Smart Phone Robots

Smart Phone 1

A robot with a smart phone for a brain (and eyes).

Our smart phone bots use a smart phone (currently Android phones) for the robots’ brains.  This has a number of advantages over the netbook bots.  Smart phones are smaller, allowing the use of smaller robot bodies that often have longer battery life.  Smart phones have more useful built-in sensors, in addition to a camera (or two) and a microphone, they have GPS, accelerometers, tilt sensors, and a compass.  All of which are (relatively) easily accessed through software.

Smart phones do have a few disadvantages.  It’s a bit trickier to have them host USB.  Android phones will do so with Open Accessory (http://developer.android.com/tools/adk/index.html), but only to some microcontrollers.   iPhones won’t host USB at all.  To avoid the USB difficulties we have been using a spinal cord/microcontroller that is Bluetooth enable and communicate via Bluetooth.  The programming environments available for smart phones is more limited than with a netbook, but this is rapidly changing as more languages and IDEs become available.

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One Response to Smart Phone Robots

  1. Droid Stars says:

    That’s a very cool smartphone bot you have there but I think you can do some more things to refine the design. All those visible wires hurt eyes, you know.

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