I was reading Engadget when I came across a piece about the latest Roomba hack. Roomba hacking is one of those things that you probably never knew existed, and once you learn of its popularity, you’re forced to ask the question “Why?” What’s perhaps even more bizarre to those of us that don’t see the point is the news that all Roomba vacuum cleaners created after October 2005 come with hacking software pre-installed.
Primarily, Roomba hacks started out as functional beasts. Engineers set to work in developing hacks that enabled the fixing of potential bugs, and the cleaning of deep pile carpets. And then, such is the nature of the human animal, we turned to creating slightly less than functional mods. Since then, there’s been no end to the weird, wonderful, and plain banal that has been accomplished.
The WiiRoomba is potentially the daddy of them all enabling you to control your Roomba with your Wiimote. Taking it in a similar direction, there is a Java applet that can be installed on your mobile phone thus enabling you to control your robotic vacuum cleaner with your mobile. Cameras, video cameras, and a whole host of other sensors have been added in order to document the robot’s progress too.
One of the most recent, and possibly coolest, of all the mods is the Pacman mod. 448 LEDs and some potentially misplaced coding genius has led to the creation of a Roomba that looks alarmingly like Pacman while on its domestic cleaning chores.