Continuous serial in and out

I’m not a noob at programming or the arduino, but I have run into a “need” that I don’t exactly know how to phrase in a short enough sentence for a search engine or subject line, so I’m looking for suggestions on either how to get started or how to properly phrase the search to find what I want. Make sense?

What I want to do (we’re in robotics programming here) is have my netbook connected to my arduino mega which in turn will be connected to a roomba. Yup, I know, plenty of arduino/roomba pages and tutorials out there, but they all seem to be along the lines of "here’s how to make the two talk to each other now here’s a nice little dance program to load into your arduino that will make the roomba do silly stuff.

Not quite what I’m looking for. I am building a not so simple robot (aren’t we all??) with cv and speech rec and tts and all the bells and whistles. Once I get the platform working, then I can take it into my classroom and introduce my kids (high school math) to the wonderful world of ai and other wicked cool stuff (and meanwhile teach them some math ;-). Point being, a lot of what it (the robot which currently has no body but a pretty durned good brain) does requires a computer, so arduino isn’t even remotely enough. Arduino is, however, perfect for sensor input and motion control.

the question is, how do (phrase the question??) get continuous sensor input data from the ardiuno to the netbook at the same time (well, almost) as the computer sends commands to the arduino for movement based on sensor data and other (such as verbal or exploration) commands coming from the computer? Do you see what I mean? How do I do continuous streaming in and out of the arduino rather than just loading a program and walking away?

regards, Richard

Nevermind, I think I found what I'm looking for in the serial libraries. Thanks!

regards, Richard