One of the projects featured at the Mini Maker Faire was Ytai Ben-Tsvi’s IOIO, an Android hardware accessory kit that predated the Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK), and is a bit simpler to use: there’s no need to do any programming on the microcontroller, you can load firmware updates from the Android phone, and the Android programming side is pretty darn easy, too. On top of that, the IOIO supports a lot more phones than the ADK does: while the ADK requires Android 2.3.4 or greater, the IOIO will talk to a phone as old as the G1!
Until recently, the IOIO had one of the same major limitations that the (ADK) had: not only did the Android device need to plug into the board, but the board had to supply enough current to charge the phone.
I interviewed Ytai during the Mini Maker Faire, and as you can see in the video above, you can sidestep that limitation with the Ytai’s awesome hack: unplug the phone, connect a previously-paired USB Bluetooth dongle (the same kind you’d plug into a computer to Bluetooth-enable it), and the phone and IOIO just start talking to each other. Pretty amazing.
And there’s one more thing: SparkFun’s Aaron Weiss gave us a sneak peek at their upcoming ADK board for Android: the Electric Sheep. That’s in the video, too, starting around 5:43.