A couple of the Roomba projects got mentioned on the Net recently. Actually what was primarily mentioned was the wonderful editing job of the posts done by Phillip Torrone for the Makezine blog. The projects were on the front pages (briefly) of Makezine, Boing Boing, Digg, etc.! Very exciting. I’ve been collecting links of famous (to me) places were it was mentioned:
– Makezine blog, serial interface
– Makezine blog, bluetooth interface
– Digg, serial interface
– Boing Boing, serial and bluetooth
– Engadget, serial and bluetooth
– Gizmodo, bluetooth
Unfortunately, many of the comments on these blogs don’t quite get the reason for hacking the Roomba in this way. (many “what’s the point?” comments) It’s not to make Roomba a better vacuum cleaner or to make it into a fully-fledged autonomous robot. It’s to bring the fun of robots into your household very cheaply. If you already have a Roomba or don’t mind spending ~$160 for one, you can easily hook it up to your computer and have real live Logo with a real live ‘turtle’. Or make it dance. Or just play around with it.
It’s not often we can write programs that effect the real world.
And if none of that helps, just think of it more as a computer-controlled RC car rather than a vacuum cleaner or robot.