How to make a robotic vacuum using VEX IQ?

How do I make a smart robotic vacuum using VEX IQ? My mother bought a robotic vacuum but it just bump and turn.

Are you trying to emulate the motion of the vacuum? That’s pretty easy, just put bumper switches on the perimeter. With 12 ports you can easily manage 2 motors, 8 switches and 2 LED touch sensors on the top. A strategy could be “On Bump, back up a little, spin right, move forward” That should eventually get you out of a corner. It would be a fun exercise to come up with a better set of strategies.

If you want to mimic the cleaning part, look at this years hero bot, it has a rubber band drum on the front that looks like what you would find under a roomba.

As far as actually picking up dirt, that’s going to be a little harder. There really are not brushes (that I’ve seen maybe @Milo409B can point out some) in the various IQ kits. But you could off road some and create a drum ( say 6 axels connecting to of the big gears together) and then attaching small brushes to that (maybe cheap dollar store brushes or old tooth brushes?).

But a real vacuume will be hard. You can put a motor on one of the propeller loops from the Hexbug flying toy and spin it at high speed. But they are small, the pitch of the blades are not that much and the motors don’t go as fast. So overall suction would be low unless you so some kind of insane gear ratio.

Some ideas to get you started. If you build one let us know how you make out!


I was not happy with the way that the robotic vacuum that my mother bought worked. It just bump and turn randomly. I found out that better robotic vacuums use floor mapping. I want to use Distance Sensor and Gyro Sensor for floor mapping. I’ll use bumpers and VEX and controller. I don’t want to mimic the cleaning part. I may get a battery-powered vacuum cleaner.

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Thanks for the @, Foster. It gets much easier if you have a 3D printer, in which case you could make an adaptor to actual brushes that would pick up dust well. probably my favorite design for a vacuum cleaner is a roller with brushes and blades that rolls the dust into a scoop to get lifted off the floor. You also have to keep in mind that the path needs to be air-tight so the dust doesn’t escape.

Going to the movement of the dust inside the vacuum, typically there is a fan contained in a chamber with an air filter on the end. If you want to do that, you can, but I think Roombas use more brushes to move the dirt into a containment area.

With no filter, the air pressure inside would get higher, causing an outward gust, blowing the dusty back out.

About the driving around, that would probably be the hardest part. depending on if you have carpet or not, I would personally go with an x-drive for wood, tread/tank drive for carpet, and I would just vacuum manually on tile.

I can’t put all my ramblings here, but I hope this helped a bit!

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I just saw the “I don’t want to mimic the cleaning part”.

The drive recommendation still works though.

I may need more Distance Sensors so that if left sensor finds something in the way and tells the Robot Brain (1st Generation) to turn right and if right sensor finds something in the way and tells the Robot Brain (1st Generation) to turn left but the store doesn’t have the Distance Sensors in stock. The robot that I built is the Autopilot (1st Generation). I have 3D printer and I can get spare parts (brushes) for the robotic vacuum that my mother bought. As for rhe vacuuming action, I may get the Dustbuster vacuum.

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