Gas station without pumps

2012 March 21

IOIO, another cool physical computing project

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 22:54
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Over at Engineer Blogs, I found out about another cool project for connecting computers up with the real world—the IOIO (pronounced yo-yo):  An Interview with Ytai Ben-Tsvi, Inventor of the IOIO.

Basically, it is a $50 IO board for an Android phone, using either USB or Bluetooth connection, controllable with a Java API from an Android 1.5 or later device.  It has a PIC24F microcontroller providing 48 I/O pins, which have the usual sorts of capabilities (PWM, I2C, SPI, …).  You can use it in much the same way you would use an Arduino, except that you need an Android device to talk to it.

This is a plus and a minus, as the Android phones come with a fair amount of compute power and some powerful software (like face recognition software), but they cost a lot also, and you wouldn’t want to tie up your phone in a dedicated project (a $25 Arduino board is cheaper to embed than a phone and a $50 IOIO board).

I don’t think that the Android phone+IOIO is quite as exciting as the $35 Raspberry Pi if you need cell-phone-level compute power, but it looks like a good way to make cell-phone-controlled gadgets.

1 Comment »

  1. I met the IOIO designer at the 2013 East Bay Mini-Maker Faire (Oakland). He demonstrated a two-wheel “inverted pendulum” robot that was quite resilient to poking. He also showed an XY plotter on an inclined easel, on which the Android phone would draw its impression of any photograph it takes or receives. I was very impressed.

    The IOIO is down to $30 ( and leverages the many sensors on ever-cheaper Android phones (especially those a few generations back and now retired). Buying another Arduino shield for each sensor would likely cost more than an eBay phone. I have not purchased a IOIO and don’t have one of those retired Android phones, but when I have time to explore something Arduino-like, I intend to start with IOIO.

    Your 2014 Feb 15 post on Freedom KL26Z board ( prompted me to search your blog for IOIO and post this well after you made this entry.

    Comment by miguelaznar — 2014 February 15 @ 17:05 | Reply

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