Roomba Serial and Bluetooth Interfaces

Posted 15 Feb 2006 at 17:42 UTC by steve Share This

Phillip Torrone emailed to let us know about two new Roomba HOW TOs at Make. The first one explains how to set up a serial interface to the Roomba that uses the Roomba SCI specification which we covered a while back. The second one explains how to get a Blue Tooth interface working. The Blue Tooth interface looks just like a serial port to the OS. Both interfaces allow the computer to access sensor data as well as control or modify the robot's behavior. For even more Roomba hacking info, check out the Roomba Wiki.

Great article!, posted 16 Feb 2006 at 20:55 UTC by lucretiaX » (Apprentice)

This is a really inspiring article. Has anyone dabbled in either of these techniques? Also, any advice on what model Roomba works best for tampering?

Hacking Roomba, posted 17 Feb 2006 at 18:22 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

I have two Roombas (a Scheduler and a Pro Elite), but they're too old to use this without buying the Osmo Hacker module, which is $30. I haven't bought an Osmo Hacker module yet.

If you are going to buy a Roomba to hack in this manner, make sure it was made after October 24th, 2005. This site tells everything you need to know:


I think the Roomba Red is a good value at about $150, and I saw them for sale at lots of stores around the holidays. I own a more expensive Scheduler, but never use its remote control or the scheduling features.

scheduling, posted 17 Feb 2006 at 22:26 UTC by Dozier » (Apprentice)

i have the scheduler, and was planning on using it as a platform. i, personally think the remote and the scheduling is fantastic. it docks under my sofa and comes out once a day while im at work to clean the floors. does a great job, so i am reluctant to dive into hacking it without adequate preparation so that i am sure not to destroy it. (not cheap enough for that!)

Scheduling, posted 18 Feb 2006 at 17:09 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

I'd like to use the scheduling function, but I have a dog whose loose hair winds up around the rotors. So, I pretty much have to clean the rotors and empty the bin after each session.

I've found that a shop vac and a dental pick make short work of getting my Roomba squeeky-clean.

Thanks!, posted 21 Feb 2006 at 17:20 UTC by lucretiaX » (Apprentice)

Thanks for the great info!

Cheap enough platform, posted 22 Feb 2006 at 04:49 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

At $150 it seems it would make a decent laptop platflorm. Just get a roomba, add a laptop, connect via serial (make sure it has one) and you've got a cheap laptop bot. Added bonus, you get a vacuum, some sensors, ?docking? and song playing capability! Cons, I guess it's a little slow and not very good outside. Program it to listen to dog barks and run toward it! Maybe kick on the vacuum, backup and charge a few times at the dog for fun then stop and play dead for a few seconds and do it all over again. Totally terrorize poor puppies! What fun!

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