December 17th, 2010 | Published in Google Research
With a beer fridge stocked and music blasting, engineers from across Google—and the world—spent the month of October soldering and hacking in their 20% time to connect hobbyist and educational robots with Android phones. Just two months later we’re psyched to announce three ways you can play with your iRobot Create(R), LEGO(R) MINDSTORMS(R) or VEX Pro(R) through the cloud:
For the month of October, we invited any Googler who wanted to contribute to connect robots to Google’s services in the cloud to pool their 20% time and participate in as much of the process as they could, from design to hard-core coding.
Thanks to our hardware partners (iRobot, LEGO Group, and VEX Robotics), we never suffered a shortage of supplies. Designers flew in from London, and prototypes were passed between engineers in Tel-Aviv, Hyderabad, Zurich, Munich and California. In Mountain View, we gathered around every Thursday night, rigging up a projector against the wall to share our week’s worth of demos while chowing on pizza. And here is what we produced (so far!):
- App Inventor: Low level Bluetooth support for connecting with many serial-enabled robots, and of course tight integration with LEGO MINDSTORMS.
- Cellbots for Android: Brand new Java app from Cellbots.com, which is open source and available for free in the Android Market.
- Python library: Modularized version of the popular Cellbots project, which is all open source code.
We hope these applications provide some fun and inspire you to build upon this lightweight connectivity between robots, Android, the cloud and your browser.