Arduino and Mobile Phone Projects

Using a mobile device to interface with Arduino

Close-Up Of Arduino On Table

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The Arduino platform offers the tantalizing promise of an interface between computers and everyday objects. The technology also comes with an energetic community of enthusiasts who have extended and applied the functionality of Arduino in many new and exciting ways, allowing for hardware hacking to match the old notion of software hacking. One such extension of Arduino is in the mobile space, and there are now a number of interfaces that allow for control of Arduino from a mobile device. Here are a few examples of projects that are integrating Arduino with mobile devices.

Arduino and Android

The relatively open platform of Android devices makes it a great candidate for easily integrating with Arduino. The Android platform allows for a direct connection to the Arduino ADK via use of the Processing language, which is related to the Wiring language that forms the basis of the Arduino interface. Once connected, the android phone can be used to control all of the functions of the Arduino, from controlling an attached LED, to a finer control of relays or home appliances.

Arduino and iOS

Given the nature of iOS with respect to low-level control, connecting Arduino to your iOS device can be a little more challenging than for Android. Maker Shed produced a Redpark breakout pack that allowed for a direct cable connection between an iOS device and Arduino, but it's unclear whether a compatible version will be produced for the new connectors that have been introduced on iOS devices. Despite this, there may be the potential for other modes of connection, such as via the headphone jack, and a number of online resources discuss this.

Arduino Cellular Shield

A more direct way that Arduino can become mobile capable itself is with the addition of a cellular shield. This GSM/GPRS shield attaches directly to the Arduino breakout board and accepts an unlocked SIM card. The addition of a cellular shield can allow to Arduino to make and receive SMS messages, and some cellular shields will allow the Arduino to make the full range of voice functions, effectively turning the Arduino into a home-made cell phone. Perhaps the era of home-brew mobile devices is not far off.

Arduino and Twilio

Another mobile interface that can be integrated with Arduino is Twilio. Twilio is a web interface that connects out to telephony services, so an Arduino connected to a computer can be controlled using voice or SMS messages. An example of this in action is via this project, in which Arduino and Twilio is used in conjunction with electrical devices to provide home automation that is controllable by web or SMS.

Arduino and Web Interfaces

One of the easiest ways to integrate Arduino with a mobile device is if the mobile device is web capable. The Arduino IDE is readily integrated with a number of web interfaces with minimal programming expertise, but for those in search of a more ready-made solution, a number of libraries exist. The Webduino interface is a simple Arduino web server library for use with an Arduino and ethernet shield. Once a web application is hosted on the Webduino server, the Arduino can be controlled from a mobile device that is connected to the Internet.

The previous examples offer only a brief taste at the projects that are integrating Arduino with mobile devices, but given the popularity of both platforms, it's very likely the potential for integration between the two will only grow over time.