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Development of an Android Service

Development of an Android Service

The world is currently witnessing a revolution in the Internet of Things (IoT) field. It is predicted that one day, our everyday life’s objects will embed a computer. These devices collaborate to make all tasks as simple as possible, which is the ultimate objective of IoT. In this context, and with electronics and computer Science being one of the key skills in this field, there is a focus on lowering the entry level to these two fields, enabling a wider audience to learn the basic concepts at an early age. Different products are proposed, that simplify whether Electronics or programming tasks, however, a combination of both merely exists. The paper presents an initiative to simplify the programming task that consists of developing an Android service that integrates commands to control an electrical board called IOIO, which can be controlled via Android using Bluetooth. The service can be called by the App Inventor platform to add IOIO hardware features. With this integration, the developed Android apps can control the electrical board and electrical components connected to it. All of this without technical knowledge, which opens the way for easy prototyping of embedded systems. CodeShoppy

IoT promises to revolutionize the world in the near future, its objective is to simplify different fields, we cite robotics, electronics, programming as the most popular ones. Thanks to the recent advances in technology and the wider access to internet, IoT applications are flourishing, some are at the experimental stage such as Moti [1] or in their final form like Ikea TV furniture [2], Blue peer [3] and Tokyo Ubiquitous project in Ginza [4]. In order to create similar products, the first step is to create working prototypes. Unfortunately, when electronics and programming are required skills, only a few set of experts are eligible to perform this task, the others are scared away. This is why different products have emerged that aim to simplify these two fields and make them accessible for a larger audience even if they don’t have a technical background. Mainly Arduino [5], Raspberry Pi [6] and few other boards [7] have done a good job in providing easier access to electronics and simplifying it a little, yet there is still room on the SW side for improvement especially that programming skills are still required. This paper is organized as follows: after having an overview of some existing projects, and highlighting the need for a combination of a platform that both simplifies HW and SW, the authors present their initiative in order to simplify the programming tasks for the IOIO electrical board. Then, they present the big picture of the designed system. After that, they present the steps of implementing the Android IOIO service in order to communicate with App Inventor App. After that, a demo is presented highlighting the different tasks that were made easier thanks to the developed service. Screenshots are presented, demonstrating the successful deployment of the developed App in a smartphone.

 Development of an Android Service

Several startups strive to produce better platforms that can be used to build prototypes and are easy enough for beginners. The next section presents a fraction of the offered products. A.Frindo: Frindo is an open source platform for mobile robotics, it integrates a various electronic controls such as Arduino, Raspberry PI…. This platform is ideal to start with simple robot application for beginners and it can be extended later with other modules to develop advanced projects. This makes it a potential platform for education and research projects [8]. The platform has motors to control the platform movement, it has also a couple of different sensors that can be used to acquire data that will treated whether with Arduino, Raspberry PI or another MCU based board. It has al²so mounting location for the main components and the chassis can be drilled to add different controllers and accessories B.Bo and Yana: Bo and Yana are two robot manufactured by Play-i Company [9], these robots aim to generate awareness among preschooler and initiate them to coding, they don’t really master programming but will get an idea about programming concepts which will have a significant impact on their future especially that demands for coding are raising a lot.The robots are designed to stimulate kids’ curiosity and encourage them to explore while learning problem solving and logical thinking. These robots can be controlled through a mobile device over the Bluetooth protocol, they incorporate a dozen of sensors (distance, sound, infrared…) C.Particle.IO: Particle.IO (old branded as spark core IO) is a hardware company that manufactures low-cost chips that are easier to control and provide a large set of features. [10] The particularity of these devices is that they are WIFI-enabled, making it possible for developed projects to access all the internet’s data and control these devices everywhere in the world, it is like a small computer, but can just run one application at the time (firmware). To program these devices, the company provides a web-interface programming tool, so it is possible to create programs from any internet-enable device. However, technical knowledge about programming is still required to be able to create functional prototypes. Particle.IO provides also an iOS SDK to allow iOS application to interact with particle.IO devices and control them D.Code.org: Code.org is a worldwide initiative that aims to reduce to gap between programming and beginners, in this context, a non-profit group released code studio, a programming platform based on graphical blocks, it aims to get students interested in the programming concepts and master its basics, starting for kindergarten going to high school students. [11] This platform is quite similar to scratch [12] and app inventor [13] in terms of concept and objectives, an addition to this platform is that it provides an interface for teachers to monitor their students and see their progress in a lesson, making it ideal for in the education field to manage classes and coordinate lessons across different grades.

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