The Neato Robot
How to use the IR sensors
(and some other things)
by Boris Kudryavtsev
Junior High (8th grade)
Have you ever imagined a vacuuming robot driving
on a table? Probably not … Well, it is now possible
with the use of ROS (Robot Operating System),
developed by Willow Garage — a small, but
growing company located in Menlo Park, CA.
ROS provides libraries and tools to help software
developers create robot applications. It offers
hardware abstraction, device drivers, libraries,
visualizers, message-passing, package
management, and more. This article will teach you
how to use this tool to manipulate the Neato™
automatic vacuum cleaner.
54 SERVO 03.2013
For those unfamiliar with the Neato, it is a robotic vacuum cleaner developed by
Neato Robotics. The device is very hacker-friendly. It is assembled with normal ("+" type)
screws, and the software is easily accessible
through the USB interface.
The machine is famous for its low cost
LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) scanner,
which is basically a spinning laser which
collects distances from the objects around it.
This gives the robot the ability to make its way
through a house efficiently while it is
The robot also has a pair of IR (infrared)
distance sensors which prevent the device
from falling off edges and going down stairs.
There is an accelerometer and one more IR
sensor to detect walls.