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Opening up the Google ADK

The Google ADK Board

I thought I’d provide some details on what’s provided with the Google ADK board, and start sharing some of my experiments with it (more to come!)

First, the base board itself is an Arduino Mega 2560 with USB Host shield, pretty much identical to the official Arduino ADK board.

Google Arduino ADKArduino ADK

The Accessory Demo Shield sits on top, and provides quite a few goodies: Continue Reading →


ADK Achieved!

After finally learning the unfortunate news that my Acer Iconia Tab A500 did not support USB Accessory Mode and realizing that I wouldn’t be able to use my Google ADK or do any Android Open Accessory development, I decided to return the tablet and purchase a Motorola Xoom instead.

Well, the tablet arrived, and I eagerly plugged it in to the ADK, and it worked right away, just like it should.

ADK and Xoom running DemoKit

In addition to actually supporting Accessory mode, it’s nice to see that Motorola actively supports a development community at MOTODEV.

Now that I have a working system, it’s time to get started with accessory development. In addition to the ADK, I also have a VNC2 and I just got an IOIO from SparkFun.



Where are the Android Accessory Developers?

At the Google IO Conference in May, the Android team unveiled a few exciting features for connecting Android devices to the external world. USB Host capability, for instance, gives a device the ability to power and connect to USB input devices such as keyboards, mice, and joystick controllers. USB Accessory support, by contrast, allows the Android device to behave as an Accessory, so that another device can be the Host.  This will allow you to plug your Android device in to a piece of hardware and communicate with real-world components like sensors, motors, etc.

My ADK Kit

At IO, they also demonstrated (and gave away) the Android Development Kit, or ADK. This is an Arduino Mega board with a USB Host chip as well as an Android Demo Shield, designed by Google to demonstrate a variety of inputs and outputs. For inputs the board has 3 pushbuttons, an analog joystick, a capacitive touch sensor, a light sensor and a temperature sensor. Outputs include RGB LEDs, relays, and some custom servo outputs.

When I went to Maker Faire in late May, I managed to get my hands on one of the ADK kits. Unfortunately my phone is stuck waiting for the long upgrade cycle of Samsung and AT&T, so it’s still on version 2.2, and doesn’t support accessory mode.

Continue Reading →


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