We are repurposing some older iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners as robotic learning platforms. One goal is to mount a Raspberry Pi with WiFi and camera and have the Roomba follow a colored ball (it’s been done but…). We could explore simple algorithms like birds flocking and related emergent behavior if we get enough of them. Also as a learning platform to play with “Robot Operating System” (ROS2). These are a good basic robot platform and are inexpensive if you can find a cheap older (500 or 600 series) Roomba at a yard sale. Replacement batteries are about $20 and they have a serial port (5V TTL level) for communication and control. Lots of library support out there also. We now have a group of us at FMS that are getting familiar with this platform and can help others who want to convert one.
This work should feed directly into the electric wheelchair robot project. Same software functionality but on a larger more capable platform.
If you have an older iRobot Roomba vacuum that you would like to donate contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org