November 13, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
You hear a lot about app, kernel, and ROM development in the Android development community, and XDA is no exception. However, that’s not all you can do. We’ve discussed it before, but you can do hardware modifications and development with Android and Google’s Accessory Development Kit (ADK).
In this episode, XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler shows off how to make a “keyboard” for your Android device. Using an Arduino-like board, a USB cable, and some code, he creates a button that when pressed will type whatever message you have programmed for the button. So if you wanted to know more about hardware hacking, Arduino development, or just want to see what cool project AdamOutler is working on, check out this video.
June 19, 2013 By: Jimmy McGee
From HTML to LEDs or Android to Arduino, Hardware Hacking is a pastime of many people including XDA Elite Recognized Developer AdamOutler. Another hardware enthusiast is Pearl Chen. When working on something, she takes on a cross-disciplinary approach. With over 9 years of professional experience in web technologies, Pearl has a body of work that includes Facebook campaigns for Google Chrome and microsites for Nike. Pearl also tackles more unusual jobs such as modifying the guts of Nintendo Wii controllers and dynamically creating origami objects from SMS messages.
Alongside contributing to open source educational resources hosted on Github, Pearl is a published author and contributed the NFC and Open Accessory API chapters to Professional Android Sensor Programming. Pearl enjoys building tools for other educators and her goal is to raise the bar for technology education by using collaborative platforms to help construct open source curriculums and by creating engaging and effective educational user experiences.
With this impressive resume, we invited Pearl to speak at XDA:DevCon 2013. In her session, Pearl will talk about near field communications or NFC. So quit waiting for Google Wallet to come to your local retailer, or for the next rumored iPhone with built-in mobile payment to ship, because NFC is already here. This technology can be used for much more than waving your phone at the cash register. Pearl with show you some unexpected ways that NFC can be utilized on Android phones (and other NFC-enabled devices) that go beyond the checkout line.
April 20, 2013 By: Mike Szczys
If you’re the kind of person who likes to tinker with the lower levels of Android devices, I think you’re going to love this project. XDA Senior Member Kemonine96 came up with a design he calls the Universal Arduino Serial Adapter. As the name implies, it uses an Arduino board to connect to a serial interface on your target device. The project is still in its infancy, but this image of the working electronics shows off the LCD screen, joystick, and pair of buttons that make up the interface.
There are several ways to connect the serial adapter to your devices. Kemonine included a micro USB connector so that you can monitor the serial terminal on an Android device, but that’s not the only way to patch into a system. He also has an RJ-45 connector (Ethernet jack) that allows him to patch in expansion boards like the one in the photo in order to connect a regular serial cable. Once connected and configured, the rig acts as a bridge between the terminal on your computer and the target device. This displays incoming information on your computer’s terminal, and pushes your typed commands back to the device.
A respectable set of features have been built into the design. Possibly the best part is that it is 5V, 3.3V and 1.8V tolerant to work with a wide range of devices. And of course the communication protocol (baud rate, etc.) can be tweaked using the screen and user controls. Right now, there are some character dropping issues when driven at 115200 baud, but it sounds like those can eventually be worked out in the code. After I sent a PM to Kemonine asking for more details he posted a set of unedited demo videos which you might find interesting.
Visit his project thread for more information.
April 16, 2013 By: Mike Szczys
Hobby electronics enthusiasts will be happy to learn of the arrival of an Arduino IDE for Android, which includes support for uploading sketches to the popular microcontroller development boards. ArduinoDroid hit Google Play a few days ago, and I gave it a whirl as soon as I had the chance.
The APK is small and installs quickly, with the bulk of the package being downloaded when you first open the app. This second download contains the SDK, which takes up about 100 MB on your SD card when all is said and done. From there, you’ll be greeted with the main window where your sketch will be displayed. But if you’re not good at starting from line one, don’t fret. The code examples and support libraries you’re accustomed to finding in the desktop IDE are available through the file menu of the app. One thing I’m really happy that Anton Smirnov included is syntax highlighting in the editor. You may not be interested in writing a huge sketch on your phone, but if you know you have a bug and will have some time to kill, you can load up the code and slog through it line by line later.
To load the code onto your Arduino board, you’ll need an Android device that support USB On-The-Go (OTG). At this point, I’m a little confused by which boards are supported as there is conflicting information. The introduction page of Anton’s website mentions that so far it only programs FTDI-based boards, but the app has configuration settings that include the whole family right up to the Leonardo.
This screenshot shows that the free app is ad- supported with the option to pay for ad removal. Once the ad space is combined with an open keyboard, there’s almost no room to see the code area on a 7″ tablet in landscape orientation. But I figure if you’re doing any serious code work on it you might as well be using an external keyboard anyway. To get started, visit the ArduinoDroid Google Play listing.