USB On-The-Go (OTG) is one of the fun aspects of the USB standard. There are feelings about the other aspects, but that one is alright. Regardless, [Francesco] realized one day that the £3 digital picture frames he purchased at a charity sale really didn’t care if the files on the thumb drive mysteriously changed all the time. It would just keep pulling and displaying the latest file at a blistering 0.2 frames per second. That’s right, the concept [Francesco] went after is to show changing data, even animations, with an update of one frame every five seconds!
His initial tests showed good for the concept — the Pi can easily emulate a mass storage device, feeding in data whenever the picture frame looks for it. In addition to the Pi Zero board he added an Ethernet shield, a voltage regulator, a camera, and even some infrared LEDS. We suppose there are dreams for the future.
He has been developing scripts for this rig by logging in through a VNC. A cron job runs his scripts at regular intervals, grabbing useful data and making it available as an image. For example, one script opens up the weather in Epiphany (a web browser), takes a screenshot, and saves that screenshot to the mass storage being emulated using USB OTG. The digital picture frame blissfully updates, unaware of its strange appendages. Now the real limiting factor is how much you can accomplish with your mad Bash skills.
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.
Continue reading “Video Preview: New IOIO prototype”
[Cosimo Orlando] has a Motorola Xoom tablet. It’s an Android device that works great as a tablet, but can double as a Laptop when you need it to by adding a keyboard. The problem he was having is that the USB On-The-Go cables that he tried were never the right size or orientation. So he scavenged them for parts and built his own flat cable for a custom fit.
The final product pictured here actually uses protoboard to give the body some strength. [Cosimo] first laid out the dimensions on the substrate using a felt-tipped pen. He then took connectors from his mis-sized commercial cables and affixed them to the board with a combination of hot glue and solder. From there, just connect the five data lines and ground with some jumper wire and test for continuity. He finished this off with what he calls ‘adhesive plastic glossy black’ shaped to make a decent looking case. If you have any idea what product was used here, let us know by leaving a comment.
When we first saw [Jeffrey Nelson]’s G1 based robot we immediately wondered what the transport for the controls was. The G1‘s hardware supports USB On-The-Go, but it’s not implemented in Android yet. It turns out he’s actually sending commands by using DTMF tones through the headphone adapter. The audio jack is connected to a DTMF decoder that sends signals to the bot’s Arduino. He wrote client/server code in Java to issue commands to the robot. You can find that code plus a simple schematic on his site. A video of the bot is embedded below.
Continue reading “Forknife, Android G1 controlled robot”