Let's Make Robots!

Android phone as a controller

Hello there :)

I'm on the edge of purchasing an android phone. Looking at specifications around i thought: "Hey but this is the perfect controller for a robot!!" It has an incredible inventory of useful stuff: gps, compass for navigation, wifi, bluetooth and cellular for communication, huge screens for UI, speaker for talking, plenty of cpu, camera, easily programmable, and so on, all packed in a small package, all low power! And all for as less as $200! What do you want more ??

There's only a drawback: there's no simple way to phisically connect a device to peripherals :(

Practically all android phones lack any kind of serial, spi or i2c connection. They have USB but client only.

Anyone know of some hack to resolve the issue ? I tought of opening the phone and try to identify an i2c bus, but it's a little too invasive :) some hack on the USB? Some SPI ?

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try cellbots.com they use android phones for their robots

yes but they use the Android G1 wich has a specific hack, afaik

which phone are you going for?

might be possible to find out if the same access is possible on other phones


currently the Acer Liquid. i've searched around but found no help.. In general, i whould have said the android hacking community was enormous, but i fund very few useful sites around

Is there any way to put in my htc diamond android and then use this to interface it with my arduino

http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9167 ???

i'm not sure, but it could be. Try to read this instructable:



it's for the G1 but it's still HTC, maybe it's valid for you diamon too.

Don't forget to post your results if you try :)

yes but how im going to put in my htc diamond android so to test if it works this thing???

there's no simple way to phisically connect a device to peripherals

Why get tied down to physical? get a buletooth transceiver and communicate with the phone wireless-ly with an MCU!

well that would surely work, but it's not very optimal, you have to purchase a bluetooth mcu (usually not very cheap), and two blueteeth consume extra battery to communicate across a couple of inches

You can get bluetooth I2C or SPI interfaced transceivers for very cheap, since he only needs little range he can get the lowest power ones, Ebay, RS232 is easily interfaced with any micro controller, don't get the USB ones!

If you look around you probably find cheaper ones :)


EDIT: If you do get to interface USB with an MCU, nothing will beat this: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.11866, that's less that 2$ and free shipping!