Roomba SLAM

My proposal for the scholarship:

I will give the Roomba Create the ability to perform SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) within a typical house setting.

There are three parts to this project:
1) By using several IR rangefinders mounted on servos, create a 2D map real-time of the surroundings. This will be done with zero modification to the Create chassis. Very easy.

2) Upload the map by wireless link to a PC for analysis. Intermediate.

3) And the hardest part, continuously update the map accounting for drift over time (SLAM). Difficult but very useful!

And I will give myself one additional challenge - I cannot use more than $100 in parts! The average hobbyist cannot afford much more than this, so to keep my tutorial useful I will stay within this limit.

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societyofrobots (author) 10 years ago
For those who never saw the finished product . . .

I was waaay under budget, like a 3rd of what I planned.

I did part 1, totally forgot to do part 2, and did half of part 3. The built in encoders were unreliable, and I didnt have the memory available to do a full SLAM. It worked, but the drift was higher than I liked.
societyofrobots (author) 10 years ago
I guess while Im at it Ill do a shameless plug . . . if anyone wants to know how to build a robot, check my site at

I document everything to the last detail.
SacTownSue10 years ago
How do you see this being used? Interior decorators?
societyofrobots (author)  SacTownSue10 years ago
Its a fundamental skill a robot needs. The mapping will only be used by the robot itself for navigation, not by people. A robot without this ability will never be able to navigate a home. Very very useful . . .
aarone10 years ago
Is your map going to be a robot-height map, or a people height map? In my home at least, the maps would appear very different.
societyofrobots (author)  aarone10 years ago
Hmmmm I dont see why a robot thats like 2 inches high would need a human sized map . . . As servant74 said, adding a 3D scanner wouldnt be much harder after the 2D part works, but it would kill any chance of real-time functionality . . . unless I add a ton of scanners working simultaneously . . .
The robot wouldn't, but if the map is being made for a person it might be valuable.
servant74 aarone10 years ago
I would hope it might have the ability to do both. The math might be a little tricky, but it could generate a 3D map, using a range finder on a turrent, so it could 'scan' vertically as well as horizontally. (think nurf missile launcher with a range finder rather than a missile launcher!) A fairly simple 2 servo mechanism could provide the mechanical platform. The speed of doing a 3D survey would probably not be real time, but could be useful, even if the upper portions were in 8 or 18cm cubes (3 to 6")