Thinking Cleaner, Wifi for iRobot® Roomba® 700 & 800 series
Thinking Cleaner is an add-on for your iRobot® Roomba® 700/800 that makes it smarter and aware of its owner.
Thank you backers!
It is time to say goodbye, Thank you all for supporting us and show your trust and involvement that felt really good. Unfortunately this Kickstarter didn't make it, not totally unexpected to be honest, after the launch of the Roomba 980 we were in doubt wether or not to start this Kickstarter at all. We decided to give it a try because more than 1000 Roomba 700/800 users subscribed to the newsletter and we could also inform our previous backers through Kickstarter. It seemed doable but we needed to become break-even just with the Kickstarter because we spend all our savings to realize the now selling version for 500/600. That seriously raised the bar, on the other hand we could see it as a market probing test "is there a market for his product?".
How do we continue?
We are not sure yet, we are "makers" designers, inventors and hard+software product people and normally work on OEM product requests from others, we are NOT marketing or sales people. We think cooperation and investment from sales and marketing company might revive this product. It is clear that we cannot do this alone.
We also got requests to make the electronics available separately for you together with 3D printable version. That could be a consideration however the full faceplate cannot be printed by most consumer printers because you need a printable area of 32x32 cm. The only reasonable solution would be to design a small 3D printable "stick-on" design that could be used to "Take apart" the current shipping unit for Roomba 500/600. Users could buy this 500/600 unit and take the electronics out. Actually anyone could do that today, the electronics will fit and the software will work (99% needs small tweaks from us) but it voids Thinking Cleaner warranty since the electronics is unprotected and doesn't look nice. Since we aimed a consumer product that would not be an ideal solution, and the market would be even smaller.
We will at least consider the design of a "stick-on" 3D printable housing for download that would allow some of you with 3D printers or friends with printers to realize their Roomba connectivity based on a "take apart" Thinking Cleaner 500/600 install the unmodified electronics and cover-up with a printed cover. (yes voids Thinking Cleaner warranty)
Thinking Cleaner for Roomba 500/600 is available on:
and Robot parts http://www.robot-parts.eu/thinking-cleaner-all.html
Thanks for your support please subscribe to our newsletter if you want to get updates on this product in the future :http://eepurl.com/GMBUf
For now we say Goodbye but we might see you in the future!
The Thinking Cleaner development team!
Original project description below:
The Thinking Cleaner WiFi module is the perfect addition to your iRobot® Roomba® 700/800 that adds WiFi capabilties to it. It can connect to your home or office network and with the free available app or web interface, the Roomba can be remotely controlled or scheduled. Because your Roomba is now connected to the Internet of things, it 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 for Roomba 700 or 800 WiFi module:
- Adds WiFi to your Roomba 700 or 800 for ultimate Roomba control.
- Comes in a sturdy replacement faceplate with all electronics embedded.
- iPhone® + Apple Watch, 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. 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.
- 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, several home-automation plugins developed by others or us available).
- 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.
We started about 2 years ago with early prototypes for the Roomba 500 and 600 and started a Kickstarter campaign in December 2014, unfortunately the funding was unsuccessful and only reached 76% of our goal. We realized that it was a hard product to promote on kickstarter because it is a very specific accessory on a very specific robot vacuum cleaner, so a very small community. However the response of the backers was so overwhelming and we managed to get some extra funding as well as some resellers willing to sell the product that we started production anyway !! We are proud to mention that Thinking Cleaner for iRobot Roomba 500 and 600 is available in multiple countries and even on Amazon USA now.
But the Roomba 500 and 600 also has a very popular series 700 and 800 successor with a very different mechanical design. We got lots of requests to make Thinking Cleaner available for this model. So here we are with our 2nd Kickstarter project specifically for the iRobot Roomba 700 and 800 models.
For the 700/800 series we were faced with a different challenge, because the connector is located under the handle. 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.
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.
SPOT Button: 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. (possibility to compose and upload your own melody.)
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
CLEAN: A clean action will start a normal cleaning cycle on your Roomba at the selected time.
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 a predefined value, then Roomba will go back to its homebase to recharge. If required the Roomba can automatically start for a second cleaning cycle after reaching full-charge.
In this mode Roomba will overrule a security measure intended to prevent lost Roombas. (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 definable location as trigger for Thinking Cleaner, in combination with a scheduled monitoring time-slot. When you leave the area between the scheduled time-slot the Thinking Cleaner will start cleaning, stop or dock automatically. In order to trigger the automatic cleaning the distance from this preset location is currently fixed to approximately 50m, this will become adjustable in a future software update.
This is where 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.
Check bin: 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.
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 and Android features TalkBack, 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 we have plugins available. You can find the full list of available plugins here: http://www.thinkingcleaner.com/setup/api/
If you want to build your own or integrate into other systems you can find 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.
iRobot Roomba 980:
iRobot recently announced a product we believed they should have done years ago. With the introduction of the Roomba 980 iRobot is finally connected to the internet of things and we congratulate iRobot with their new product. Although it still lacks some of our features like geofencing, this recent announcement from iRobot made our business case harder but not impossible to manage. Because the 700 and 800 series of products now have a new high end brother we expect these product lines to decline in sales and therefore we needed to rise our initial kickstarter funding goal to be fully break-even. Although we have worked for a long time on this product we have to be realistic in our calculation so we need to sell at least 850 units. If we don’t, we will loose money on it and since we expect the future timeline for the 700 and 800 models to be relatively short we can only sell our product for a limited time. We realize this might be a high threshold for kickstarter but our best calculations tell us that we have no other choice. iRobot sold millions of Roombas so 850 (or more) sounds very doable, so our biggest challenge is reaching to our potential customers. We need all your support to reach our goal, so please cascade and reach out to all your friends and media to get the project funded.
We are already in production with the electronics and faceplate for Roomba 500/600. Since the electronics are nearly identical except for the connector our current main focus is the redesign of the faceplate and mould tooling. We’ve also re-designed the product box for decent display as well as packaging and shipping. All designs are in their nearly final stage. The whole version for Roomba 500/600 project has taught us a lot. With your backing we can realize the production for the popular Roomba 700 and 800. Even though everything is almost 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!
- Compatible with Roomba 700 and 800 series.
- 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. English, Portuguese German French, Danish and Dutch, but we want to add other languages later. If you like, you can help us translate our software to your language!
- Approvals: FCC, 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 25-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 license 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!
Press Release page:
- iPhone 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 2 years in the making and it has been a rewarding experience for us to take it from concept to working samples.
Last year we started a kickstarter campaign for a version for Roomba 500/600, and although the project was unsuccessful in funding, we were still able to produce the product due to personal investments from the team members. It is selling in many countries and also available on Amazon right now. We realized that we had a tough product for kickstarter,.. since it is an accessory for a very specific product. We learned a lot from it and now we are back for a new version for Roomba 700 and 800. These shipping units for Roomba 500/600 have been used by customers extensively to prove WiFi connectivity connection over all kinds of routers and cable as well as DSL modems. The Apps submitted have been updated frequently with fixes and new features and are available for download. We have well-designed and proven printed circuit boards in hand. The production is outsourced to an experienced company in electronics production.
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.
- (43 days)