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.
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.
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!