For anyone who's interested, you can make an amazingly great quality telepresence Robot off of a Roomba. Not including the laptop all the parts were under about 250. (ebay
are your friends, not to mention craigslist)
Telepresence Robots are not an entirely new field, its just that to make a good one it costs money... as much as 100,000 dollars! (USD) This Robot, or technically a Rover, is all based off an old Roomba Discovery.
Here are the most important parts:
Roomba (Any gen. with SCI support)
Serial Cord: Hack your own here: http://hackingroomba.com/projects/roombongle/
or by a RooTooth.
Netbook/Laptop: The Lighter the better... Got mine for 150 off of OverStock..
RoboRealm: Amazing program, pm me for webserver files. (I'll post a link soon) Program Cost is not included as you could use Roomba Status... but seriously this programs amazing. You can control just about every robot with it as well as ton of servos. http://www.roborealm.com
LCD: I got an "I-Inc IK161ABB 16" Widescreen LED Monitor" off of Amazon
. It weighs 5 pounds.
RocketFish HD AutoFocus webcam from CowBoom.com (10 dollars...!)
12v 8ah battery
Adjustable Voltage (or 22v) Laptop Power Supply... 4a
22v to 12v DC Regulator from Jameco
We are using an Acer Aspire One A150-1126 as the computer on board, but any netbook/notebook running XP, or Linux/Mac if Wine is installed, should be fine. (ARM Processor's will not work) If you have trouble setting up Wine, contact me or leave a comment. The Computer will have to do 2 things,
1. Control RoboRealm
2. Control the Roomba via the RooStick
3. Run Skype
) is an amazing program which is perfect for this project. It enables you, with some work, to control just about any robot. The files needed for RoboRealm to control the Roomba will be uploaded soon. NOTE: You must have a License, or the trial, to use these files.
RooStick: It is the conversion from the SCI (Serial Command Interface) Port, or on newer Roombas, ROI (Roomba Open Interface), to USB. NOTE: Same port, different names. It is possible to create your own cord, by hacking a serial to usb cell phone cable. http://todbot.com/blog/2006/07/19/roomb ... sb-dongle/
Drivers for RooStick available here: http://www.silabs.com/products/mcu/page ... ivers.aspx
Skype: While RoboRealm has a built in video streaming, which is built in to the interface, it's very choppy and is basically just sending photos. For a cell phone, it'd be great. If you're controlling it from a Laptop, your just gonna want to use skype in conjunction. I might use the built in video streaming for a rear cam.
For the webserver to work out of your home network you have to port forward 80, 8080 to your internal IP. (On an Airport Extreme, it's 10.0.1.X. On most other one's it's 192.xxx.xxx.
The Webcam used is auto focus which is best for robots. If you use a regular webcam, the picture will probably be out of focus a lot. I got it for $20 off of Cowboom.com Any LCD display, as long as it's not too heavy should work.
Cut two brackets and mounted it at the same spot as the original screws on bottom. (I used longer screws) I have to snip some plastic off the edges of the dust bin, so it'll slide on. The holes were measured/milled.
Close up on wheels.
This was cut out of metal from a VCR deck. Another, exactly the same was made and they overlap each other to hold the body. (Trashcan from BigLots)
Charging: I'll take pictures of this at some point...
Docking pads are hooked up to 22v to 12v converter which charges the battery and runs an inverter which charges the computer. The laptop power supply is plugged into the dock, but inside the dock the power is rerouted directly to the docking pads. (No longer low voltage when its not docked... did this because when regulator was hooked up the dock wouldn't stay on)
If anyone needs further detail just ask.