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Tap into the sum of allhumanknowledge and get your questions answered here!
From software algorithms to material selection, Mr. Roboto strives to meet you
where you are — and what more would you expect from a complex service droid?
As I write this article, the madness of First LEGO League 2012-2013 is upon
us, and my team is
scrambling with last minute polish to
programs and project presentations.
I'm keeping a bunch of fifth and sixth
graders very busy. By the time you
read this, things will be quieter here in
the lab, where I only have about six
projects that I want to finish and
another six I'm thinking about starting.
(Who says ADHD is a bad thing?)
Anyway, on to my question of the
Q. I want to use a Roomba a friend gave me to make a robot. What processor does it use? How do I program it? What sensors does it have?
Can I use them for my own programs?
Any help you can give will be WAY appreciated!
— Moby, in Colorado
A. Whoa! Slow down there! You’ve asked enough questions for a few columns! Let’s look at what we know about the Roomba and see what I can
For those of you that live off-grid in a Dennis Weaver
tire house, Figure 1 is an example of the Roomba. In this
16 SERVO 01.2013
case, it is the one that I didn’t hack because it keeps my
lab floor clean. The other 99% of you probably have a
Roomba or know someone who does.
The red Roomba I hacked for this article was sitting in
the back of my closet because its battery charger had
died. I put together a couple of wires and got its battery
charged on my handy Hitec Multicharger X4.
For those of you wondering, the Roomba battery is a
14.4V ( 12 cell) NiMh battery. I think it is about 4,000 mAh
capacity, but the screws on it were weird so I didn’t open
the case to see. That is just what I managed to jam into
the pack before it peaked. I may upgrade to a LiPo battery
someday to get more capacity and a better charge time.