Robotic vacuum manufacturer iRobot has always taken a shine to the modders who hack their Roombas in all sorts of new ways. Delivering an open serial port and full instructions on how to utilize it was a great gesture and a very forward thinking move for them, but their latest, the iRobot Create, might really take off. The Create is essentially a Roomba without all of the vacuuming guts. It’s an open platform, with a bunch of expansion and input and output ports on top, and more room to toy with it, since you don’t have to worry about a place to put all that dust and cat hair. Add-on peripherals will be available, but iRobot expects and encourages users to build their own to interface with it, citing a hamster-ball-driven navigation system one test group has already delivered.
The Create is available right now and is selling for the completely reasonable price of $129.99, with an 8-bit command module costing an additional $59.99.
I can see a lot of educational robot teams and the like buying into this, straight away.
(A picture of a beer-fetching Create, after the jump.)
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