First, we will start with MATLAB. MATLAB provides Toolboxes which are collection of functions targeted at particular topic. Some are products and other open-source. To implement and try the concept of Robotic Vision, we have two main Toolboxes – RTB (Robotics Toolbox) and MVTB (Machine Vision Toolbox). The toolboxes are free to use and distributed under GNU Lesser General Public License (GNU LGPL).

The Robotics Toolbox (RTB) provides functions for simulating mobile and arm-type robots. It includes functions for manipulating and converting between the data-types such as vectors, homogeneous transformation and 3-angle representations. It provides standard algorithms for robot path planning, localization and map making.

The Machine Vision Toolbox (MVTB) provides functions for camera modeling, image processing, image feature extraction, multi-view geometry and vision based control. This is younger and than RTB and is not a clone of Image Processing Toolbox (IPT). It contains many more functions for image acquisition and display, filtering, morphology, image warping, camera calibration, feature extraction, visual Jacobians etc.

The toolboxes are provided in source code form and most of the code is written in M language and some functions in C.

Installation of MATLAB:

MatLab is not included in the Software Center because this is closed source and proprietary software. You have to download install this as given below:

  • Download the install file from
  • Unzip and open downloaded directoy
  • Run the installer as a super user
    sudo ./install
  • Follow the instructions of the installer and install in /usr/local/MATLAB/R2014a
  • To add an entry to the launcher and some other features, install the matlab-support package:
    sudo apt-get install matlab-support
  • During the installation you have to confirm the installation path of matlab and could restrict the installation only to certain users (which I did not require). In addition you could rename the GCC libraries, but I had no problems so far so I didn’t deactivate those.
  • After completion, you have to change the ownership of the .matlab folder in the home folder to your own user account if you do not want to run Matlab as a super user.
    cd ~ sudo chown username -R ~/.matlab
  • Now Matlab should also be launchable through unity and should work as intended.

Important Note Regarding Student version (32-bit)

Unfortunately, 32-bit is the only version available to students. If you have a 64-bit system, you will have some trouble but it is normally possible to go through each of them and the details are in the Troubleshooting section. The following helps you be a length ahead of these problem. If you have a 64-bit system, you can still install 32-bit version of MATLAB. However, you will need to install the “ia32-libs” package before the installation. If you have Ubuntu 13.10 or later, check out this thread for more information.

  • Once it is installed, run the installer with the -glnx86 argument to force it to use 32-bit
    sudo /media/MATHWORKS_R2012A/install -glnx86 -v
  • Though for R2012a it is not necessary anymore. If you don’t run it with the -glnx86 argument, MATLAB will just sayCould not find JRE for glnxa64.  Trying the start of the installation. And it will use 32-bit. Then, just follow the instructions of the Installation Instructions section. After the installation, you will need to run MATLAB with the -glnx86 argument to force it to use 32-bit
    matlab -glnx86

Installation of Toolboxes:

The Toolboxes are freely available from the book’s home page The files for both Toolboxes reside in a top-level directory called rvctools and packaged together in an single file, either gzipped tar format (rvtb.gz or zip format (

In the next post we will start with computer vision. This includes topics – Lights and Color, Image Formation, Image Processing, Image Feature Extraction and using multiple images. It will be explained with practical examples implemented on MATLAB.


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I am the one who discover myself daily through reading, writing, interacting with people and expressing my thoughts to inspire them if I would be able to bring a little change to the society through my work. I write blogs, participate in various social activities and want to be a Professional Speaker. Currently, I am pursuing my post graduation in Computer Applications from Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, Ludhiana and I’m very much active in many technical & social communities.

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