Roomba Rover

roomba rover

[heathkit] and a friend built this rover a couple years ago. They picked up a first generation Roomba because it had all of the features they were looking for: a good bump sensor, low profile, wheel encoders. Before removing the brains of the vacuum they put it in debug mode and figured out the control pinout. After wiring in a PIC they had rudimentary control of the device. For some higher level processing power they attached a Virgin Webplayer (defunct internet appliance). The Webplayer has a mini-pci slot so they added a WiFi card. Now they can transmit video and SSH into the device for full control.

10 thoughts on “Roomba Rover

  1. That’s kind of cool. They appear to have it set up to recieve video. I wonder if it would make more sense to put a web cam on and have it transmit video (and make it waterproof so that they can sneak into the girls lockerroom with it?… kidding. )

    Too bad it doesn’t appera to maintain the low profile.

  2. I really should update that page. Since the pictures posted there, Ed has soldered a CF card holder onto that spot on the WebPlayer mainboard, and we’ve been running it without the screen. This gives it a much lower profile – only an inch or two taller than a regular Roomba.

    Initially, the webcam was used for basic machine vision (detecting and driving to an orange cone). Since then, we’ve tried getting a semi-live feed from it using vlc, but the Geode on the WebPlayer just isn’t powerful enough to do more than 5fps or. I’ve considered moving to an NSLU2.

    I should also give credit to my friend, Ed (don’t know if he wants his full name up here). He’s the one with the mad soldering skills that soldered those 44 wiress in place. Soldering that CF holder on the Webplayer wasn’t a picnic either.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.