In this post-PC world, tablets and phones are starting to be our main devices. But what if we want to do something special with like like adding keyboards, mice, and game controllers. Google is working on a new project called the Android Open Accessory toolkit that will allow designers to use open source hardware interfaces like Arduino to connect multiple input devices to almost any Android system.
In an effort to “broaden” what defines an Android accessory, the toolkit allows you to create a network of devices from one master controller including appliances, sensors, and home entertainment system. You will be able to, for example, control your lights and thermostat via WiFi, USB, Bluetooth, and, in the future, another protocol that will work with anything electrical like appliances, lights, and thermostats.
The Arduino boards will act as reference designs for manufacturers to base their future systems on and will not appear in most finished products. However, because Google is using Arduino, hobbyists and tinkerers can connect to Android devices with a bit of coding.
The first cool implementation comes with Android@Home, a system for controlling LED lights from an Android device. This unique – and fairly exciting system – will appear at the end of the year.
The program is completely open with no NDAs, fees, or approval process.