Roomba Serial Interface specs now available!

electron

Administrator
Staff member
iRobot has released the specs of the Roomba serial interface, allowing anyone with time and knowledge to interface this product. Expect many hacks for this product to appear, considering it is one of the cheapest robotic platforms out there.

http://www.irobot.com/sp.cfm?pageid=198
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Maybe with the addition of a weapon of some sort, it could be reprogrammed and retasked to patrol your property and attack intruders.
 

ChrisWalker

Active Member
I think this is really cool. There are so many fun things that could be done.

It's very possible to set up the Roomba on a timed Z-Wave scene, and have it activated from a handheld Intermatic or ACT remote, for instance. That would require a "wireless serial" bridge from the PC, but it could be fun.

Chris
 

smee

Senior Member
It looks like this is only for Roombas made since last October. Older ones will need a yet-to-be-released upgrade. I'll be watching for it.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
Ok, so I assume the serial connection is to the vacuum that is then hard wired to a PC...So, how does one wirelessly get the current state data and send new control messages? Bluetooth serial adapter?

Or, is this to program the Flash memory aboard the Roomba vac so it runs standalone in a different way?

Am I missing something?

Maybe because I don't own one (yet)?
 

rocco

Active Member
DavidL said:
Ok, so I assume the serial connection is to the vacuum that is then hard wired to a PC...So, how does one wirelessly get the current state data and send new control messages? Bluetooth serial adapter?
It seems like it's meant more for a locally attached controller.

It supplies power to the external device, so the device could be a wireless link to a PC. But a more useful scenario would be some intelligent controller that is attached to the Roomba.

The protocol gives you high level control, like "Clean" to start the cleaning program (the same as pushing the "Clean" button on the top). It also gives you low level control, like "move forward at velocity X with radius Y". It gives you direct control of all of the motors, gives you visibility of all of the sensors, and even allows you to play music through it's speaker.

I envision something like this as a potential application:
At a preprogrammed time, with the help of a video camera, it finds it's way to a particular room, using the lower-level protocol. Once in the room, it exits the low-level control and simply invokes "Clean".

Or:
In response to a voice command, with the help of a video camera, it chases the cat out the pet door.
 

smee

Senior Member
I was a bit disappointed when I followed these links :lol: . I was hoping to find an interface for older Roombas which don't have all the built-in hardware. The serial cable is just a protocol conversion to RS232 - a pretty standard circuit. It's all you need for a newer (late 2005 Roomba).

They are still good links and good descriptions. Just not what I was hoping for.

I did find one thing I really don't like about the bluetooth description. The only description I found of the bluetooth adapter card is in a note on a picture in flickr (Why does everyone need to put stuff on flickr?). When you "mouse" over the card in the picture, a link (I think) to the card web site pops up - but you can't click the link because as soon as you move the mouse toward it, it disappears - you are no longer mousing over the picture.
 
Top