, visit the ROS wiki page.