SparkFun’s Electric Sheep: For The Android-Obsessed Tinkerer In You

If you think about it, your smartphone has some really nifty bits lodged inside of it. There’s a GPS chip in there, not to mention an accelerometer, and occasionally even (gasp!) a compass. The folks at SparkFun want to take all of those components and expose them to the outside world, and they intend to do it with a little something called the Electric Sheep.

The Electric Sheep is a little Arduino-based breakout board that allows users to create their own homebrew accessories and hook them up to an Android device.

Want to open your blinds in the morning without having to get out of bed? Rig up some motors and pulleys and make it happen. Want to get ambitious and create a Rube Goldberg-esque monstrosity that will turn on your coffee machine when you tilt your phone? Have at it.

Of course, rigging together your own Android-powered window blind controller will take more than just IO know-how. Users should also be familiar with writing Android applications, so it’s appeal may be a bit limited right out of the gate. That may soon change though — the Electric Sheep’s recent release means that there isn’t much in the way of example projects or code yet, but SparkFun doesn’t think it’ll be long before their community starts to do some crazy things with it.

So why would aspiring accessory craftsmen use the Electric Sheep instead of a bog-standard Arduino? Well, aside from the snazzy red color scheme and cute logo, the Electric Sheep has built-in USB host functionality so users don’t have to shell out for an extra USB Host Shield.

It may not hold much appeal if you’re already knee deep in Arduino bits (though the Electric Sheep is compatible with most of them), but it’s a nifty all-in-one kit that could help take your DIY ambitions over the top. Happy hacking!