Roomba hacked into slightly cruddy musical instrument

Roomba vacuum cleaner robots contain a little beeper and several noisy motors. So, Tod Kurt decided he could put the whole thing under MIDI control, so you can play a Roomba from a MIDI keyboard. If you're running RoombaMidi, you can play an E three octaves below middle C, and the robot will spin left. Press the key harder, and it will spin faster. Play a low C sharp and the LED will flash. Hit the key harder, and it will change colour. The low C triggers the vacuum motor, which creates a kind of kick drum thud. Tod's software is written in Java and is currently Mac only. This YouTube demo video isn't too musical, but the sofware can control up to 16 Roombas over different MIDI channels, which will surely make for a pretty impressive art installation one day.

Nightmares of legions of bluetooth controlled flashing roombas playing the mario song will disrupt my sleep this night.
damn, talk about "free time"
make my toaster play
wu tang
Kudos to the spirit of ACTUALLY "doing it" rather than "wouldn't it be cool if..." Thank Gawd for MT and its incredible readers!

*The following link takes you to some (admittedly off topic) vintage Elfman
Wow... a MIDI instrument which literally SUCKS!
Make gets the original credit for this link:

But for anyone learning MIDI programming in Java, the guy does share his source. (Haven't looked to see how clean it is, so, granted, maybe you just want to start with Apple's CoreMIDI examples.) Now I'm just trying to figure out if this gives me a justification to buy a Roomba.

Okay, maybe not.
Hmm... I think Tod gets the credit - he sent me the email saying 'Look at this cool thing I invented'
Sorry, wasn't implying Make deserves any special recognition, just that Phil there has been on top of the Roomba hacking scene. They've been racing them across highways in Austin, in case you hadn't seen.

I still love the idea of a Roomba symphony, and this could be helpful to anyone interested in learning hardware-MIDI interfacing. This is rather cruddy (intentionally so!) as an instrument, but people may find other useful applications lurking in there.
Also potentially of interest -- he's now reviewed a USB - serial interface for Roomba:

. . . which also further illustrates that you could use serial communications to control devices using MIDI data but not necessarily a MIDI interface.
I find it slightly funny that because of this one post, all of the google ads are now for Roombas. I wonder if I say Dodge Viper enough, if there will be Dodge Viper ads. Dodge Viper Dodge Viper Dodge Viper. Dodge Vipers suck.

Mama Mia! Here's an idea: let your musical Roomba do it's normal cleaning routine, then have it play the SMB flagpole fanfare when it's done.
That's just great! Turning a Roomba into a musical instrument is fantastic.
I wonder what the Roomba instrument would sound like with adding feedback?
I think Tod gets the credit - he sent me the email saying 'Look at this cool thing I invented'
Post a Comment

<< Home
Music Thing on Twitter
    follow MT on Twitter

    Music Thing Hits:
    Music Thing Heroes:
    Music Thing Friends:
    My music gear for sale
    DIY Modular Synth
    Matrix Synth
    Create Digital Music
    Analog Industries
    Boing Boing Gadgets
    London Video Production
    Wire to the Ear
    Palm Sounds
    Noise Addicts
    Retro Thing
    Analogue Haven
    Music Thing Massive
    About Music Thing:
    Send tips to Music Thing
    About this site
    Music Thing Massive
    RSS Feeds

    Problem with the ads?
    Please let me know