Steam Deck

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the Steam Deck with your Leo Rover.


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Steam Deck

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use the Steam Deck with your Leo Rover.

If you want to use your Leo Rover in the field or somewhere outside the comfy lab environment, you may find operating from your host machine to be quite problematic. That's where a much smaller and handy device comes in – giving you full control over your rover at all times.

What to expect?

With Steam Deck’s capabilities of a full-fledged computer, the range of its possibilities is virtually endless. So, we can’t demonstrate every potential use, but we can give you a glimpse of its possibilities by showing you how we’ve applied it to our use case as an example.

Steam Deck with LeoRover


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List of components

  • Steam Deck,
  • Keyboard and (eventually) mouse,
  • USB C - USB adapter.

Mechanical integration

Wiring and electronics connection

Software integration

In this part we are assuming you have your Steam Deck connected to the internet, and you are operating in the desktop mode (instructions how to enter the desktop here)

As you will need to write some commands in the console on the Steam Deck, we recommend, for your comfort, to connect a keyboard and mouse to the device. You can also open this tutorial on the browser in the Steam Deck, to be able to copy paste the instructions.

To run ROS applications on the Steam Deck, we need to install ROS itself. But as it's not so simple to do on the SteamOS, first, you need to get another Linux distribution on your device.

In order to get Ubuntu 20.04 on your Steam Deck, you can follow the install Ubuntu on distrobox tutorial by Liam Dawe.

As the system installed in distrobox has only the basic packages, before next step you need to install some additional tools. Beeing in ubuntu 20.04 on your Steam Deck please perform this installation

Once you have completed the steps and can access Ubuntu 20.04 on your Steam Deck, you need to perform the ROS installation. You can follow this guide.

Remember that you need to install ROS inside the distrobox environment (Ubuntu 20.04), otherwise the installation will fail.
Having completed the installation, you are ready to try our examples!


The examples described in this section were done for a rover configuration which has integrated lidar and realsense camera. You can follow those guides to get the same rover setup:
Intel RealSense Camera

Also for the examples to work, you have to connect your SteamDeck to the rover's access point.

We have provided a GitHub repository with additional files and setup script needed to perfrom our use-cases of the Steam Deck with Leo Rover.

But first, you need two ROS packages. Execute this command in distrobox image:

Having installed those packages, clone this repository into your Steam Deck:

You don't have to do the cloning from the ubuntu 20.04 image. If you clone the repository from the SteamOS, you will be able to access the files from ubuntu image. If you still want to clone the repo while beeing in the ubuntu, then you have to install git:

Once you clone the repository, all you have to do is to enter the directory with the files and run the setup.sh script:

When the script finishes the setup, you will see four applications on the desktop:

  • Leo Movement – example which allows you to operate the rover from your Steam Deck and display camera image,
  • Leo Lidar – examle which allows you to operate the rover from the Steam Deck and display LiDAR scan data in RViz,
  • Leo Depth Camera – example which allows you to operate the rover from the SteamDeck and display depth data in RViz,
  • Virtual Keyboard – applications that run virtual keyboard – useful when you don't have connected physical keyboard.
To use the virtual keyboard, you need to install inside the ubuntu 20.04 imaga florence app:

To move the rover while the chosen app is running, use the left joystick while holding the L1 button. Moving the joystick forward/backwards controls the rover's linear speed, and left/right controls the angular speed.

If your rover doesn't move with this setup, try unplugging all docking stations and external devices of your SteamDeck, and restart the device.

If this doesn't help, there is a file steam_deck_config.yaml inside the leo_SteamDeck/configs directory. There are defined mappings for the axes and enable button. You can change the predefined values of those parameters to whatever axes and button id's you want.
To find the id's of buttons and axes go on your SteamDeck into System Settings -> Input Devices -> Game Controller (remember that the id's you will put in the file are indexed from 0 not 1, so if you want e.g button nr 4 you need to put 3 in the file).

One last solution is to check the Controller Action. If it's set to Desktop then you won't get any readings from joysticks and buttons. You can switch the mode with the Start button (the one with three stripes next to A B X Y buttons) by holding it for some time. Current mode will be displayed in the bottom right corner of your screen (It needs to be in Gamepad mode for our applications to work).

Here you can see demonstration of usage of the described applications in our example.

What next?


Need help? Contact us - contact@fictionlab.pl