The Roomba had just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we talked about the clash between expectation and reality in home robotics. With the Roomba's original release init seemed like we were finally closing in on sci-fi's promise of walking, talking, thinking, cleaning robots in the home.
The Roomba was just a taste. People expected big things. Instead, well, they got 10 years of Roombas. The Roomba gets better with each new model, but it's still a bot designed to do one thing: Vacuum. People can keep on wishin' for that multi-function, multi-purpose robot science fiction promised them, but Roombas will keep on puttering around picking up dirt and not doing much else.
Something did change about two years into the robotic vacuum's life, though, that nudged it slightly towards that multi-function vision. The heyday of hacking the Roomba, he said, came after Until latehowever, the Roomba wasn't exactly an easy piece of tech to hack.
A book by author Todd Kurt titled Hacking Roombapublished intouched on the early days of Roomba hacking. To watch a Roomba roaming around their living room, cleaning up after a mess, was to experience in a small way life in the future.
If you wanted to easily reprogram your Roomba to alter its behavior or make it do tricks, you were out of luck. At the least you had to take the Roomba apart, definitely voiding its warranty. Once inside perhaps you could reverse engineer the small computer also known as the microcontroller used as its brain, maybe replace it completely, and hook into the motors and sensors, effectively destroying it for its original purpose.
Communities devoted to hacking the Roomba in this low-level way grew and flourished But hacking the Roomba was a difficult and expensive task, only suitable for the most experienced engineers The early days of Roomba hacking were, as Kurt wrote, not for the faint of heart or for rookie hobbyists. Photographs of an original Roomba from Roomba Community show a programmable Javelin Stamp micro controller sitting on top of the bot, cables running from it to all of the Roomba's circuitry.
The first Roomba hackers had to suss out details of the vacuum's microcontroller and serial portsince it wasn't an open source device.
Then things changed. The ROI allows you to take full control of the Roomba and its behavior. This is no simple remote control interface, but instead a protocol that allows complete sensor readout and full actuator control. Suddenly, hackers and programmers didn't have to wire additional hardware onto the Roomba just to make it go.
They could tinker with the existing programming for the Roomba's five independently controllable motors and variety of sensors. And the awesome hacks began to emerge.The essence of hacking is modifying something to do a different function. Many of us learned as kids, though, that turning the family TV into an oscilloscope often got you into trouble. Besides providing feline transportation, these little pancake-shaped robots also clean floors.
The code even interfaces with Twitter. The impressive part is the code fits on about a page. Imagine this: you come home after a day at work. As you open the door, your nose is the first alert that something is very, very wrong. Instead of the usual house smell, your nose is assaulted with the distinctive aroma that means your dog had an accident. The smell is stronger though — as if Fido brought over a few friends and they all had a party. Flipping the lights on, the true horror is revealed to you.
This was a team effort, but only one dog was involved. The plucky little robot performed its assigned duties until it found the mess. This time, your technology has turned against you.
For a select few familiesit has become an all too odoriferous reality just begging for a clever fix. Fictiv runs a 3D printing shop. They have a nice interface and an easy to understand pricing scheme. The first to go is the iRobot model. The other bot is the Neato XV The wire routing inside the Neato is very well done and nicely terminated in hard-to-confuse JST connectors.
Every key failure point on the Neato, aside from the rangefinder, can be replaced without disassembling the whole robot. Interestingly, the wheels on both appear to be nearly identical. In the end they rate the Neato a better robot, but the iRobot better engineered. Though this prize was given mostly for the cleverness of the card edge connectors. Just about every hacker, maker, and engineer out there immediately wanted one.
The Roomba proved to be more than just a vacuum though; it was the perfect base for any household robotics project. Thousands of projects have literally ridden on the wheels of the Roomba. ROS actually is running on an on-board Raspberry Pi. Installing it can be a chore though. The individual cells are built into a proprietary iRobot battery pack. Lithium Ion cells are very common these days in devices like cell phones and laptops. In fact, [Sircut] used sized laptop cells for this upgrade.Wifi is one of those incredibly nifty things that just makes life easier.
And then stick around to read some answers to the most frequently asked questions relating to Roombas and Wi-Fi. It has wifi and is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistantso you can literally order it around from anywhere in the world. Another win for Roomba. The Roomba i7 is super smart. Roomba did it again, as always.
The comes standard with wifi connectivity as well as compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Roomba lives up to the Roomba name. This one also comes standard with wifi and talks to Alexa and Google Assistant. The Roomba e5 does not disappoint in the connectivity department.
As always with the newer models, the Roomba has full wifi capabilities and integrates smoothly with Alexa and Google Assistant. The Roomba is an older model vacuum cleaner and does not have wifi capability. Must be a lonely existence….
Roomba did not skimp on the awesomeness for the This one has wifi and can have fat chats with Alexa and Google Assistant. The Roomba is another step child in the tech department. Poor little robot. This gets updated frequently, so it can sometimes be hard to keep up with the latest versions. The iRobot app is pretty cool and allows for an improved user experience with your smart Roomba.
You can even schedule cleaning by room with the new Imprint Smart Mapping feature if you have one of the i-series Roombas. After the job is done, you can check out the Clean Map Reports. These shows where your trusty robo-pet cleaned and which spots it missed.
With the app, you can also clean from literally anywhere. This allows you to start and pause cleaning cycles, monitor your robot and customize your cleaning preferences depending on the model you have.
You can even turn on push notificationskeeping track of exactly what your little pet is up to. If your dust gobbler is acting up, you can access detailed help and contact the customer care center, straight from the app.
Auto-updates for your Roomba is also available via the app, ensuring that you keep it up to date and in great condition. It helps if your home base and trusty robot vacuum have good wifi coverage. Wifi on the robot and home base has to be turned on. I know, that sounds obvious. It helps to check, though. Here, the wifi indicator on the robot should be flashing green. Here, an easy fix is to r eboot both the robot and the router and force close the HOME app.The book contains over a dozen projects.
Does My Roomba Have Wi-Fi?
Below are a list of Roomba hacking projects that were either created before the book and more complex projects that build upon the techniques presented in the book. Thanks in advance! Perhaps it got set to a different baud rate? What version of Roomba do you have? Hey there, great book, I picked it up about a year ago with this big project in mind. However, I never even got started because of the limited choices in wireless routers out there with USB ports.
Do you know of anyone that has successfully hooked up Wireless Roombacam with a modern router? I am brand new to this forum and to Roomba hacking so please forgive my ignorance. I have an older Roomba model that I want to use for a project for mobility-impaired elderly people.
I want to adapt the return-to-charging-base system to work on a small electric cart. The user would press a button on the base station and the cart would drive itself over to the base station. Does anyone have experience doing this or know where to point me? Hi, I am a 23 years old guy from Barcelona. I have finished this year my electronics engineering and I have been working in the robotics department the whole year. My last task before leaving is prepare some exercices for the next years students using a Roomba.
I would like to know what exactly the serial port sends to the roomba, just to try to do the same with a PIC or an FPGA, to be able to put a code into the roomba and not control it with the PC.
It is supposed to take in 5V at up to 2A, is it safe to draw this from the Roomba battery AIUI, that would be putting 0. If one would use an extra battery to power the computer, what is the best choice? Hi, final post from me for now!
10 Years of Roomba Hacks: From Magic Marker Art to Combat
I hope it will work and not drain the battery too much in practice. Hi, just bought a roomba since a couple of weeks and a rootooth. Are there any wireless ip camera around that could work with batteries?
Is there a way a passtrough the serial port that could drain enough power for a usb wireless webcamera? Projects Repository The book contains over a dozen projects.
RoombaMidi2 — an update to the original that turns your Roomba into a musical instrument. Build a Cylon Roomba — add a cylon-like scanning eye and new behaviors to your Roomba. RoombaCtrl: Drive your Roomba with your cell phone — how to turn your cellphone into a Roomba remote control. Build a Roomba Bluetooth Adapter — a wireless interface to let you control your Roomba.
Build a Roomba Serial Tether — the basic hacking tool that all Roomba hackers should have. Thanks a lot! Search for:.As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases if you decide to make a purchase through these links — at no cost for you! This allows you to control the vacuum cleaner robot via the iRobot Home App and also connect and control it with a smart voice assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Further information can be found below in the article. As long as you have one of the Roomba models that can connect to Wifi see table aboveit is quite easy to connect the robot to your Wifi. Roomba vacuum cleaners are not compatible with 5 GHz networks. You should consider this before your purchase so that you are not disappointed afterward. As long as you have a router that can connect over 2. See if you can change its settings, its name, and its schedules.
With the iRobot Home App, you can do a lot of cool things. The biggest advantage is that you save even more time than with the robot itself.
How to Connect Your Roomba Vacuum Cleaner To WiFi and Control It Remotely
However, the first requirement is that your router can communicate on a 2. However, this should be the case with almost every router, as only a few exceptions do not support 2.
To try this, you could simply put the base station somewhere else and then try again. Also, make sure that the network light on the Roomba is lit. If not, try reconnecting it by pressing the Home and Spot buttons at the same time. If it is still stubborn, you should turn off both the base station and the Roomba completely for minutes and disconnect them from the power supply, then turn them back on and try again.
Well, in principle not, but it is much more comfortable to start and program the robot via Alexa or the smartphone than to run to it and press a button…. If the Wifi should fail or you move and the Wifi or Internet is not yet set up, you can still start the vacuum cleaner robot by using the Clean button.
Wifi compatible Roombas which you have connected via the iRobot-Home-App can be controlled via Alexa via voice command! There are dozens of commands and you can view them all here on the official iRobot site at amazon.
If the Wifi indicator light flashes or is red throughout, there was an error connecting the Roomba to your router. In Make sure you close the app completely. After that, your Roomba should be able to connect to the Wifi again. If you are unlucky and belong to the 0. Smart vacuum cleaners from Roomba have been around for quite some time.
In the beginning, however, the first models had no Wifi support. However, there are some smart people who have found a solution to this problem.New RoombaComm 0. The Java library to control Roomba, RoombaComm has been updated, check it out! Maker Faire! Your Roomba is getting bored sitting in the corner waiting for some dust to build up on your floor.
Secretly, it wants to sing and dance and draw pictures. It wants to show you just how clever it can be. Build a Bluetooth interface for your Roomba. Turn it into an artist. Install Linux on it and give it a new brain.iROBOT Roomba 690 Vacuuming Robot with WiFi!
Some hacks are functional, others are purely fun. All of them let you play with robotics, and not one will void your warranty. All this — and it will still clean your floor! This site is the official accompaniment to the book. In addition to typical book-related things like the Table of Contents and a Sample Chapterthis site also contains:.
In addition to typical book-related things like the Table of Contents and a Sample Chapterthis site also contains: some projects from the book additional projects created after the book went to print periodic new bonus hacks software source code used in the book lists of various hacking resources news from the Roomba hacking world No comments.
Search for:.There are two very clear signs that I'm getting old. The first is that I bought a domestic robot to help me with the chores. This post looks at how the unit performs - its good points and its flaws - and how the API works. Let's take a step back. The Roomba is iRobot's entry level vacuum cleaning robot.
Unlike the more expensive modelsthe doesn't have any scheduling - you have to manually set the Roomba to clean. The Thinking Cleaner is a cheap way of adding a brain and extra connectivity to an otherwise simple robot.
A few days after ordering, the package arrived from the Netherlands. The instructions say that you should carefully remove the cover from the Roomba. To be honest, I was a little nervous about this. The plastic feels fragile and tightly clipped on. That said, it pealed off easily without breaking. The replacement cover is delightful gunmetal grey - I think it looks better than the white original.
Although the WiFi unit protrudes from the surface, it doesn't seem any taller than the Roomba's sensor. Incidentally, flipping the cover over reveals the WiFi unit. I may be wrong, but the casing looks 3D printed. Ok, here's where things went a little awry. The Thinking Cleaner needs to connect to a WiFi network. To set this up, you need to connect to the Roomba via an app.
When I initially installed it, the Android App didn't yet work on Lollipop. I had to dig out an old Android tablet to get it connected. Literally two hours afterwards the Android app updated - whereupon it worked flawlessly with Lollipop! The unit only works on 2.
If you're in the US, the unit won't work on channels 12 and The App is simple enough to use - allowing you to set the Roomba cleaning, drive it yourself, set up a schedule, and get alerts from the cleaner. The app doesn't tell you the IP address which the Roomba is using.
This is an annoying oversight. You'll need to pop on to your WiFi router and see what it has been assigned. There is a basic web interface but there is no security available - not even a username and password. Any one who has access to your your WiFi network will also have full access to your Roomba. Make sure that when any friends come round, you give them access to a guest WiFi network - and try to make sure that your WiFi and LAN are as secure as possible.
The web interface is basically fine - it doesn't look brilliant, and the colours are a bit intense - but it allows you to control the Roomba and set up scheduling. It also works well on mobile web browsers :. That's pretty handy if you're inside your house - but what if you want to get notifications or control it while you are away?
In order to access your device when about and about, you need to sign up for a free ThinkingSync. That's a safer and easier option than teaching users how to set up Port Forwarding and getting them to punch holes in their firewalls - they have a detailed privacy page which explains their reasoning. To connect to your Thinking Cleaner when you are not at home without modifying your home network settings, you need a free account on Thinkingsync server.
Thinking Cleaner will periodically contact the server and check for updates.