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Hacked rug-roving Roomba robot runs Linux

Dec 5, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 8 views

A newly published book includes a chapter about installing Linux on iRobot's “Roomba” robotic vacuum cleaner. Hacking Roomba, by Tod E. Kurt, includes a variety of fun robotic hacks and projects, none of which will void the device's warranty or prevent its operation as a vacuum, according to the… publisher.

(Click for larger view of book cover)

iRobot makes large Linux robots for the military markets, as well as a number of simple household robots, such as the Roomba vaccuum and Scuba mopping robots.

iRobot's household robots are based on a simple proprietary RTOS, albeit one with an open “ROI” (robotic operating interface) API. Hacking Roomba describes a variety of fun projects that exploit the ROI API in order to get the robots to do various tricks.

One project involves piggybacking a Linux-based LinkSys wireless router, and using it to wirelessly control the robot. Another appears to involve actually installing Linux on the device itself.

Projects listed by the publisher include:

  • Build a serial interface tether
  • Set up a Bluetooth interface
  • Drive Roomba
  • Play with sensors
  • Make it sing
  • Create a Roomba painter
  • Use your Roomba as a mouse
  • Connect Roomba to the Net
  • WiFi your Roomba
  • Replace Roomba's brain
  • Build the RoombaRoach
  • Install Roomba-cam
  • Put Linux on Roomba


The 436-page book can be ordered online from Amazon, Powell's, and Barnes and Noble, for $20 or less. Additional information about the book is available at its companion website, here.

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