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William Cox from RobotBox created the Open Lidar Project. Basically he offers a 400$ bounty to the first person who is able to get useful data from the Neato XV-11 LiDAR and open his procedure and code.

This initiative is inspired by a similar bounty offered by Adafruit to the first to hack the Kinect from Microsoft.

Open Lidar Project

Open LiDAR Project

Why is this of interest?

Since the Neato XV-11 LiDAR is the first low cost LiDAR available on the market, it could prove incredibly useful for all roboticists wanting to give SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) to their robots. There are currently no drivers or instructions available for using the LiDAR, so hacking and reverse engineering seem to be the only options in order to use this beauty.

Inside the Neato XV-11 LiDAR

The only similar commercial products are the Hokuyo Laser Rangefinders which are several times more expensive than the entire Neato XV-11.

Where does RobotShop come in?

At RobotShop we are all for innovation and we believe that we must play a part in this project since it will most likely affect the future of DIY robotics. This is why we have decided to supplement the bounty by offering a refund for the Neato XV-11 to the first of our customers that would be able to successfully hack the laser sensor.

You read right! If you buy (or bought) the Neato XV-11 at RobotShop, we will provide a full refund if you succeed to win the challenge by getting the data out of the LiDAR and sharing your code and method.

We will be also contributing our knowledge by providing as much information as we can  in order to help with the effort.

As a first contribution, the XV-11 Disassembly Guide might be of interest.

Enough chitchat. Get a Neato XV-11 and start hacking now!


2 Responses to “Neato XV-11 Open LiDAR Project, Hack It and Get it For Free!”

  1. Jonathan Lussier

    I’m interested in this challenge. I live in Montreal. I saw your disassembly, do you have a spare unit to borrow/sell (the Revo alone). When reading the paper published by the Neato guys they mention a short-range radio-frequency unit since they only use a 2-path slipring. Is this still in use in the production version? Can you tell what the RF chip (protocol) is?


    • Carlos

      The production unit uses a four channel slip ring (if my memory is correct) and does not require RF (unfortunately for hackers). Nevertheless, this should be easy to hack, since the four lines are Power, GND, RX and TX.

      The Neato is in Stock and you could either pick it up in-store or have it delivered for free.

      Happy hacking!

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