CES 2007: iRobot unveils programmable robot

Las Vegas (NV) - iRobot's "Create" has made the rounds a few weeks ago when the device appeared on the FCC database, but now it is official: the company is offering a trimmed down version of its vacuum cleaners as a fully programmable robot for aspiring roboticists.

The Create kit is based on the Roomba the vacuuming robot, which, according to the manufacturer, has sold several millions of units, and is compatible with Roomba's rechargeable batteries, remote control and other accessories. iRobot hopes that high-school and college students as well as "serious" robot developers will pick up the Create and design "new robots" and applications for the device.

The manufacturer said that a "variety of methods and programming languages" can be used to control Create. Beginners can observe the robot's behavior in one of ten demonstration modes, or they can program the robot directly by downloading short scripts with any basic terminal program. More advanced users can write programs for "completely autonomous robot behavior" in C or C++ using the iRobot Command Module. Developers can also create custom software and interact with Create using a variety of methods including Microsoft Robotics Studio, a Windows-based development toolkit.

The iRobot Create is available now for $130.