The Zoomba is a Roomba which has had its microprocessor replaced so it can be used as a platform for robotics experimentation. The Zoomba can be controlled from a single board computer, like a Parallax BASIC Stamp or Javelin Stamp, from a laptop, or from your desktop PC.
The Zoomba is connected over a serial interface and provides simple commands to control all of the motors on the Zoomba and read the state of each of the sensors. You can write simple programs to control the motion of the Zoomba, detect collisions and play sounds.
How Does it Work?
The Zoomba is exactly the same as a Roomba, except that its microprocessorthe brain of the Roombahas been replaced. The Zoomba's brain doesn't know anything about vacuuming, but it does understand a set of commands which can be sent over the serial cable. You can then use a different microprocessor, like the one in your latop, to do the thinking and send commands over the serial cable to control the Zoomba.
Zoomba understands eight commands. You can find detailed information on these commands here.