The past year has been an exiting time for Cellbots. We’ve seen contributions from all over the globe with code submitted from Europe, Australia, South America, and multiple cities in the US. The community has continued to grow with members ranging from young students making their first robots to seasoned veterans from CMU and NASA. Now it is getting another boost with contributions from some Googlers (including myself), who used their spare 20% time to help connect Android phones with robots.
We now have our first app in the Android Market, which you can download for any Android 2.2 (Froyo) and up phone and connect with your Arduino Cellbot, iRobot Create®, VEX Pro®, or LEGO® MINDSTORMS®. It provides a quick out of the box experience you can have fun with right away just by pairing over Bluetooth. The Java app is also open source so you can hack away at adding new features and support for more platforms.
Or course we also had to focus on the Python libraries since those are what Cellbots started with. The new release significantly increases the flexibility of the stack by turning everything into components that can be extended. This makes it possible to more quickly add support for new robot types, communication methods, and features. Currently supporting the Arduino Cellbots (AVR bots), VEX Pro, and the iRobot Create, we hope to add support for LEGO MINDSTORMS soon.
If a LEGO robot is your thing and you don’t know Java or Python, the new enhancements to Google’s App Inventor for Android will be for you! This web based development environment allows you to create programs that run on your Android phone just by dragging and dropping objects in a web browser. Beyond the tight LEGO MINDSTORMS integration you can also find a generic Bluetooth API where you could write to an Arduino Cellbot, VEX Pro, or iRobot Create.
These apps give the Cellbots community a nice boost and new options to explore. We can’t wait to see what developers do from here with more onboard processing offloaded from robots to an attached phone, and even more functions further offloaded to the cloud. Get hacking and be sure to share what you build!