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How to control your iRobot Roomba using Siri

Even if the iRobot line of smart aspirants doesn’t support the Apple HomeKit, there’s a way to control the iRobot Roomba with Siri. It’s not as simple as downloading an app and pressing a button, but it’s not too complex either. If you have a vicious mood, then you will have an explosion and in about 10 minutes, you should be able to order your Roomba using Siri or actions programmed in the Shortcuts application on the iPhone.

Roomba control with strings

How to control a Roomba with Siri

In order to be able to order a Roomba using Siri, we will have to create webhooks. In short, web hooks are snippets of code related to a web application that are triggered by a particular event. When that event occurs, the source makes an HTTP request to the URL configured for the web hook. If the URL is set up correctly, we can make it do whatever we want. In our case, we want the URL to start our Roomba.

If all else fails, here’s a breakdown of what will happen once we’re done:

  • We’ll create a specific URL that, when prompted, will start your Roomba.
  • You’ll tell Siri to start Roomba
  • Using the shortcut application, Siri will essentially make a request to the specific URL
  • The URL will talk to your Roomba and command it to start

After all, you don’t have to understand anything as long as you follow these simple instructions below.

How to control your Roomba with Siri

1) Create an IFTTT account

First, create a free account on IFTTT.com. This is the service we will use to create webhooks that will eventually control your iRobot.

Once configured, create a new automation by clicking the button Create header link. You’ll see a screen prompting you to create a new automation with the words “If that, then that. “

v

If it The URL (to be created below) is called, then that the action (start Roomba) will happen.

2) Create a webhook

Click on This. It will open a page where we can select the service we want to use. Type webhooks in the search box and select the service.

3) Connect the webhook

On the next screen, click the button Connect button.

Connect webhooks

4) Create the name and trigger of the event

The next step is to choose the trigger associated with this service. At the time of writing, only one trigger is available. Click on Receive a web request trigger. Then type start_roomba as an event name. Don’t forget the underline between the two words.

Turn on the Roomba Shutter

Click on Create the trigger going forward.

We have now completed the “if this” part of our “if this, then that” recipe. Now we need to finish it by telling the service what happens when the web hook is triggered.

Then that

Click on That continue.

5) Select an action service

On this screen, the next screen, type iRobot in the search box and select this action service.

6) Connect the iRobot service

As we did above for the webhook, we need to connect the iRobot service. Click the button Connect button. This will open a new window asking you to log in to your iRobot Home account. Enter your username and password.

Log in to your iRobot Home account

7) Choose the action you want Roomba to perform

On the next screen, you are shown all the possible actions that Roomba can perform when triggered. To begin, we want to choose the most obvious action, which is Robot starts.

Choose the action to control your Roomba

8) Create the action

Under the robot name, select the Roomba you want to control. That’s if you have more Roombas. Or else, the Roomba will be selected by default. Click Create action.

Create action

9) Review and finish

Finally, you can examine the created action. I suggest disabling notifications when this applet is running so that it doesn’t confuse you every time you run it. Click completion.

Shutter and action for Roomba control with Siri

Now we have created the trigger and its action. Going back to “if this, then this”, you can see that we have successfully configured an action that is activated with a trigger. If the URL “start_roomba” is triggered, start Roomba.

What remains to be done is to determine how this web browser is triggered in the first place.

10) Find the URL of the web hook

Back on the IFTTT home page, click your account in the upper right, then select My services. Click the button Webhooks section. Finally, click Documentation top right.

11) Save your secret web hook key

Now you are presented with the secret webhook key. Make sure you keep this private and do not share it with anyone.

Full of webhook

On your computer, open a new note in the Notes application and copy / paste this key.

Also, copy / paste the web request URL displayed at the top. It should look like this:

https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/{event}/with/key/guV3y5hd_XXXxxxXXXxxxXXXxxxXXX

Remember {event} section of this URL. This is the name of the event we created in step 4 above. The name of this event should be start_roomba.

12) Create your GET URL

Using your own URL that contains your secret key, replace it {event} section of the URL by start_roomba. The URL should now show:

https://maker.ifttt.com/trigger/start_roomba/with/key/guV3y5hd_XXXxxxXXXxxx

Your note should look like this:

Start roomba note URL

13) Add the Start Roomba URL to shortcuts

We will now create a new shortcut in the Shortcuts app that comes with your iPhone. This shortcut will call our URL on demand, ordering our Roomba.

Open the Shortcuts app and tap + top right icon to create a new shortcut. In the search box at the bottom, search the URL, and select URL of all available actions.

Now search Get the contents of the URL and select the action.

As you can see, the default URL provided is apple.com. We want to replace this with our own URL created in step 12, as shown below.

Create a shortcut for roomba control

Next, we can give a name to our shortcut. Touch the elliptical icon ( ) at the top right and rename this shortcut Start Roomba. You can even customize it with your own icon, if you want.

Finally, tap the Play Triangle icon at the bottom of the screen to test the shortcut. The first time you run the shortcut, you will be prompted to access maker.ifttt.com. Make sure you allow access.

When you press the button Start the Roomba shortcut, you should hear your Roomba starting in seconds.

14) Start Roomba with Siri

Now we have confirmed that the shortcut works. The last step is to test Roomba control with Siri. To do this, say “Hey Siri, start Roomba”. If you have not activated Hey Siri, you will have to press and hold the side button of the iPhone, then say “Start Roomba” when the Siri interface appears on the screen.

Start Roomba with Siri

15) More ways to control Roomba with Siri

At this time, we have only created one action to start Roomba, but as you remember from step 7 above, there are other actions that can be created for:

  • Pause Roomba
  • Resume Roomba
  • Dock Roomba
  • Stop Roomba
  • Locate Roomba

Obviously, you are more than welcome to create more actions to complete any of the above tasks. Personally, I suggest creating additional actions to pause, resume, and connect Roomba.

To create more actions, follow all the steps above. Obviously, you will not have to create another IFTTT account. You will also not need to connect your iRobot webhooks and account, as they are already connected. All you have to do is create new triggers (see step 4) for each action you want.

To summarize, you’ll essentially need to start with step 1 for each new action, but now that you’ve done most of the work, additional actions will only take a few seconds to create. And, of course, for each action, you will have to create a new shortcut.

Siri will only work with the expression you created

By default, Siri will start / stop / etc the robot only based on the shortcut you created. So you need to make sure that you tell Siri the exact name of the shortcut every time you want to run it.

You can also customize the phrase you want to use to control Roomba. So instead of saying “Start Roomba” to start the robot, you can rename the shortcut to be called “clean the house,” which is actually what I use. Instead of saying “Roomba break”, you can rename that shortcut to be called “cleaning break”. You can repeat these steps for each shortcut.

An alternative method is to double the shortcuts. In essence, you can have several identical shortcuts that have different names. They would all do the same thing, but they would trigger Siri using different key phrases.

For example, you can copy the “Start Roomba” shortcut several times. You could call one duplicate “clean the house” and the other duplicate “turn on the robot.” This way, it gives you a little flexibility in how you ask Siri to control the robot. In the end, you’ll always have to tell Siri just one command name exactly for it to work.

In conclusion, the process of creating ways for Siri to control your Roomba is quite easy and becomes easier as you add more controls to the mix. But if you have any questions about this process, feel free to comment.