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Ten days after posting the bounty for hacking the Neato Robotics XV-11's lidar, I think we have a winner! Hash79 (blog) has posted a video of his hacked robot outputting lidar data. You can see it below. Hash79's work is based on code from Xevel, but it turns out that Hash79 has a XV-11 with a firmware version 2.4, which is significantly different than the 2.1 firmware output data provided by Sparkfun.
If you'd like to continue participating in the hacking process, there's a very active thread going on on the Trossen Robotics forum where most of the work was performed. Be sure to congratulate Hash79 on his hard work! The wiki page for Xevel's code has been updated with all the known information on the 2.1 and 2.4 firmware output data, and is a great place to start if you'd like to contribute. Hash79 also has a good explanation of the output data on his blog.
I had a blast working on this, nice finding new blogs to follow along
the way as well... Looking forward to the next challenge! :)
For now, if you want a sensor like this, you'll need to purchase one of the XV-11 robots (from RobotShop or Amazon), but hopefully Neato will hear our pleas and make replacement units available at a lower price.