Introduction: Laser Cut Lego Base for Roomba Robots!
I am in the process of building an Android-based (and eventually iOS) telepresence robot software platform, currently dubbed myRobot, and one of the planned hardware applications is the Roomba vacuums, which have a serial port that can issue commands and receive data.
In considering how to turn a Roomba into a telepresence Roombot that can carry an Android device, an IOIO controller, and the voltage converter to take the 15.6V of the Roomba Battery to the 5-15V input on the IOIO board, it seemed like Legos would be a fun, customizable, and versatile way for people to make their myRobot "Roombots" into whatever form they can come up with!
The only special equipment this requires is a 10" x 10" Lego Base Plate that can be cut down to fit the Roomba, then you can build your own Lego creation on top!
Step 1: Download the Template
Using a flatbed scanner, I imported images of the 10"x10" baseplate and the Roomba cover plate to make sure they were both to scale.
I erased the edges and holes for the handle, the center buttons, and the serial port.
Cutting manually with a Dremel, it lines up well. I'm hoping to get my hands on a laser cutter to test the dimensions. Meanwhile, feel free to download the .jpg template here, and an attempt at a vector file version for laser-cutting here.
Step 2: Mount the Lego Baseplate to Your Roomba and Build!
Epoxy is a solid way to connect the baseplate to the Roomba cover plate, but if you're concerned about future usage and removal, adhesive velcro should work.
Alternatively, you can buy extra Roomba cover plates and swap them out.
Even if you have no interest in building a remotely-controlled telepresence robot our of your Roomba, you can still build awesome Lego creations and creatures! Unfortunately, the Roomba is designed to have a low clearance, so you won't really be able to vacuum with things sticking off of the top unless you add "horns" or some other vertical extension to the front bumper as high as your creation.
As the myRobot software progresses, you'll be able to add a distance sensor to the IOIO microprocessor to avoid collision, and we hope to add a room-mapping feature that will do the vacuuming rather than the Roomba's built-in algorithm.
I'll be adding instructions for the basic PDA mount using Lego bricks and Mindstorm pieces as soon as I can.
Keep an eye on evolvingmonkeys.com for updates and progress - we hope to have the free remote-control telepresence app up within the next month or so and the Roomba add-on soon after!