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.
Posted by Tom Whitwell.
Nightmares of legions of bluetooth controlled flashing roombas playing the mario song will disrupt my sleep this night.
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.
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.
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.