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Robotic Hacking - The latest information on modifying and reprogramming consumer robots.

Click Here to visit the Roomba Robotic Hacking discussion forum.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

  iRobot WiFi module gets FCC nod   
It may not look like much, but the circuit board pictured above could have major significance for robot lovers the world over. You see, this nondescript WiFi module was just submitted to and approved by the FCC for Rhein Tech Laboratories, a company working on behalf of a little outfit known as iRobot.

This topic is currently being discussed in the following thread.
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Friday, January 6, 2006

  A Roomba with a View...   

Thought you'd seen it all?  In what is almost certainly a first, one of our forum members has actually created a website that is dedicated exclusively to providing live streaming footage of a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner in action! 

Unfortunately, VacuumCleanerLive is only actually "Live" for a couple of hours per day, but for those who are too impatient to wait for the Roomba to wake up, you can watch recorded video from a couple of it's past exciting adventures here.  So just in case you've ever been dying to experience life through the eyes of a Roomba robot, your prayers have finally been answered!

This topic is currently being discussed in the following thread.

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Saturday, December 31, 2005

  OSMO //Hacker now available for $30 from iRobot.   
iRobot is now taking orders for the new OSMO//Hacker tool for the Roomba Discovery series of robotic vacs. 

"Upgrades your iRobot Roomba with the Serial Command Interface for software programmers and roboticists to modify Roomba's behavior."

All Roombas manufactured after October, 2005 already contain the software interface required to control or modify the Roombas behavior.  All models manufactured prior to October, 2005 can be upgraded using the new OSMO//Hacker. 

It is available directly from iRobot for $30.

Here is the link to purchase the new OSMO//Hacker from iRobot.
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

  iRobot releases Hacking info for the Roomba SCI.   

Roombas manufactured after October 2005 contain an electronic and software interface that allows you to control or modify Roomba's behavior and remotely monitor its sensors. This interface is called the Roomba Serial Control Interface or Roomba SCI. If you are a Roomba owner, your Roomba can be upgraded... This update is not a necessary enhancement for Roomba owners, rather it is intended for software programmers and roboticists to create their own enhancements to Roomba.

The SCI is compatible with all 41xx and 42xx series Roomba models, but is not compatible with the original Roomba.

The specification for the SCI is here.

Roomba owners: Determine if your Roomba has the SCI

New Roombas with the SCI code already installed are sealed inside their plastic bag with a sticker that reads:
“This robot contains an electronic and software interface…”

If you don’t have the original packaging, you can determine Roomba’s date code from the serial number sticker inside Roomba’s battery well.

The date needs to be later than October 24th, 2005

Upgrading an existing Roomba with the Osmo //hacker

To upgrade a Roomba manufactured before October 24th, 2005 you will need to purchase a Roomba Osmo //hacker.  The Osmo //hacker will be available directly from this page on January 1st, 2006. There are two Osmo //hacker models, one is blue and one is smoke colored.  You must read your Roomba serial number to determine which Osmo to purchase....

No support

The Roomba SCI is an unsupported feature, therefore customer support questions will not be answered.  Additionally, modifications to Roomba will void the warranty.  Use the SCI at your own risk.

This topic is currently being discussed in the following thread.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

  iRobot to endorse Roomba Hacking in July?   

Business 2.0 has an article this month that contains some interesting information. 

"Ever wish you could dispatch a robot to grab you a beer? That day might soon be here, thanks to an as-yet-unannounced decision by iRobot. In early July the company will post instructions for controlling its Roomba vacuum cleaner via the built-in serial port, so programmers can modify it however they want -- from equipping it with a camera to, yes, adding an arm and training it to retrieve brewskis. iRobot hopes the move will foster the development of Roomba accessories -- like the ecosystem of add-ons that has sprung up around the iPod -- thus driving sales. "

Thanks to RC Eden Carpet Cleaning and Programmer for posting the link.  This article is currently being discussed in this thread.
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Monday, February 21, 2005

  Possible fix for the   
"anengineer" has submitted some pictures of the optical sensors on the Roomba Discovery that can cause the dreaded "Circle Dance" when they are dirty.
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Sunday, November 21, 2004

Steve Noll has written about a mod that can resolve the problems that some people are experiencing with the Roomba on Deep Pile carpetting. 

The modification may actually decrease performance on bare floors, but it may help those who receive unacceptable performance on deep pile carpets.
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Thursday, November 4, 2004

   Roomba Hacking - Repairing or upgrading a dead battery.   

NewRoombaInTown has sent in some pictures of a dissected Roomba Battery. Apparently, it consists of nothing more than 12 C-Cell NiMH batteries, so for all you adventurous types, it might be more economical to rebuild your dead battery rather than buying a new one.

It might also be possible to build a battery that runs longer than an original Roomba battery. Of course, doing this type of upgrade almost certainly voids your warranty, but if we were worried about that sort of thing we wouldn't put it in the Hacking section, now would we? 

Discussion on this topic is located in this thread.

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

  RoboSapien + Pocket PC = Killer Robot?   
 A group at the Institute for Computer Science of the University of Freiburg decided that the RoboSapien could use a bit more processing power - so they gave it a brain transplant!

Read what happens when a RoboSapien and a Pocket PC collide.
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Monday, September 13, 2004

Phillip Torrone - of Engadget fame - has an interesting use for his Roomba, taking pictures!  Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal which includes a brief interview with Phillip and how his Roomba spends its time during the day.
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Sunday, September 12, 2004

Ever wonder would would happen if a Roomba and a Webplayer happened to mate?  Well, you'd wind up with the Wireless Rover of course! 

Check out what happens when two guys have way too much time on their hands...
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