The iRobot Roomba is perhaps the best example of mobile robotics entering the home. It performs
a useful task and is relatively inexpensive, and while it doesn’t look like Rosie the Robot
on The Jetsons, it does have a charm of its own.
The purpose of this book is to introduce robot hacking to people who are interested in programming
and modifying their own robot but who don’t want to destroy a functioning Roomba. This
“reversible hacking” is device modification that can be undone to return the device to its original
Assembling electrical and mechanical parts is a costly and error-prone step in the process of making
electronic devices. The Fab@Home team at Cornell is pursuing the holy grail of personal fabrication, the
ability to manufacture, on a single 3D printer machine in a single “print job,” an object that contains a
battery, actuators, sensors, and a physical “body.” In other words… a robot.
As for internal combustion piston engines, these were tested in France in 1807 by de Rivaz and independently, by the Niépce brothers . They were theoretically advanced by Carnot in 1824. The Otto cycle in 1877 was capable of giving a far higher power to weight ratio than steam engines and worked much better for many transportation applications such as cars and aircraft.