Android Open Accessory API and Development Kit

A co-worker was lucky enough to be invited to Google IO this year to promote our Lozzal Android app. That went great but while there, he snagged me one of the Android Open Accessory API and Development Kits (ADK)! Though he got to keep the sweet, sweet tablet which kills my idea of a home automation panel on the kitchen wall.

I’m pretty excited about the Android ADK, especially since it’s based on one of the Maker’s favourite platform—Arduino. If you’re not sure why this is so awesome, I suggest reading the Makezine post on Why Google Choosing Arduino Matters. I looked into building external devices with iOS a few moths back but quickly discovered Apple requires special chipsets–which can’t be easily obtained by little indy hardware developers like myself. Now, with an easily accessible platform and relatively cheap hardware components, I have lots of projects I want to dive right into.

For those that didn’t get one, here’s a quick demo of what the Android ADK hardware includes (Sorry about the audio, didn’t have a mic):

Included in the kit:

  • A USB micro-controller board that is based on the Arduino Mega2560
  • Android Accessory demo Shield
    • Joystick
    • 3 Buttons
    • 3 RGB LEDs
    • Temperature Sensor
    • Light Sensor
    • Capacitive touch sensor
    • 2 relays (24 VOC, 1A max)
    • 2 servos (though the board has three connectors)
  • AC Adapter
  • USB cable

Before creating this demo video I only spent about 10 min installing and setting up the Arduino software, Android ADK components and the DemoKit app on the phone. The initial setup is quite easy and you can be playing in minutes.

My only complaint (if you can call it that) is it would have been awesome to have more IO sensors, maybe IR (tv remote!), sound, or NFC on there. I guess it’s time I investigate all the other great Arduino shields and see what else I can do.