Android phones not just for phoning – now come as robots

Earlier this week Google open-sourced a project entitled “Cellbots”, a project to bring Android phones into the arena as robot controlling systems.

The project started life as one of Google’s famous “20% projects”, and is now available in 3 incarnations to bring the code to life on your devices. You can either use a module in Google App Inventor, in the Cellbots Android app, or as a Python library. App Inventor is a web-based development environment designed to allow anybody to quickly and easily start building Android apps (you can load apps from App Inventor on to an Android phone via a small Java applet that launches); and the Cellbots application is already available in the Android Market.

The API supports the iRobot Create, Lego Mindstorms and VEX Pro robot platforms through low-level bluetooth support added to the platform. There are a wide range of functions and operations already built in, and with App Inventor support there is a pretty much endless set of possibilities for creating web-controlled robots and more.

There’s loads of getting started tips and ideas on the Google Group, and more on the official Google Code blog and Google Research site.

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