Official Android Open Accessory Development Kit – It’s An Arduino

A new development kit for android was unveiled at the Google I/O 2011 developer conference that officially supports the Arduino.

It looks like Google took a cue from Circuits@Home, because the interesting part of this dev kit is the fact that the shield can be put into USB Host mode. That’s great for phones and tablets that can’t act as a USB host themselves. Google will also release the APIs for this Android/Arduino mashup for 3.1, but it will thankfully be backported to Gingerbread.

We covered the IOIO breakout board for Android last month, but the Google board will be based off of the Arduino Mega 2560, a far more capable device. Interestingly, it appears this board is available now for about $400 USD. We’re not so sure a hobbyist will be buying it at that price.

While this board doesn’t do anything you couldn’t do before with a bluetooth shield, it’s great to see a company supporting all the builders out there.

Machining Replacement Parts With Hand Tools

Jeff is a huge music fan, and like many of us likes old technology, so it seemed a bit silly (to him) that he did not have a turn table. His dad had a spare in the basement. A neat old Braun model from the 1970’s that was broken.

Opening the unit up he found that part of the arm mechanism was broken, and thanks to the age of the turntable and the wonders of mass production chances of finding a replacement were slim to none. Not being discouraged he busted out the hand tools and fabricated the replacement out of some aluminum. The end result is a perfectly functioning turntable that will serve many more hours pushing out warm jams.

Check out the fourm post above to get details and pictures, and we just wanted to tell [Jeff], awesome job!

Arduino Magnetic Core Memory Shield


Magnetic core memory turns 60 years old today, and as a tribute [Ben North and Oliver Nash] have created a 32-bit magnetic core memory board for the Arduino.

Magnetic core memory was used from the 1950s through the 1970s, and provided a non-volatile means for storing data, as each magnetic core retained its orientation, even when the power was cut. While it sounds a lot like a modern hard drive, these devices were used in the same fashion as RAM is utilized today.

While the pair used surplus ferrite cores manufactured just before magnetic memory stopped being produced, they did allow themselves to use some modern components. Items such as transistors and logic gates were not available to the first magnetic core memory manufacturers, but the use of these items helped them complete the project in a reasonable amount of time.

Their final result is a magnetic memory board which can be used by any USB-enabled device and is reliable enough to withstand billions of read/write transactions.