Can You Hack A Roomba?

a hacker wearing a mask while doing a cyber attack

Can you hack a Roomba? Are you concerned that someone might be spying on your home? Learn more about hacking a Roomba below!

If you are anything like me, you may have been looking for a way to save time on your cleaning routine. I know that I got tired of the numerous hours I spent trying to clean my house every week. Therefore, I invested in a robot vacuum cleaner in 2014. 

Immediately, I fell in love with my Roomba. It saved me a significant amount of time, cleaning up messes all over the place. In addition, it also entertained me by providing a moving target for my pets

Unfortunately, I noticed that my Roomba was taking weird paths around my house. I wondered why it was taking such a circuitous route to get to certain locations. Then, I wondered, can you hack a Roomba? What would make someone want to do this?

How Does A Roomba Work?

Robot Vacuum Cleaner, Robot, Machine - can you hack a roomba
Roomba has three separate sensors

If you remember the cartoon “The Jetsons” from the 1960s, you may have numbered a lot of futuristic technologies the family showed off during the year 2062. It accurately predicted a number of the technologies we use today, including a robot vacuum cleaner. 

The Roomba uses a variety of features to sweep up small particles, dirt, dust, and debris using a conventional vacuum cleaner. There are two large wheels and a separate motor that drives each of them. The wheels are capable of rotating in opposite directions, allowing the machine to turn in place. 

There are three separate sensors the Roomba uses in order to move and sweep These include: 

Infrared Sensor

The infrared sensor is used to detect changes in motion. It is located at the front of the device and sends out a beam that reflects off of objects. 

Photoelectric Cell Sensor

This sensor uses the photoelectric effect, converting light energy to electric energy. This sensor is responsible for reading reflected light coming from the infrared sensor. It measures its distance from the device. 

The Piezoelectric Sensor

There is also a piezoelectric sensor, which is a crystal placed in between two metal plates. This sensor is used to detect the presence of dirt and debris. If particles impact the sensor, the device makes a second pass over that area, cleaning it thoroughly. 

This technology works to make robots more functional when they vacuum. 

How Does This Robot Vacuum Map A Home?

The vast majority of early Roomba models cleaned a home using random patterns. Today, Robot vacuum cleaners, including the Roomba, use artificial intelligence to map a specific area. They identify obstacles, determining the most efficient route for cleaning. 

Modern Roombas, including the 960 version, the 980 version, i7, i7+, S9, and S9+ use a specific program called a Vision Simultaneous Location and Mapping program (VSLAM). 

What Is VSLAM?

This program uses an infrared camera to take snapshots of a room. Then, the program is used to analyze the information, figuring out where the vacuum cleaner needs to go next. This navigation system allows the Roomba to clean and straight lines.

With a single pass, the robot vacuum can clean a specific area. That way, it doesn’t have to go over the same area multiple times. 

More advanced Roomba vacuum cleaners also feature a program called an iAdapt 3.0 system. This allows the robot vacuum cleaner to store up to 10 unique floor plans for larger homes. 

Why Might Someone Want To Hack An iRobot Vacuum Cleaner?

Vacuum Cleaner, Robot, Budget
Data stored in the Roomba vacuum cleaners can be hack

Even though more advanced Roomba vacuum cleaners are getting harder to hack, many people are still concerned that someone might be interested in the data stored on the vacuum cleaner. Specifically, hackers might be interested in the floor plans and home mapping data the vacuum cleaner stores.

Reasons To Hack A Roomba

There are several reasons why this information can be helpful, including: 

  • Based on the objects that are in the home, marketers might be able to target their advertisements more effectively. 
  • Someone might be interested in a floor plan of the home in order to plan a home theft. 
  • Hackers might be trying to spot personal financial information in the home. 
  • Insurance companies might be interested in home mapping data when deciding whether to pay out a home insurance claim. 
  • Some people might want to use them as microphones, spying on what people say. 

Even though it is possible to hack a Roomba, it is incredibly challenging. As the Roomba has gotten better at vacuuming homes, its security systems have gotten better as well. There are some people who have tried to hack their own Roombas in order to make their motors more powerful or change their algorithms.

Even though it is easier to hack a Roomba when holding it in your hands, there are still privacy and security concerns that will continue to linger. 

Final Word on Can You Hack A Roomba

A Roomba is one of the most popular robot vacuum cleaners available today. It uses a series of sensors to map home, detect debris, and vacuum it efficiently. These sensors have also sparked a wide variety of privacy and security concerns.

Some homeowners are worried that the vacuum cleaner might sell home data to advertisers. Even though it is possible to hack a Roomba, this is difficult to do without holding the physical vacuum cleaner. As the Roomba continues to improve, its security measures will get better as well. 

FAQs About Can You Hack A Roomba

Why do people hack robot vacuums? 

Some people like to use the microphones sword on robot vacuums to spy on what people say. This information could be used to target advertisements more effectively. 

Is it possible to hack a Roomba? 

Yes. Any device in your home that is attached to your home’s internet connection can be hacked, even though some devices are harder to hack than others. 

Does a Roomba have a camera on it? 

Yes, most of the high-end Roombas, including the i7+, use a camera on top that feeds information to the VSLAM system to map your home and develop vacuum patterns.