iRobot launches Create 3

iRobot has launched a new educational robot. Create 3 is based on the Roomba i3 vacuum. It will not clean floors for you, but rather is a development platform to learn ROS 2.


This week was National Robotics Week, making it an auspicious time for iRobot to launch the third generation of its Roomba-based robot for STEM education. Rid of brushes and other floor cleaning accessories, the Create 3 still has plenty of smart technology. It now goes far beyond the ability to move and detect edges.

Originally introduced in 2007, the role of Create is to teach the basics of robotics, computer science and engineering by allowing users, especially “advanced hobbyists”, to program behaviors, sounds and movements and attach sensors, electronics, cameras, clamps and more to the device. The creation platform also allows users to create something on top of it, and iRobot provides tutorials and sample projects.

It’s been over seven years since we reported the launch of the previous model, see Create 2 Roomba which doesn’t suck, and in the meantime iRobot has acquired Root, an educational robot originally developed by the Wyss Institute in Harvard, then, after Kickstarter success, launched as a commercial product. Root and its programming environment were, and are, designed as an educational tool that would engage kids ages 4 and up with coding. It covers the basics of computational thinking for kids and takes them from block-level coding to Python.

The Create platform targets a higher age range – high school and college students as well as post-docs. The idea is to start by programming simple behaviors, sounds and movements, then move on to stand-alone location, navigation and telepresence applications with plenty of room for creativity. You can program it in ROS 2, with the Python SDK or even with the iRobot coding app.

In terms of hardware, Create 3 is equipped with an inertial measurement unit (IMU), an optical ground tracking sensor, wheel encoders, and infrared sensors supporting location and navigation. Additionally, the robot has a downward-facing sensor to perform optical flow and includes cliff, bump, and slip detection, as well as LED lights and a speaker.

Create 3 is compatible with ROS 2, the standard open source robotics software from OpenRobotics. ROS 2 is what allows actuators, sensors and control systems to communicate with each other. It also has Ethernet, USB and Wi-Fi, again opening up the kind of smart apps that can be created with it.

iRobot Create3

More information

Create 3 bots

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Steven L. Nielsen