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 lets users create an interface between computers and everyday objects, allowing for some inventive hardware hacking. Although the Arduino IDE works only on Windows, Mac, or Linux, there are a number of interfaces available for controlling Arduino with a phone or tablet. Here are a few examples of ways that Arduino can be integrated with mobile devices.

Information in this article applies broadly to different versions of the Arduino hardware. Older versions may not be compatible with newer mobile operating systems.

How to Get an Arduino Phone Interface

The Arduino playground contains numerous tutorials and information about how to interface with hardware using Arduino. Two programs it recommends for developing mobile interfaces are pfodApp and Annikken Andee. The former is exclusively for Android, but the latter is compatible with iOS. Neither option requires any extensive mobile programming experience.

Arduino and Android

The relatively open platform of Android devices makes them great candidates for integration 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 device.

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. The Redpark breakout pack allows for a direct cable connection between older iOS devices and Arduino, but if you have a newer iPhone or iPad, you must set up a wireless connection between the iOS device and Arduino via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Arduino Cellular Shields

Another way to make Arduino mobile-friendly is to use a cellular shield. GSM/GPRS shields attach directly to the Arduino breakout board and accept unlocked SIM cards. The addition of a cellular shield can allow Arduino to make and receive SMS messages, and some cellular shields enable a full range of voice functions, effectively turning the Arduino into a home-brew cell phone.

Arduino and Twilio

Another mobile interface that can be integrated with Arduino is Twilio. Twilio is a web interface that connects to telephone services, so an Arduino connected to a computer can be controlled using voice or SMS messages. For example, Arduino and Twilio can be used in conjunction with appliances and other electronics to provide home automation that is controllable by web or SMS.

Arduino and Web Interfaces

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, for example, 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 any mobile device that is connected to the internet.