Android Open Accessory Development Kit

Google announced on Tuesday a new feature of the Android operating system called Android @ Home. This framework and associated functions promise to transform an Android device into a home automation controller that connects and directs all of the devices and appliances in the user’s home: gaming consoles, lighting, appliances, irrigations systems and anything else developers can envision. Looks somewhat interesting. Why does it matter that Google has put out a little widget that will let people control fans and LEDs using Android?

Google Releases The Android Open Accessory Toolkit For Adding Devices To Tablets And Phones. The Android 3.1 platform (also backported to Android 2.3.4) introduces Android Open Accessory support, which allows external USB hardware (an Android USB accessory) to interact with an Android-powered device in a special “accessory” mode. Android Open Accessory Development Kit will allow designers to use open source hardware interfaces like Arduino to connect multiple input devices to almost any Android system.

There is one limitation in adding Arduino board to Android device: Many previously released Android-powered devices are only capable of acting as a USB device and cannot initiate connections with external USB devices. Android Open Accessory support overcomes this limitation and allows you to build accessories that can interact with an assortment of Android-powered devices by allowing the accessory initiate the connection. A library based on the Arduino USB Host Shield library provides the logic for the USB micro-controller board to act as a USB Host. This allows the board to initiate transactions with USB devices and provide 500mA at 5V for charging power. A USB micro-controller board that is based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs (now referred to as the ADK board).


Android USB accessories are specifically designed to attach to Android-powered devices and adhere to a simple protocol (Android accessory protocol) that allows them to detect Android-powered devices that support accessory mode.

The Arduino boards will act as reference designs for manufacturers to base their future systems on. Because Google is using Arduino, hobbyists and tinkerers can connect to Android devices with a bit of coding. Rope in a powerful and well-loved hacking partner (Arduino) and you buy yourself not only a healthy platform but a healthy community. This looks really interesting.


  1. Tomi says:

    Why Google Choosing Arduino Matters and is This the End of “Made for iPod” (TM)?

    “Products and technologies to be featured at I/O include App Engine, Android, Google Web Toolkit, Google Chrome, HTML5, AJAX and Data APIs, Google TV, and more.” Maybe not so much Google TV or Google Wave this year :) but for open hardware and mobile folks, this was one of the most important weeks in history.”

    “In this week’s column, I’m going to talk about Google choosing the open source hardware platform (Arduino) for the “Android Open Accessory” kit, and why this matters”

    “Besides there being about 200,000 Arduino “in the wild,” I estimate there are about half a million people somehow doing something with the Arduino”

    “So with millions of phones out there and Google looking to make it dead simple to develop accessories, what easy-to-use, sensor-ready, open source platform has enough umpf to get this party started? Arduino”

    “The Android 3.1 platform (also backported to Android 2.3.4) introduces Android Open Accessory support, which allows external USB hardware (an Android USB accessory) to interact with an Android-powered device in a special “accessory” mode”

  2. Tomi says:

    Rumors abound with regard to Google’s Android@Home

    I know the secret wireless protocol that was used in Google’s recent Android@Home demonstration…

    All of which brings us to Android@Home, which was announced at the recent Google I/O Conference.

    Day One Keynote Presentation on YouTube. About 43 minutes into the presentation they started talking about something called Android@Home.

    But what is the wireless protocol in question? For some reason no one seems to be talking. For example, in a recent Technology Insight post titled Google’s Android@Home and the Impact on the Home Automation Market that appeared on the ABI Research website, author Sam Lucero, Practice Director, M2M Connectivity refers to “The as-yet-to-be-named wireless protocol announced along with the Framework…”

    Call me “slow” if you wish, but it took me quite a while before light eventually dawned and I said: “It’s you, isn’t it?” This was followed by more mumbling from their end. Eventually I decided to take the bull by the horns and called Synapse CEO Wade Patterson. When I asked if he could confirm or deny that SNAP was the protocol in question, there was a long, thoughtful pause; then Wade said “Well, I’m not going to deny it.”

    Synapse SNAP: Internet-enabled, IEEE 802.15.4-based, auto-forming ..

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Android 3.1 devices have USB host mode. Here’s how to use it.

    With the coming of Android 3.1 you finally have the option of using the device as a USB host. This may be through a USB OTG (On-the-Go) adaptor, but nonetheless it’s a feature which was sorely missed until now. [Manuel] put together a guide on using Android as a USB host. As you can see, his example hardware is an Arduino board but this is applicable with just about any device.

    The tutorial implements a test app for the Android device where a slider will set the brightness of the Arduino’s on-board LED.

    Android USB Host + Arduino: How to communicate without rooting your Android Tablet or Phone

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Another way to built android accessory:

    Gadget Freak Case #213: Android Brings the Mirror to Life

    Al Linke has created an interactive mirror that can be activated with an Android phone. While the number of applications is potentially unlimited, Linke has created a handful of games that are available through Google Play (formerly known as Android Market).

    You can play Magic 8 Ball — the kids’ game where you ask questions — or Verbage, an app that displays random words on the mirror, or you can stream a portion of your phone’s camera onto the mirror.

    This project uses the IOIO microcontroller, Bluetooth Dongle and LED RGB 16 x 32 Matrix.

    Controlling is done with Android Phone (2.3.3 or above if using Bluetooth).

    The source code and video:

    Build instructions:

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Gadget Freak Case #214: Radio Touch Sensors Talk to the Smartphone

    Matt Oppenheim has developed a radio that speaks to an Android smartphone. He designed the gadget to help the visually impaired learn the layout of a new device. Push a button on the radio, and it speaks its function.

    Oppenheim took an Arduino Uno, touch-sensor shields, and a USB shield and connected them to a Nexus One Android phone.

    He added the audio-enhanced touch sensors to the radio. When a control is touched, the phone plays an audio tag describing the function.

    Once the ADK tool kit came out, which allows Android phones to be hosted by a microcontroller, I had all of the pieces to implement the idea.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Samsung open sources Galaxy S3 source code
    Impressive turnaround

    SMARTPHONE VENDOR Samsung has open sourced its Android 4.0 operating system implementation found on its Galaxy S3 smartphones.

    The firm has open sourced its Android operating system source code less than a week after launching the device.

    Samsung has released 180MB of source code for Samsung Galaxy S3 units with the model number GT-I9300.

    With Samsung open sourcing its code, third party Android developers can incorporate parts of its Touchwiz interface into their distributions.

    Android distributions such as Cyanogenmod have proved popular with those who want to wipe mobile operator bloated Android installations.

    Samsung’s decision not to hang around open sourcing its Android code is very welcome and should be a lesson to others. Also Samsung’s actions highlight that revenue generation is not hampered by open sourcing code, despite what some companies might try to lead you to believe.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ATmega2560 Mega ADK R3 Module w/ USB for Arduino – Black

    The Android 3.1 platform (also backported to Android 2.3.4) introduces Android Open Accessory support, which allows external USB hardware (an Android USB accessory) to interact with an Android-powered device in a special accessory mode. When an Android-powered powered device is in accessory mode, the connected accessory acts as the USB host (powers the bus and enumerates devices) and the Android-powered device acts as the USB device

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Android debug bridge released for the Raspi

    Over on the XDA developers forums, something really cool is happening. Android hacker extraordinaire [AdamOutler] has managed to port the Android Debug Bridge to the Raspberry Pi.

    The Android Debug bridge allows hardware tinkerers full access to their Android device. This feature has been used to build everything from telepresence robots to connecting a MIDI keyboard to a phone. With this port of the Android Debug Bridge, anyone can take advantage of the existing hacks and hardware written around the ADB to build something completely new.

  9. darmowe dziwki says:

    I use Micron ink pens as well. I was a little nervous about them, because like you I have shaky hands, but it’s just something you’ve got to put aside. If all else, you can take it into Photoshop and touch up your mistakes. One thing that’s really important for me to remember — don’t smear the ink! I have a bad habit of inking large dark patches and not waiting for them to dry, and then I smear them. One trick I’ve found is to put a post it note over the freshly inked area, so that I can work on other areas without worrying about smearing (too much). Different papers will react to the ink in different ways — some are shinier but smear more easily, some absorb the ink better but then aren’t as vibrant. You just have to play around.

  10. Google Arduino based IoT « Tomi Engdahl’s ePanorama blog says:

    [...] Google has history on using Arduino platform for different applications, good earlier example of that is Android Open Accessory Development Kit. [...]

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