Roomba - vacuuming robots

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Roomba is a low-cost robot produced by iRobot. It is intended to be a commercial cleaning robot, however with little to no modification it can become a powerful educational/hobbyist robotics platform.

Roomba 560

Sensors & Actuators

The Roomba comes with these basic sensors:

  1. Four IR based cliff sensors
  2. Two bump sensors
  3. One wall sensor
  4. A top mounted IR sensor. Used by Virtual Walls, Docking Station, and Remote Control
  5. One Dirt Detector (acoustic impact). Some Roombas have two.

The Roomba is sold commercially as a mobile vacuum cleaner, thus it also has these actuators:

  1. Two wheels drive with differential drive
  2. One main brush motor
  3. A side brush motor
  4. A Vacuum motor.

Communication protocol

The Roomba proprietary Serial Command Interface is available here: iRobot Roomba Open Interface (OI) Specification.

Hacking the Roomba

To interface with the Roomba Serial Port you need a USB - Serial adapter (for 0-5V signals, NOT RS232 levels!). You can find the schematics and the PCB layout of such an adapter here: USB - Serial adapter (iRobot Roomba variant)

You can also find other schematics on net as well as ready to use cables: Roomba-serial, Roomba-USB or Roomba-bluetooth.


If you need to move a Roomba from the lab, you should first ask to Andrea Bonarini, and then fill in the table below.

ID Test Notes Where/Who Project
#1 OK AIRLab
#2 OK AIRLab
#3 Collaudato (Matteo) AIRLab
#4 OK + Batteria roomba #6 AIRLab
#5 KO (bumper) AIRLab
#6 KO (bumper) AIRLab
#7 KO (alimentazione) AIRLab
#8 Collaudato (Simone) AIRLab
#9 Collaudato (Martino) White recharger borrowed AIRLab

See also

Disassembling a Roomba 560

Roomba project - A wall following application showing the functioning of Roomba exploiting Pyro software interface.

External links

Roomba Hacking Forum

iRobot USA