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iRobot Releases Programmable Robot for STEM Education

The Create 2 from iRobot is designed to give kids an inexpensive platform to learn about programming and hardware. Photo courtesy of iRobot.
The Create 2 from iRobot is designed to give kids an inexpensive platform to learn about programming and hardware. Photo courtesy of iRobot.

iRobot has found a great use for old Roombas: STEM education. The company announced today that it is selling remanufactured Roomba 600s, as programmable, expandable robots for students and developers.

Called the Create 2, the robots come with all of the lights, sensors, and behaviors that come on the Roomba 600. So, straight out of the box, the bot will be able to negotiate obstacles, avoid falling off the edge of a raised surface, and dock with its charger. Sample code for starter projects is also included.

“As a global leader in robotics technology, iRobot believes its greatest social responsibility is to ignite students’ passion for STEM-related careers through the excitement of robots,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot.

The robot can be controlled via Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or a computer connected with the included serial-to-USB cable. (The cable plugs in under the removable green faceplate. )

The robot does not come with the standard Roomba warranty. But unlike iRobot’s  cleaning systems, this bot is built to be altered. The faceplate is labelled with ideal spots for drillholes, which could be used to mount additional hardware, such as a video camera. A CAD file can be used to 3D print a bin for housing additional electronics.

The Create 2 can be purchased for $199.99.

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