Robot Surgery

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

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When I got a tour of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University, from which I ultimately got a degree in electrical engineering, they spent a lot of time showing us the robotics lab.  It was probably the coolest thing a young aspiring engineer could ever see. In four years as a student, I never once set foot in that robotics lab.

Finally, I got my chance to play robot scientist.  My wife got me a black market Roomba for Hanukah a few years ago and it dutifully cleaned our house for several months before it started behaving strangely. Eventually it quit altogether.

Luckily, the Internet has a wealth of information for people wanting to fix their ailing Roombas. The Roomba itself, however, does not make it easy.  I figured there was about a 20% chance of the thing working at all after I opened it up and tinkered with its soft white underbelly, but a replaced IR emitter, a decent soldering job, and about 5,000 tiny screws later, Roomba is once again keeping our house clean from dust bunnies.

If anyone comes across this page with a Roomba that just backs up and spins until it stops and beeps 9 times, here’s what you can do to fix it: http://www.schneordesign.com/Avi/irobot/roomba_mod2.htm

Comments

Roombas are awesome!!! I’m sure they will be common household appliance in the near future.

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