Brainlink can teach old robots new tricks

Want to breathe new life into your old Roomba? With the Brainlink system, that dream just might become a reality.

brainlink The device, developed by Carnegie Mellon University spin-off BirdBrain Technologies along with CMU's CREATE Lab can now make it possible to control your old Roomba, or nearly any other robot with an infrared sensor, using a computer or an Android smartphone.


The Brainlink system also has a light sensor and an accelerometer, along with additional ports for connecting even more sensors, so you can potentially add even more capabilities to your tired old robots.


The Brainlink system consists of a small, triangular controller that attaches to your robot and has an infrared LED connected to the unit that can be positioned near the IR detector to relay commands. Brainlink is powered by a rechargeable battery and has a bluetooth range of approximately 30 feet.


Tom Lauwers, who heads BirdBrain Technologies says that "“Some of the most exciting applications are those possible by attaching a smartphone to the robot,” Lauwers said. The smartphone’s camera, microphone and speakers, as well as its onboard computing power, could enable a robot to respond to voice commands or locate certain objects."


BirdBrain Technologies provides more information about Brainlink and is currently taking orders for the system for $125 at



Craig Capizzi is the Senior Editor for Robot Reviews, and can be found reporting on the latest robot news, and occassionally muttering to himself in the forums from time to time.

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