iRobot Create is a programmable robot base for entertainment and education. The platform allows you to use the robust Roomba-like chassis to create your own robotic creations. It comes fully assembled with 2 powered wheels, 32 built-in sensors, a 25-pin expansion port for connecting an optional command module and other electronics, a spacious cargo bay with plenty of holes for mounting hardware and 10 pre-programmed behaviors.
When using this programmable robot you do not have to worry about mechanical assembly and low level code. You can immediately start programming new behaviors, attaching new sensors or actuators. The well documented serial protocol (iRobot Open Interface) provides full access to sensors, actuators, and on-board scripting functionality.
The iRobot Create Platform is based on the existing third generation Roomba system and therefore can use the same chargers, virtual walls, self-charging home base and remote control. You can use standard alkaline batteries or you can purchase optional rechargeable battery options like iRobot Rechargeable Battery and Charger or Self-charging Home Base.
The basic backage also includes the fourth wheel to improve stability of larger payloads.
The cargo bay connector contains: three digital inputs, an analog input, three digital outputs, three low-side driver outputs (useful for driving motors), a charging indicator, a power toggle, serial Tx and Rx.
It comes with a tailgate that enables you to change the center of gravity of the robot, which is useful when running the robot with a payload.
Access to all of the robot's sensors and actuators over a serial port is is accomplished through the iRobot Open Interface. It contains a set of commands for movement, sound, displays (LEDs), sensor inputs, etc. To control the robot you can send individual commands from a PC or write short script of up to 100 Open Interface Commands which can be stored on the robot. Advanced users can write custom software using a variety of methods that take advantage of the robot's 'streaming sensor data' mode. The Create platform has 10 built-in example programs to get you started.
significantly expands your programming possibilities. It plugs right into the cargo bay and is full of ports so you can add additional motors, sensors and even cameras and reticulating arms. It is powered by an 8-bit, 20 MHz Atmel ATMega 168 microcontroller, contains four DB-9 ports for your own hardware, and a number of sample programs that can be compiled and uploaded to the command module via USB. Programs to control the iRobot Create are written in C or C++ using the WinAVR editor/compiler on your PC.
The provided documentation is great as it explains step by step how to install the WinAVR software, compile sample program and load it into the Command module. The manual also provides a few tips, like how to make the bot sing along with some demo programs or the bionic hamster ball navigation system.
You will need a computer with a serial port (USB connectivity is expected soon) and Microsoft Windows XP, Linux or Mac OS X.