Android Expanding USB Peripherals with Arduino as Wing Man

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Android Arduino USB ADK

A huge announcement was made at the Google I/O 2011 convention introducing a new plan to pair up Arduino with Android for better, customizable USB peripherals.  This is a huge deal because it is projected to pave the way for a whole new era of gadgets and gizmos controlled from…well, anywhere.

Arduino is a favorite of hobbyists, among others, who like to dabble in creating their own computer accessories.  Basically, it provides an open source micro-controller that allows folks to make whatever they need however they want it.

There is one catch, but it isn’t a huge one.  Arduino setups cannot be used.  However, Google is going to offer a USB micro-controller board, the appropriate software to run said board and an Android Demo Shield.  Users will still have to have the typical Windows, Linux or Mac to get up and going, but after that a 2.3.4 or 3.1 Android device can do all the work.

The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK), which is what Google has branded the new duo, consists of a couple different pieces.  The accessory controller (Arduino hardware) is one of the components and the software API is the other.  The software permits interaction between the programmer and accessory controller.  The accessory controller enables communication and connections between USB devices and the software API.

Right now, USB technology is pivotal in Google’s ADK and will most likely continue to be so.  However, they hope to further incorporate Bluetooth technology in the future as well.

The ADK is going to allow Android users to create their own accessories which can be used with their Android devices.  In other words, these accessories will be able to be controlled by a consumer’s Android device via the DemoKit Android Application.

The Android/Arduino combination is more than just a little exciting and extremely promising for Android users looking to expand what they can do with their devices.  Let’s just hope that the price, which has yet to be released, is going to be palatable to those who would have the most fun with it and the most use for it.  The release date is also undisclosed at this time.

What do you think of this Android, Arduino pair for USB function?

2 Responses to Android Expanding USB Peripherals with Arduino as Wing Man

  1. David Kerek says:

    This is amazing news. This may finally allow Android and inexpensive devices into the market place for real life application in industries like health care and construction to mention a few.

  2. Dave says:

    I think this idea has to be modified in the context of recent market changes brought about by the Raspberry Pi and Mini PC MK802. Clearly this should change the focus to android-to-android communications over the rapidly accelerating WiFi speeds. An MK802-like device with USB bus and memory for peripheral drivers under $50 ought to seal Apple’s fate and provide a lot of job growth.