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Hacking Roomba: ExtremeTech [Paperback]

by Tod E. Kurt
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)


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Book Description

November 20, 2006 0470072717 978-0470072714 1
The Jetsons would be proud!

A gizmo as cool as Roomba just begs to be hacked. Now, with this book and the official ROI specification furnished by iRobot?, you can become the robotic engineer you've always dreamed of being. Build a Bluetooth interface for your Roomba. Turn it into an artist. Install Linux on it and give it a new brain. Some hacks are functional, others are purely fun. All of them let you play with robotics, and not one will void your warranty.

  • Build a serial interface tether.
  • Set up a Bluetooth? interface.
  • Drive Roomba.
  • Play with sensors.
  • Make it sing.
  • Create a Roomba artist.
  • Use your Roomba as a mouse.
  • Connect Roomba to the Net.
  • Wi-Fi your Roomba.
  • Replace Roomba's brain.
  • Install Roomba-cam.
  • Put Linux? on Roomba.
  • Features a companion Web site.

All this ? and it will still clean your floor!

Get the official iRobot Roomba Open Interface (ROI) specification and all code presented in the book in ready-to-run form at wiley.com/go/extremetech.



Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The jetsons would be proud

A gizmo as cool as Roomba just begs to be hacked. Now, with this book and the official ROI specification furnished by iRobot®, you can become the robotic engineer you dreamed of being when you were 10. Build a Bluetooth interface for your Roomba. Turn it into an artist. Install Linux on it and give it a new brain. Some hacks are functional, others are purely fun. All of them let you play with robotics, and not one will void your warranty. You could say it's a clean sweep.

Fun ways to work the Roomba

All this — and it will still clean your floor!

  1. Build a serial interface tether
  2. Set up a Bluetooth® interface
  3. Drive Roomba
  4. Play with sensors
  5. Make it sing
  6. Create a Roomba artist
  7. Use your Roomba as a mouse
  8. Connect Roomba to the Net
  9. Wi-Fi your Roomba
  10. Replace Roomba's brain
  11. Install Roomba-cam
  12. Put Linux® on Roomba

Companion Web site

Get the official iRobot Roomba Open Interface (ROI) specification and all code presented in the book in ready-to-run form at www.wiley.com/go/extremetech

About the Author

Tod E. Kurt has engineered hardware and software for robotic camera systems that went to Mars. Although he has degrees in electrical engineering and physics, Tod's career as a robotics hacker really began when he took apart his BigTrak, radio-controlled car, and chemistry set box to build an upright programmable robot when he was 12.

Product Details

  • Series: ExtremeTech (Book 48)
  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470072717
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470072714
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm trained as an electronics engineer. As the web took off, I focused on that for many years but now I'm back to engineering. Before and a little during the Web I worked on camera systems for space probes, an amazing experience. My Web experience revolves mostly around my affiliate with GoTo.com (employee #7) which became Overture and then bought by Yahoo.

Now as co-founder and principal of ThingM, I'm working making ordinary objects smart. My experiments with the Roomba are an expression of one aspect of this uplift of ordinary things. (Who would of thought a vacuum cleaner would have more computing power than business computers of the 70s?)


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have January 25, 2007
By PJT
Format:Paperback
I received a "Rootooth" adapter as a Christmas present so I bought this book to expand on hacking Roomba. It is very detailed and easy to follow. The book assumes that you have some basic programming knowledge (i.e. MS VB, MS C#, MS C++, Java)to get the most out of it. You need to know how to compile and execute Java code to do the experiments in this book. It has some cool experiments and a lot of references to downloads for any utlities you will need to hack Roomba. I would highly recommend "Hacking Roomba" as a must have.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Length: 2:44 Mins
Tod must write more books on engineering. I liked his style of explaining things in a lucid manner. The book is also comprehensive. I will let the video do rest of the talking.

Update: new video on youtube watch?v=6owDZIy5hcc
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roomba mods unleashed September 15, 2008
By jef
Format:Paperback
Great book, I would suggest getting more than one roomba so you can mod one and still vac the floors. Top fun, all good info in one book, Yes you can get most of the info online but I think its better to have the directions at hand when halfway through a mod instead of rushing to look it up again link after link
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By GSmith
Format:Paperback
Thank you Tod for putting all of your (and some other Roomba enthusiasts) hacks in one place for easy reference. While my initial reason for buying the book was to read the section about my kids' business, myRoomBud, I was just as interested in the information to help with the multiple Roomba hacking projects I have underway. I am not a hardware guy so having an abundance of pictures and diagrams is essential for explaining the hacks. On the software side, every hack has source code making the hacks usable right from the get go. I cannot count the number of hacking books that only give you pseudo code that is often close to useless. [...]
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