Android debug bridge released for the Raspi

Over on the XDA developers forums, something really cool is happening. Android hacker extraordinaire [AdamOutler] has managed to port the Android Debug Bridge to the Raspberry Pi.

The Android Debug bridge allows hardware tinkerers full access to their Android device. This feature has been used to build everything from telepresence robots to connecting a MIDI keyboard to a phone. With this port of the Android Debug Bridge, anyone can take advantage of the existing hacks and hardware written around the ADB to build something completely new.

Of course, the port of the Android Debug Bridge is only useful if your Raspi is running Android. Current Android builds for the Raspberry Pi are janky at best, but the current rate of progress does look encouraging. Hopefully with the most useful Android tool ported to everyone’s favorite credit-card sized computer, the progress of the Raspi/Android builds will pick up their pace.

Face tracking with an Android device

This Android device can recognize faces and move to keep them in frame. It’s a proof of concept that uses commonly available parts and software packages.

The original motivation for the project was [Dan O's] inclination to give the OpenCV software a try. OpenCV is an Open Source Computer Vision package that takes on the brunt of the job when it comes to discerning meaning from images. To give the phone the power to move he designed and printed his own mounting brackets for the phone and a couple of hobby servos. An IOIO board connects to the Android device in order to control the motors. On the software side all [Dan] needed to do was write some code to interface the output of the OpenCV face tracking modules with the input of the IOIO. See the finished project demonstration after the jump.

This system can easily be implemented with other hardware, like this Arduino-based version we looked at earlier in the year.

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Open source Android thermostat

Put that old Android phone to good use by mounting it on the wall as a smart thermostat. This open source hardware and software project lets you replace your home’s thermostat with an Android device which adds Internet connectivity and all that comes with the increase in computing power.

The brunt of the hardware work is taken care of by using an IOIO board which makes it easy to interface any Android device with the simple hardware which switches your HVAC equipment. We’ve been waiting for the launch of the new IOIO design and if it comes in at a lower price as has been rumored that makes this project in the price range of the least expensive of programmable thermostats (assuming you already have an Android device to devote to it). Simply etch your own board to host the relays and voltage rectifier and you’re in business.

There is a client and server app, both free in the Play Store. The server runs on the wall-mounted device with the client offering control via a network connection. The features of the system are shown off quite well in the video after the break.

This sounds like a perfect use for that phone you ripped out of the pages of a magazine.

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Video Preview: New IOIO prototype

We got our hands on this prototype of the new IOIO design. It’s a breakout board that makes adding hardware to an Android device pretty easy.  [Ytai Ben-Tsvi] sent it our way, and took a bit of time to explain some of the differences between this board and the original version. You can see our video preview embedded after the break.

The size and form factor of the board remain the same, but the choice and layout of parts has changed. Most obviously, the USB-A connector is gone, replaced by a USB mini-B micro-B connector. This makes it possible to use the board as a USB-on-the-go device, or as a USB host device with the help of an adapter that will ship with the board. The JST connector is for external power. The previous revision included a footprint for it but it was never populated. There has also been an upgrade to the voltage regulation circuit, using a newer part as the switch-mode regulator.

There was a last-minute bug discovered in the layout. [Ytai] wants iron-clad 5V to ground short protection and is re-spinning the board to ensure he achieves that goal. He can’t say for sure, but as we mentioned in our previous post about the prototype, a price cut is planned. It could cut the current price of $50 down to just $30, but that won’t be decided until all of the choices have been made for the first production run.

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IOIO controller replacement for an RC truck

This RC truck can be controlled with the tip of your thumb or the tilt of a wrist. That’s thanks to the IOIO which was inserted in place of the toy’s original controller. [Exanko] made the hardware changes in order to use his Android phone as the controller. The white circle is a software joystick that acts as throttle when your thumb moves along the Y axis, and steering when it moves along the X axis. But while he was at it he also included accelerometer input as an alternative control option.

The IOIO board has a Bluetooth dongle connected to its USB port as a means of wireless communication. The dongle was hacked to accept an external antenna, thereby increasing the truck’s range. There is also some on-board flair like LEDs for lights and even a laser diode for… well we’re not sure what that’s for. Get a better look at the hardware internals in the clip after the break.

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Another Android controlled roving robot

[Sam] has been working on a cellphone controlled robot for a while now and with the launch of a few similar Kickstarter campaigns he thought it would be good to share his progress so far.

[Sam]‘s robot is controlled by an Android device with the help of an IOIO dev board. This setup provides more than enough computational power to send a robot on its merry way, and has the bonus of allowing [Sam] to connect additional sensors.

The case is designed to put the headers on the IOIO board on the outside, just above a little shelf perfect for holding a breadboard or two. With the right hardware and software setup, [Sam]‘s bot can rove around the neighborhood collecting data and sending it to a server in real time.

If you’re wondering why a tiny Android/IOIO powered sounds so familiar, it might be because of the Botiful robot we posted a few days ago. Unlike Botiful, [Sam] can only control his treaded Android bot through Bluetooth as the whole ‘programming a web interface’ is a bit over his head. Hopefully [Sam] will meet an enthusiastic coder when he brings his Arduino tank to Dorkbots Boston this evening.

You can check out a prototype of [Sam]‘s bot in action after the break.

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Telepresence robot with Skype connectivity

[Claire] sent in a project she’s been working on for the past few years. It’s called Botiful and aims to turn any Android phone into a mobile telepresence robot.

Botiful is built around the IOIO Android to Arduino dev board and provides a very clean way to interface your current cell phone with a tiny – and cute – robotic platform. The big feature of Botiful is its integration with Skype; just call a Botiful owner’s phone or tablet, and a panel pops up allowing you to control the robot, tilt the camera up and down, and even robotic yes, no, and ‘dance’ gestures.

Because Botiful is based on the IOIO, there’s a few pins available inside the bot for an I2C bus, PWM control, and even a serial output. It’s also possible to develop your own apps for Botiful, making for a neat mobile robotics platform.,

Right now, Botiful is only for Android but if [Claire] gets $100,000 out of her Kickstarter, she’s promised to add iDevice support. That seems fairly likely, as more than $60,000 has been pledged with three weeks to go. Pretty cool, and we can think of a few very useful asocial applications of the Botiful including running cable in a drop ceiling, and checking out that thing under your car.