I Don’t Vacuum. I Go to War With Dust.

People like to do very different things to relax. Not everyone’s the same. I’ve found that I enjoy building or trying any very silly ideas I may have had in passing though the day.

Today, I spent the day doing just that. I also put my lab coat and protective eyewear on about half way through the day so I could feel more mad scientisty. It’s the little things. What did I do? Well originally I just wanted to jazz up the default speed on one of my Roombas.

Not the Roomba I messed with.
Not the Roomba I messed with.

Obviously as the caption says, this is not the one I messed with today.  This is my other Roomba.  It’ll be getting the same treatment soon.  We’re going to fight them to the death in the squared arena of Shawn’s (my manager) office.  I’m unsure of his travel plans and how safe he’ll be in there with death bots, but if he decides it’s not for him I wouldn’t mind stepping in for a while :P.  Alright alright, click the embedded Youtube and take a look.

Yes…the Wagner is coming from the onboard audio.  It can also whistle the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Jaws” theme tune using the onboard alert audio.

Front of Doomba

That’s a webcam up front, unfortunately a Carl Zeiss one as it’s the only one I had laying around.  The stand has been removed in favour of the articulated mount made from mini 9g servos and some brackets I printed out on my 3d printer.

Tail End of Doomba

So on the other side of the Doomba’s badonka-donk, you can see some additional goodies I’ve literally velcro taped to the thing.

Here’s the junk in that trunk:

  • Raspberry Pi (ver 1) with Wifi – Runs a web server which allows for scheduling management, webcam hosting, remote triggering of tasks etc.
  • UE Boombox – That big ugly black square there pumps out some loud tunes for a tiny box, so I though it would be hilarious to have this thing zipping around vacuuming with the music going like real cleaner.
  • Playstation 2 wireless receiver dongle – Dead center at the back there.  Um…I guess it does pretty much what you think it does.
  • Arduino Nano – On the breadboard on the right.  Why?  Because it’s more stable than the Pi, has a snappier response which is something I appreciate a lot when using the controller and piloting the thing manually.  They also handle serial comms, PWM and a bunch more in a super tiny package with very little power consumption and near flawless operation.
  • Capacitor Bank – I was getting a bunch of brownouts trying to power all this stuff off the current limited channels from the comms port (SPI port?) on the Roomba, so rather than doing the work to figure out what I needed to do, I just went overboard and that did the trick.  No more brownouts.

Doomba Profile

Here’s a side shot….just because I took a few extra photos.

Doomba Drone. Ready for war.
Doomba Drone. Ready for war.

By the end of all this it had blown out to something much bigger than I intended and was more work than I would have liked.  So I was quite happy to be finished.  Bonus picture of my lab coat and safety glasses.

Only Slightly Mad Scientist Selfy
Only Slightly Mad Scientist Selfy


UPDATE:  I’ve added the start of a build process.  It’s a bit lengthy, so I’ve only got part 1 for now.  More coming.

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