Let's Make Robots!

Rooby the butler robot (WIP)

Last fall my wife bought a powerful vacuum and I got the green light to transform our Roomba into a butler robot. So I went to Home Depot and bought a few PVC and ABS pipes and connectors and mounted them on top of Roomba. I cut a square hole with my Dremel in the T connector and placed there my Chumby One that will be used as the brain. The name is a combination between Roomba and Chumby, thus Rooby.

Chumby needs 5V regulated, so I bought a 5V switching regulator from Pololu so I can power it directly from Roomba's 14.4V battery. I mounted the old arm I built for my previous butler robot version without the hand yet because I need one more servo for it. The servos will be controlled by one of my uServotino boards and will be powered from Roomba's battery through some 6V uBEC I got from HobbyKing. Chumby has only one external USB port so I needed to use a USB hub and plug Roomba, the webcam, a USB flash drive and the uServotino into the hub. The only problem with this setup is that Chumby has problems booting in robot mode with all these plugged in. Oh well, we'll see what we can do about this later.

GroG worked hard to get his My Robot Lab to run on the Chumby and some more work needs to be done to be able to access all the peripherals directly from MRL. In theory, the software is set up so I can do all the programming remotely from a MRL session on my laptop and then run the code directly on Chumby. But I didn't get that far yet. The work was interrupted by the need of some parts and a damage to the Roomba's battery monitor circuitry. Then I got preoccupied by another project so this one is still waiting for my better mood. I'll take more pictures of it soon, for now, you just have the one above.


I have attached all the servos and the Lego Adaptive 4 digit hand to the robot, here is the picture:


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You look to have a good deal of progress there. The moving product will be very interesting to see. Especially with the remote programming abilities.

I still don't understand how MRL works, I've been at it for way too little with no guidance. It is supposed to be intuitive, perhaps for a programmer, but for me it's still hard. But I want to have the robot functional first then ask GroG for more help with finalizing the Chumby MRL implementation.

I like the way those PVC pipes look.  Very cool.  I've thought about using pvc pipes for limbs but they seem so heavy.  I hope you get back to this one soon.

They ARE heavy. Heavier than what I'd like. But I couldn't find anything with thin walls... I wish I had a lathe to thin them down a bit... Hmm, actually, I know a guy who has several lathes in his basement. Who knows? Perhaps I should pay him a visit sometime...

That sounds like a lot of work, even if you had a lathe. Still, I am hard pressed to come up with a viable alternative.

What about cardboard tube, and then wrap it in fiberglass? Sanded and painted, that should be strong and light. Not that I've every worked with fiberglass, but I think the idea would work.

I couldn't agree more, this one LOOKS like a robot, in that sci-fi cool kind of way.  I am definitely into robot bling and this one looks like it has great potential to impress the house guests.

Interestingly we have a couple of Roomba's laying around and the wife today out of no where told me I could "convert" them.  Could this be coincidence?  I think not!  Skynet coming online ....LOL.

There used to be a serial converter you could buy.  And I think I've seen plans for them somewhere.  And a list of commands you could send to the Roombas.  I THINK the 4000 and 5000 series worked best.  But you still don't get everything a Create has. got

Still, if you got one, and it's got the serial port--go for it.


Mine is the 4000 series and has the serial port. I was looking for that when I boght it, just in case. And I use one of my modified Nokia USB-serial cables from Deal Extreme. But it can talk directly to an Arduino, the serial port has TTL logic.

I was going to use a 4000 series Roomba as the start of a CreaNect robot.  It had an issue with the vacuum pump.  But it stopped charging so I stripped it for it's motors and wheels.  Which I still have somewhere.

I notice this was made last year according to the date the photo was taken. Can't wait to see it up and running!