Robotics developer iRobot launched its latest "hackable" robot for aspiring developers last week.
The Create 2 might look like a Roomba — which iRobot manufactures too — but it's actually a lookalike, one that isn't necessarily meant for cleaning jobs.
Roomba vacuums have the potential to be a good base for robots — because of the sensors that they use to maneuver around a room, for one thing. Unlike Roombas, the Create 2 is designed specifically with robot makers in mind.
The latest device is the successor to the iRobot Create, which has been available since 2007. Since it was relatively cheap to buy, the Create was a good starter option for people with a knack for robotics.
The issue with the old Create is that all of its electronic bits weren't up to preferred safety standards, iRobot founder and CEO Colin Angle told IEEE Spectrum. That creates a pretty big problem because it couldn't be sold outside the U.S. And 2007 wasn't exactly yesterday, so it was due for an update regardless.
“It’s the pickup truck of educational robots,” he said. “It’s a high load capacity, extremely rugged, extremely affordable educational robot.”
It's simple enough to get started.
All developers need is the ability to code — Scratch and Python are recommended — and the included USB cable to begin programming behaviors, movements and sounds.
It's possible to attach additional hardware, like sensors, lights and gripping extensions. iRobot has guides for mounting things on Create 2, including cameras or a Bluetooth-enabled DJ station. (Kind of like the one on Parks & Recreation, but better.)
On top of that, there's also a guide included with purchase that outlines how 3D printing can be used to trick out the Create 2 with additions. And speaking of additions: Buyers get a drill template to make hardware mounting easier and safer.
The Create 2 is $200 and available for purchase now.
Tags: DEV - DESIGN, DEV & DESIGN, GADGETS, IROBOT, ROBOT, ROOMBA, Tech