New DIY Drones product preview: the PhoneDrone board for Android!


I hinted that the DIY Drones team had been working with Google on an Android-compatible RC interface board. Now that I/O is over, I can give the details. We're calling it the "PhoneDrone board for Android", and it's a way to connect any Android device (2.3.4 or higher) to the world of RC and UAVs.The board has 8 channels of RC in and out, with PWM-to-PPM conversion and multiplexing between RC and Android control. You just plug the Android's phone USB connector into the board and you have two-way communications with RC gear and any other board, such as APM.

 

That means that you can switch between RC control and Android control or mix the two. An example would be "fly/drive by wire". You steer your vehicle via RC, but an Android phone does the actual control using its onboard IMU. On a car, that would allow every turn to be a high-speed controlled drift, for instance (we may show something like that at Maker Faire).

 

Or, with a UAV, you might have the Android phone doing high-level image processing and object tracking, sending mission commands to an autopilot board such as APM. You might also want to use the phone's long-distance wireless instead of an Xbee for two-way telemetry.

 

This can either replace APM if you've got equivalent code running on Android, or compliment it with the Android device doing image processing or long-distance wireless comms.

 

Note that the pictures here are of an early prototype and some branding has been photoshopped out, pending final silkscreen approval.

 

Specs:

  • 8 Input&output PWMs
  • Native USB host master (MAX3421)
  • Native USB slave (Atmega32-au)
  • Arduino Compatible
  • Atmega2560 as main controller
  • Atmega32-u2 as FTDI substitute and PPM encoder
  • Three spare serial ports to communicate with other boards (including APM)
  • Build-in 5V-2A switched power regulator (input range 6V - 36V)
  • Build-in 3.3V LDO power regulator 
  • Android TM compatible... 
  • All Atmega2560 pins exposed.
  • High quality PCB is ROHS/lead free, Gold immersed. 
  • Dimensions: 4" x 1.6"...
It will be available in limited quantities next weekend at Maker Faire at the DIY Drones/GeekDad booth, and then available at the DIY Drones store afterwards. Target price: $99.
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Comment by broadband155 on June 19, 2012 at 4:46am

Hi all. I wanted to do what sounds like the opposite of many people here. I would like to take the ArduIMU V3's output (or another sensor board with gyro, accel and compass) and use it to replace the crappy sensors in an Android handset. This is so that the phone can play games and do AR accurately. I was thinking about an IOIO and the IMU but I am very much a learner here and my knowledge is still very basic. Any advice?

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