Thinking Cleaner, Wifi and Apple® HomeKit® for your Roomba®
Thinking Cleaner is an add-on for your iRobot® Roomba® 500/600 or 700/800 that makes it smarter and aware of its owner.
Thinking Cleaner did not make it, BUT WE WILL CONTINUE !
It is time to say HELLO again !
Thank you for your support and above all your trust in us, this was our first kickstarter and we made a lot of friends, got great feedback, and learned a lot! Thank you all,… for your criticism that improved our product, your kind words on how deeply you wanted our product to succeed, how happy you were to have a consumer solution with a real faceplate enclosure, your tips on “how to do a great kickstarter”, your localisation in your local language, your attempts to get us on your favourite blog and news site. It was a fantastic journey and wasn't wasted because we will continue the journey together with you! Although we didn’t reach our goal we are NOT disappointed, and we WILL CONTINUE the development and production of our product!! We discovered that the threshold for consumers to go on kickstarter is really high, about 80% of our backers had multiple pledges and are kickstarter savvy. About 20% registered at kickstarter specifically to back our product, still an amazing figure. We launched the Apple HomeKit version to test the demand for it and were blown away by the response 70% backed the HomeKit version. The 500/600 series were a little more popular than the 700/800 version, possibly because there are more 500/600 sold, but it was almost 50-50.
We will continue differently for both the 2 distinct form-factors for 500/600 and for 700/800.
Roomba 500/600 pledgers:
Since the majority of investments was already done by our savings and we have already created the tooling for the faceplate, we will smash our piggy banks to source the components and gonna produce it anyway! Your feedback was so overwhelming we dare to take the risk. We partnered with Cyberhuis/Robot-parts to fulfil this for you. (for wifi compliancy there is a EU and USA/international model) Order here today we expect to ship Thinking Cleaner for Roomba 500/600 first come first served end January beginning February 2015. To make the transition for you as smooth as possible we will keep the shipping cost the same flat fee for all countries until January 12, we will have to adopt a per country shipping price after this date, that can be substantially higher in most countries. We start taking orders TODAY so you can order here NOW http://www.robot-parts.eu/thinking-cleaner-all.html We also suggest you also subscribe to our newsletter so we can inform you about our next steps http://eepurl.com/GMBUf
Roomba 700 and 800 pledgers:
It is a different story since we want to make a great consumer product so we need to produce a new faceplate. In order to finance this we need some form of funding, Either by a new and improved kickstarter campaign, angel investor, venture capital or a loan from a bank. This will take more time so you could expect that product to arrive a little later than our current plan! But we will keep you posted you might see us back on kickstarter for this. Subscribe to our newsletter NOW so we can inform you how and when we continue and how you can order: http://eepurl.com/GMBUf
Subscribe to newsletter: http://eepurl.com/GMBUf
We say goodbye for now happy knowing you love the product we created. We made a lot of friends that helped us improve the product, and best of all, we will continue with the product!
Thanks a lot for your support. hope to see you back soon enjoying our product!
The Thinking Cleaner Team
The Thinking Cleaner WiFi module is the perfect addition to your iRobot® Roomba®. Thinking Cleaner is an add-on for your Roomba 500/600 or 700/800 that adds WiFi capabilties to it, so it can connect to your home or office network. With the free available app or web interface, the Roomba can be remotely controlled or scheduled. Being connected to the internet Roomba can also notify you of specific events. So when Roomba has finished cleaning or when it is time to empty the bin, you can receive a push notification or email. If you own a smartphone Thinking Cleaner makes your Roomba even smarter and aware of it’s users. It can enable Roomba to adapt to your life by starting a cleaning cycle when you leave the house (geofencing), when it fits your calendar or when you remote trigger it. This way Roomba can clean autonomously.
The Thinking Cleaner WiFi module:
- Adds WiFi to your Roomba for ultimate Roomba control.
- Comes in a sturdy replacement faceplate with all electronics embedded.
- iPhone®, Android® and web based apps available.
- Remote control much more advanced than the standard IR remote control.
- Easy schedule setup from anywhere in the world, even on Roomba's sold without the schedule option. Up to 4 schedules per day!*
- Starts cleaning automatically when you leave your house or office.* **
- Get notifications from your Roomba world wide.*
- Max clean function (for large rooms).
- Multiple Thinking Cleaners are supported by the iPhone and Android app's.
- HomeKit® integrated version available. ***
- Adds accessibility features for people with disabilities or people that need care by making full use of the Voiceover capabilities.
- Runs autonomously on its own CPU to enable full Roomba independent operation.
- Easy to link to home automation systems (API with documentation available for JSON or XML, expect some home-automation plugins developed by others or us later).
- Over the air firmware updates. Ready for future enhancements and features.*
- Works without router or modem reconfiguration.*
* Requires Internet connection to our free ThinkingSync servers.
** Requires iOS or Android mobile device.
*** Requires iOS 8.1 or later and currently only for specific 700/800 model.
We started about 1,5 years ago with early prototypes and tested the concept first. Next we reshaped the faceplate to provide a decent look and reshaped the electronicsPCB to fit in the faceplate housing.
We tested the design for the 500/600 series under all possible circumstances and finally decided on a form that is part of the circle, to mount the electronics inside.
For the 700/800 series we were faced with a different challenge, because the connector is located under the handle. So we had to come up with a totally different design, where we would create a slope to lift the faceplate approximately 8mm to generate space in front of the unit without blocking the InfraRed eye of the Roomba. Again, we first made a study based on modified existing faceplates and 3D prints to finally settle on the design below.
Here is a video that explains the design of 700/800 faceplate.
iOS and Android software:
The App is currently localised in English, Portugese, German, French and Dutch, if you want to add your language let us know and we send you 2 small files to translate. The first file for words used in the interface, the second a small description for on the App stores. (Software is always in development, current supported features might be extended over time)
The dashboard is the main screen of the app, it contains the buttons to remotely control your Roomba. The dashboard also shows the current state of your Roomba. You can swipe in the top to switch between multiple Roombas if you have more than one connected.
REMOTE CONTROL: Remote control resembles the controls on your Roomba but is even smarter. For example, the app automatically wakes the roomba when needed to make your user experience better.
CLEAN Button: The Clean button is similar to the Clean button on your Roomba with a little extra. Keep the button pressed and you will get two additional options, delayed start and max clean.
DOCK Button: The Dock button triggers Roomba to start looking for its homebase.
The Spot button triggers Roomba to clean at Roomba's current location.
DIRECT DRIVE Buttons:
With the buttons in the outer ring you can steer your Roomba directly.
Find Me Button (Music note symbol):
Click this button to start a short song on the Roomba to be able to locate it.
Fun with the remote control
We were playing with the remote and decided to make a fun movie with the roombas in competition in Roomba Race and put it on YouTube and here to you to enjoy. Watch it here and share the link on YouTube;
In the schedule tab you can set actions to schedule Cleaning, Max Cleaning, Docking or to Stop your Thinking Cleaner. Schedules work on all Roomba models, even if they do not have scheduling as a standard option. To avoid confusion, Thinking Cleaner will erase all existing schedules and the internal time is synchronized with Thinking Cleaner.
In the app a schedule can be selected for each connected Thinking Cleaner. On the schedule page all schedules on the same day of all connected Thinking Cleaners are shown. Tap another day or swipe through the days to select another day of the week.
DAY VIEW:If you tap the screen and keep your finger pressed a new schedule will be made. You can change the time, select the action and select the unit if you have multiple. To delete the action scroll down and touch delete.
You can set 4 schedules per day per unit and you have a choice between the following actions:
- MAX CLEAN
- CLEAN WHEN I LEAVE
Max Clean is meant for larger rooms where Roomba normally doesn't take enough time to clean the whole room. In this cleaning mode Roomba will continue cleaning until the battery charge reaches 20%, then Roomba will go back to its homebase to recharge.
(Roomba by default measures driving distance and if no objects are detected for more than 3 times 8 meters, it will stop to avoid getting lost)
Be careful for Roomba not to gain acces to an outdoor environment at the scheduled MAX Cleaning cycle.
Roomba will start looking for the dock. You can use this, for instance, when you think your Roomba takes too much time to clean your room.
The 'Stop' command is specifically designed for buildings with an alarm system that might be triggered by a driving Roomba. You can use this to avoid your Roomba triggering the alarm. Remember that Roomba will stop and switch off. Tip: schedule a DOCK action at least 30 minutes before a STOP action.
CLEAN WHEN I LEAVE : With the 'Clean when I leave' command, your phone will use a preset location as home location for the Thinking Cleaner. When you leave that area the Thinking Cleaner will start cleaning automatically. In order to trigger the automatic cleaning the distance from this preset location is currently fixed to approximately 500m, this will become adjustable in a future software update.
Here you can switch all push notifications of the Thinking Cleaner on or off.
Start: When the Thinking Cleaner starts a cleaning cycle.
Stop: When the Thinking Cleaner stops during a cleaning cycle or is finished cleaning.
Dock: When the Thinking Cleaner returns to the dock to charge.
Battery: When Roomba is not cleaning and not charging, a warning message will be sent every hour to remind you to place Roomba on its homebase to charge. When the battery charge becomes lower than 10%, Thinking Cleaner will enter a battery safe mode and WiFi will be switched off. As soon as the Roomba is back on its homebase, Thinking Cleaner will reconnect the WiFi connection automatically.
Error: When Roomba stops during cleaning because of an error situation.
The bin has not been cleaned for some time.
The options page shows the list of your Thinking Cleaner(s) and a list of Thinking Cleaners connected to the same WiFi network, if any. Additionally, you can set your account here.
Your Devices: This list shows your Thinking Cleaners added to the app. If you tap a device, a page will appear showing the specific device settings.
Other Devices: This list shows active devices in the same WiFi network as your phone/tablet that are not added to your account. To add a device, tap it. You can only add a unit that has not already been added to another account.
To connect to your Thinking Cleaner when you are not at home, without modifying your home network settings, and for receiving push notifications on your smartphone, you need a (free) account on our ThinkingSync server. Thinking Cleaner will periodically contact the server and check for updates. Maximum delay is approximately 1 minute. You can log in or sign up here. Without an account you can only use the app when your are connected to the same wifi network as your Thinking Cleaner.
Firmware updates are only possible when logged in to your account.
Email notifications: Here you can choose to send an email on all notifications.
- Last cleaning time: The time in minutes Roomba has been cleaning without being picked up.
- Total cleaning time: Total cleaning time in minutes with the Thinking Cleaner installed on Roomba.
- Total distance: Total distance Roomba has travelled since the Thinking Cleaner was installed.
- Battery condition: Roomba checks the health of the battery, but the percentage shown is only correct when the battery has been emptied and fully charged afterwards.
- Firmware version: Software version of this unit, software can be updated over the air.
- IP Address: The current IP address of your Thinking Cleaner.
- Delete device: Click to delete this Thinking Cleaner from your App and from your server account.
Since the iRobot Roomba could be a real advantage for people with disabilities or people that need care, we have worked hard to ensure Thinking Cleaner services are as accessible as possible for those with disabilities.
Apple's accessibility options in its mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads, and iPods features VoiceOver, which reads on-screen text that's below your finger. Thinking Cleaner makes full use of these features by reading the available buttons, settings and notifications aloud to you. The 'Find my Roomba' feature makes it easy for the visually impaired to find the Roomba anywhere in the house. All these features open up a world of new deployments of the iRobot Roomba.
For integration with home automation systems, the documentation of the API is available for download here: http://www.thinkingcleaner.com/downloads/TC_API.pdf
If you created a plugin and want to make it available to others, let us know and we will list you on our website.
Packaging and box design:
For shipping and retail purposes we needed a decent box. We started with pizza boxes and trimmed the details to accommodate basic information in the following languages: English, Spanish, French, German and Dutch. We also added the legal information and the product barcode we registered.
Parts of the enclosure shown on pictures and videos are 3D printed and since our 3D printer size (Ultimaker and MakerBot) is not big enough to accommodate the complete faceplate the first prints were glued on the original faceplate.
The mould to create the full-size plastic faceplate for roomba 500/600 series is almost ready! For the production to run efficiently though, we need volume. That’s where you can come in and help us!
The electronics within the Thinking Cleaner WiFi module are designed for both the 500/600 as well as the 700/800 models, but the mouldings are different for both types. The design for the 700/800 model mould is ready and looks very nice, but is still in need of some financial backing to complete the tooling. With your support, you can help us achieve our goal of finishing the 700/800 Roomba Faceplate in the second quarter of 2015!
- We’ve finalised the electronics and started a small scale production. Next we’ve designed the product box for decent display as well as packaging and shipping.
- All designs are in their final stage. The first small batch is being produced and will be used for testing. The whole project has taught us a lot and with your backing we can rescale the production to make our product available in even higher volumes and make the whole production process even more efficient!
- Even though everything is ready now, our minds haven’t stopped imagining even further! There are a lot of extra software options that we want to add later, but first, we need to see if there is potential for our ideas. Do you see this potential and do you believe in us? Then let us know, by supporting our project!
- 1st version Compatible with Roomba 500 and 600 series (expected Q1, 2015).
- 2nd version Compatible with Roomba 700 and 800 series (expected Q2. 2015).
- WiFi IEEE 802.11b/g compatible (the available channels depend on the approved channels for the shipping country).
- WiFi security: WEP, WPA and WPA2.
- Multilingual software. The first release is English and Dutch only, but we want to add other languages later. If you like, you can help us translate our software to your language!
- Approvals: FCC, CSA and CE.
- Network API for DIY programmers.
- Current consumption average: 50mA.
- Compatible with iRobot Roomba OI Specification.
- Integration with home automation systems possible (plugins added later).
Who we are, the full version.
Thinking Cleaner is a product made by Thinking Bits, a Dutch company based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, led by 24-year old Industrial Design student Joep Elderman. Around five years ago, Joep started developing intelligent accessors for mobile devices which led him to various seminars and conferences, one of which was the World Wide Developers Conference, also known as WWDC in San Fransisco. It was here that Joep met our lead programmer, Marcel Borsten. Together, they decided to revive Thinking Bits, a company started by Joep’s father in 1994, that originally made control software, management software and firmware for existing hardware devices in the professional broadcast, TV production and film industries. The ‘new’ Thinking Bits started to design games, household and generic industry products, hard and software add-ons for OEM vendors and started developing products under their own brand-names. In late 2010 Thinking Bits signed a Made For iPhone agreement with Apple and started the design of hardware accessories under the MFI licence that enabled the design of a complete new category of products currently in the works that can cooperate with products like iPhones, iPads and iPods. After meeting with Matthijs van de Vathorst who was working for Cyberhuis, a Dutch webshop for robotics that sold iRobot Roomba’s, the Thinking Bits team decided to combine forces and started working on the Thinking Cleaner project. After a long time of designing, developing and trial and error, we are now finally live on Kickstarter with a working product, ready for your Roomba!
Running a small test batch in production:
- iPhone HomeKit and iOS are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries
- Android is a trademark of Google Inc.
- iRobot, Roomba and Virtual Wall are trademarks of iRobot Corporation
- Thinking Bits and the Thinking Bits logo are registered trademarks of Thinking Bits BV
Risks and challenges
Thinking Cleaner is now about 1,5 years in the making and it has been a rewarding experience for us to take it from concept to working samples. These working samples have been tested extensively to prove WiFi connectivity connection over all kinds of routers and cable as well as DSL modems. The Apps submitted got approval and are currently available for download. We have well-designed and tested printed circuit boards in hand. The production is outsourced to an experienced company in electronics production in The Netherlands.
Our biggest concern and challenge will come from the timescale of manufacturing our product. We have a very high standard and expectation. When something is not to our specification we will focus on product quality, though this may delay the planned production and delivery schedule.
We have a lots of experience in electronics, software and industrial design but have to rely on partners for plastic production and mould tooling.
We hope that time will be on our side.
- (37 days)