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Controlling a Robot From a Smartphone's Headphone Jack

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the hypnotic-control dept.

Robotics 94

RedEaredSlider passes along this excerpt about what looks like a smart advance in controlling hobbyist robots:"The concept is quite simple: put a wheeled chassis on a smart phone or iPod Touch that allows for using the device as the 'brain.' But that simplicity is what makes the robot, called Romo, powerful. Since the controls are contained entirely within the phone, they can be downloaded as apps. One can add new physical capabilities to Romo -– a claw, or a scoop -– but that doesn't require any new additions to the phone. Also, the controls are through the headphone jack. That simplifies the design and means that the robot doesn't need to be linked with only one brand of smart phone."

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Slow night? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107658)

Slow night?

Re:Slow night? (2)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107792)

I can just see all the old Commodore 64 nerds dusting off their old tape recorders and interfacing using audio tones.

Sinclair from futurama might just be just around the corner.

Re:Slow night? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108358)

I was wondering how this was different than when folks were sending information over a phone line via modem. Other than the obvious fact that they're using a sound jack rather than a modem.

MMMMMMMM... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107660)

...odem.

Audio jack to get a standard connector? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107664)

Why not use micro-USB instead of the audio connector?

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107676)

Audio is a universal interface, all one needs is a good enough sound card to modulate it (even crappy onboard ones in smart phones are good enough for that these days).

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107816)

How does it work? Is there something on the robot that detects pulses of a certain frequency and/or length and interprets them along the lines of "Aha! F#, 33 milliseconds. Stopping."?

I wonder what would happen if you played music into it?

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107824)

You'll need to do some kind of demodulation and signal processing on the robot end of the link. As for music, it depends on how they are doing their modulation and stuff. if one does it right one can filter off the music, but I expect they aren't even considering that kind of stuff.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107852)

My brother had a toy car that was controlled by a kind of clicker. It would dance to certain records - that was what made me think of music.

Just plug a microphone in & control it with a whistle or bugle calls ;-)

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108366)

Polar has been using a similar system for their heart rate monitors for years. I played around with it, but it tends to be a pain and from what I've observed I think it has issues dealing with the Doppler effect. The only way I could get the data to transmit accurately would by by setting both the mic and the watch down to work.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112274)

Polar has been using a similar system for their heart rate monitors for years. I played around with it, but it tends to be a pain and from what I've observed I think it has issues dealing with the Doppler effect. The only way I could get the data to transmit accurately would by by setting both the mic and the watch down to work.

Yeah, had one of those too. The polar SonicLink was very temperamental indeed. You had to have your speakers set just right to send data to the watch, and set the watch in exactly the right position in front of the mic. Their IR interface was much better although the IR dongle they sold was expensive.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108524)

One way to do this is via DTMF. There's a very easy to use DTMF decoder chip (MT8870) that can be used for this.
The smartphone generates DTMF, which is fed to a circuit in the microcontroller that decodes it via the MT8870.
The problem would be feedback. The microcontroller won't be able to provide feedback to the smartphone via this method.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (2)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108602)

I own a Chinese-made mp3 player that connects to the computer through the stereo jack - it has a cable that has USB at one end and a stereo jack plug at the other. I could even use it like a USB memory stick with this cable. And it's charged through the stereo jack - the adapter ends with a stereo jack plug.

I think the stereo jack is just used as a conductor to carry electric current, both for charging and to carry information. They're doing it as a cost-cutting measure, they save-up on 2 additional ports that way. So when I read about this article I wasn't really surprised.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38112340)

I own a Chinese-made mp3 player that connects to the computer through the stereo jack - it has a cable that has USB at one end and a stereo jack plug at the other. I could even use it like a USB memory stick with this cable. And it's charged through the stereo jack - the adapter ends with a stereo jack plug.

I think the stereo jack is just used as a conductor to carry electric current, both for charging and to carry information. They're doing it as a cost-cutting measure, they save-up on 2 additional ports that way. So when I read about this article I wasn't really surprised.

Totally different. This setup is using a sound signal to transmit commands.

The Apple shuffle had a special usb-headphone cable that had an extra ring for the usb. There is also a chip used in some of the newer that doesn't require this extra connection, and senses when it's plugged into USB and switches over. That eliminats the need for an extra usb connection although forces you to use the special cable instead of an off-the-shelf usb cable.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (2)

Anonymus (2267354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109124)

I imagine it works almost exactly like a modem. Don't you remember accidentally picking up the telephone while using the internet during the 90s? :)

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

Meski (774546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38131188)

Well, if it was music from the Von Neumann Suite, and there were 2 of them, I'd expect them to mate.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108968)

DTMF Motherfucker! Do you speak it?

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (3, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107686)

Because apps don't have access to the USB interface. At the very least you'd have to root/jailbreak the phone.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

agent_vee (1801664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110508)

Android 3.1 and up allow apps to use USB Host mode to access USB devices. So you can use game pads and such without rooting. For iOS devices, redpark makes a RS232 cable that plugs into the dock connector. I have used it in a few projects and it works well for sending small data commands but not as a data link for something like tethering.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108616)

In addition to ewanm89's informative answer, it is a building block towards voice commands.

Re:Audio jack to get a standard connector? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109662)

> Why not use micro-USB instead of the audio connector?

Because it's an ipod.

Not new (4, Informative)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107668)

You mean like ham operators have been doing to control their SDR radio units for years?

Re:Not new (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107700)

It is innovative if you do it with an ipad2 or iphone4S.

Re:Not new (3, Informative)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107750)

1) Take any old but effective idea from the past
2) Use it on a Apple device
3) ...
4) PROFIT!

Serious, nice idea but far, far away from an advance or breakthrough.

Re:Not new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107832)

You forgot:
1.5) Patent it
2.5) Sue anyone else using it

How to Troll with Patents (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107942)

1) Take any old but effective idea from the past
2) Use it on a Apple device
3) ...
4) PROFIT!

You forgot:
2.5) Sue anyone else using it

That would be 3.5, 3) is: wait for someone else to make a significant profit in an infringing area

Re:How to Troll with Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108866)

Your idea is infringes on our "using non-integer numbers on a website with rounded corners" patent.

Sincerely, Apple

Re:Not new (4, Interesting)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107930)

The implied innovation (that keeps coming up in these "iPhone and other smartphone") is in dusting off old ideas that can be implemented with the "now ubiquitous" technology.

Old ideas that require a kilometers long particle accelerator, or three mules and 45 feet of leather strapping aren't nearly as exciting as seeing something cool done with this cheap computer with a radio transmitter that you keep in a pocket next to your gonads.

I once got kudos from Mr. Dean Kamen [dekaresearch.com] for employing a Handspring Visor [wikipedia.org] to do medical datalogging. Yeah, medical datalogging had been done before, our company had been doing mostly that for the previous 25 years, and we didn't have anything to do with development of the Palm Pilot or the Visor, but we recognized the newly affordable, highly portable computers for their potential as a significant component of what was previously a much larger, more expensive, and less portable system. Sure, it could have been done 3 years earlier with "off the shelf" tech, but using the Visor dropped the development costs of the overall system by nearly an order of magnitude. I was a little embarrassed when he said it, but, looking back, we had the idea fairly far along in development as an accessory to interface to the serial port of a Palm Pilot before the Visor was announced, and when the Visor was announced, we backed up (maybe a month's work) to redo the device as an "on the bus" expansion board for the Visor instead. Our timing to take advantage of the Visor launch couldn't have been better - completely accidental, but that's how it worked out.

For what it's worth, investment bankers took over the spinoff company that developed the idea [pdacortex.com] , they got all queasy about depending on other companies and "non commodity technology" to support their investment so they went much more vertically integrated, building their own PDA, and recoding all the PC side software in Visual Studio and MFC (from Borland's OWL [wikipedia.org] ). In some senses, they were right, Borland and Palm/Handspring did die fairly soon thereafter, but in another view, their prescience about these problems is what hobbled their growth, taking almost a year to re-code the software, and longer to build their own PDA - if they had pushed harder on what they had in-hand, their time to market would have been dramatically reduced, and maybe they would have done better for the original investors. As it turned out, they just plodded along, slipping into chapter 11 [businessweek.com] about 10 years down the road.

Re:Not new (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108154)

But this isn't the first time it's been done with a smartphone. People were making little robots with Android G1 phones a while back using the headphone jack adapter. Is this somehow novel because it was done with an iPhone?

Re:Not new (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108496)

But this isn't the first time it's been done with a smartphone. People were making little robots with Android G1 phones a while back using the headphone jack adapter. Is this somehow novel because it was done with an iPhone?

Of course not, beyond the fact that the Android G1 wasn't as media friendly as the iPhone... Android G1, sounds like an obscure geek toy (even though it's not, really). iPhone, well, that's accessible, isn't it? Even my acquaintances in marketing [dilbert.com] have iPhones, and know how to install apps on them too.

I feel the same way when people get excited about a project because "it's so accessible, it's on an Arduino."

Re:Not new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109026)

Hi, I am the person who did this with a g1. The source and schematics have been available at http://hackaday.com/2010/11/10/android-talks-pulsewave/ for a little longer than a year now. We've been selling these things since March 2010. No slashdot for us?

Re:Not new (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38113522)

Hi, I am the person who did this with a g1. The source and schematics have been available at http://hackaday.com/2010/11/10/android-talks-pulsewave/ [hackaday.com] for a little longer than a year now. We've been selling these things since March 2010. No slashdot for us?

Submit your story, the gods of what gets posted seem to have gone really soft lately, lots of first time submitters getting published lately.

Re:Not new (1)

niw3 (1029008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108570)

So when you read "smart phone or iPod touch", what you understand is "Apple device". Wow.

Re:Not new (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107708)

Or like any acoustically coupled modem.

Re:Not new (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107820)

well, not quite, as I'm seriously doubt they are putting speaker to microphone here, no more like a cable direct from headphone jack to microphone jack. Same concept but no accoustic coupling technically speaking and a lot less interference/things that could go wrong.

Re:Not new (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107926)

well, not quite, as I'm seriously doubt they are putting speaker to microphone here, no more like a cable direct from headphone jack to microphone jack. Same concept but no accoustic coupling technically speaking and a lot less interference/things that could go wrong.

well, technically speaking, what would it be called?

I'm seriously doubt they'd just call it a "modem [wikipedia.org] ," no more like obvious.

(also. How is babby formed? [dagobah.net] )

Re:Not new (1)

YouDieAtTheEnd (2471718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108176)

It's just a wired connection to a microcontroller. It's not like they're going to be using the soundcard to ouput anything complex, just the necessary control signals to tell the controller to move the motors.

Re:Not new (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108520)

Which differs from the definition of a modem...how, exactly?

Re:Not new (1)

YouDieAtTheEnd (2471718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109958)

In that it doesn't DEModulate the signals before communicating them to the IC nor would it be MOdulating any signals to send to the phone's soundcard as all of the sensors would be on the phone itself unless you were doing something with tactile feedback. Essentially we're just talking about a wire connected to the controller.

Re:Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38111984)

So. Let me get this straight: Digital stuff gets modulated into an analog waveform, and then demodulated into digital instructions. Status comes back the same way.

Right?

Then it either is, or uses, a modem....even if it is just a wire and some code.

(Don't hurt yourself thinking this over. Lots of things use modems. Even the audio cassette recorders used in the 8 bit days were, quite literally, modems.)

Re:Not new (1)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109426)

well, technically it's one way, the soundcard on the phone is modulating and therefore is just a modulator, and the one in the robot is demodulating and therefore just a demodulator. Of course, if one hooked up a data channel the other way too, then yes, they are modems. whether they are trying to talk the V.34 or V.92 protocols is another matter.

Re:Not new (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108826)

This actually just a directly connected modem, no pesky air involved in the transmission.

Re:Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107740)

Yes, just like that. They didn't claim it was an invention. Just an innovation, applying exisitng technology to something else...

Re:Not new (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108126)

I remember seeing this done with the T-Mobile G1 android phone when it first came out and probably with other phones before then. Is this "innovation" because it is an iPhone?

Re:Not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38117166)

I suppose if the term "innovation" was used broad enough then it is, because I think it either has to be an invention which are almost non-existent or an innovation (combining and/or repurposing previous inventions).
But if using the audio port on phones for device control has been done with other phones than no, that was the innovation.

Everything old is new again (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107842)

The revenge of the modem. How long until someone shows off mad whistling skillz to control this robot?

Re:Everything old is new again (2)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108814)

isn't it pathetic that after all these years of having handheld computers(Palm,WinCe, and Linux Zaurus) with I/O connectors being used for all sorts of things our "smart" phones have nothing standard but a audio jack.

Besides reminding me of some of the Zaurus based robots around 10 years ago I'm also wondering why not use bluetooth between the phone and robot and wifi for CC(command and control)?

here's one of the old Zaurus based bots:
http://robotbox.net/project/dahlag/zaurbot

LoB

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127238)

Besides reminding me of some of the Zaurus based robots around 10 years ago I'm also wondering why not use bluetooth between the phone and robot and wifi for CC(command and control)?

I imagine reliability and cost are the best reasons to use the audio jack

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108824)

Oh, frack it.

News at 10 (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107850)

Someone discovers abstraction

Not me I guess (1)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107862)

Also, the controls are through the headphone jack. That simplifies the design and means that the robot doesn't need to be linked with only one brand of smart phone.

My smart phone doesn't have an audio jack. Everything is done through the USB port.

Fetch me my slippers! (2)

YouDieAtTheEnd (2471718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107880)

Not sure why everyone is getting so excited about the controller interface being through the audio port since that is old hat and hardly the most interesting connotation of this idea. I'd be much more excited about the possibilities of having a ready built platform with camera, gps, wifi, bluetooth, speach recognition attached to physical actuators. If you were smart enough about the design of the app or provided enough of an interface so that you could program your own behaviors, this could be truly revolutionary for home robotics.

Re:Fetch me my slippers! (1)

YouDieAtTheEnd (2471718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107888)

*hopefully it would have spellchecking too

Re:Fetch me my slippers! (2)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108240)

It was a popular way to control toy robots in the 80's. I had an Omnibot that operated entirely on something resembling DTMF tones. The remote control just piped the tones over an AM channel. You could "program" the robot using it's on-board tape recorder, which just recorded the tones it received from the remote. One of the smaller 'brothers' of the Omnibot could be controlled by whistling different notes, or clapping. Same idea.

Re:Fetch me my slippers! (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38113388)

If you can get a smartphone's USB jack to work in host mode, a hacked deskjet would provide plenty of actuators in a single package.

Dumb (0)

Kludge (13653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107882)

This is also known as "I'm too dumb to buy a smart phone with a standard USB connector."

Re:Dumb (2)

Relyx (52619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38107994)

Unfortunately it's not just cheap, trashy, poorly thought-out phones that have non-standard connectors. Even the iPhone and iPad have a non-standard port. Using the headphone socket is a very pragmatic solution which allows one to cover a very broad range of devices.

Re:Dumb (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108034)

Do more modern phones have the ability to act as a USB host? Most portable devices I've owned/seen just turn their own brains off and mount as mass storage, with the other machine (usually a "proper" computer) acting as the host.

Re:Dumb (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108104)

The Galaxy S II has OTG support, meaning it can act both as a host and as a slave, although apparently only a few devices (like mass storage drives with a FAT fs) seem to work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=giJXF5pIITc [youtube.com]

Re:Dumb (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108228)

Archos devices can act as USB hosts for some devices, a holdover from their ability to act as PVRs. Unfortunately the Archos firmware release cycle is awful, and it's broken in every other release.

Re:Dumb (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109128)

Yeah, I have an Archos PMA430[1], which is the difference between "most" and "all". Haven't really used that function much - less than I expected, to be honest.

I remember trying to use the photo app to do a slideshow but it wouldn't navigate to an external drive. It's also fussy about its diet. It recognises thumb drives and if I plug in my multiformat card reader it works with an SD card but not a mini or micro one in an adapter. It has a shell program and it was a lot more fun playing with the command line with my huge Microsoft ergonomic keyboard than with the built in onscreen one and a fingernail ;-)

[1] It still works, though the battery is now a UPS - I can just about unplug it, sprint to another room and plug it in again before it powers down.

Re:Dumb (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38109020)

http://store.diydrones.com/PhoneDrone_Board_p/br-phonedrone.htm
http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10748

http://developer.android.com/guide/topics/usb/adk.html

Almost all android phones can do this in one form or another. My robotics team (sd-ram.us) has been working on building robotic submarines using this technique.

Re:Dumb (1)

Kludge (13653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38115708)

Even the iPhone and iPad have a non-standard port.

I know. Therefore they fall in the "dumb" category.

Re:Dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108138)

I totally agree, along with i'm smart enough to overcome this limitation.

Re:Dumb (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109672)

Bingo.

Anyone remember the Tomy Omnibot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38107886)

I couldn't find anything in TFA about how they're controlling it, and couldn't be bothered reading the details elsewhere, but the first thing that occurred to me was that this would be *easily* done with tone decoders and specific tones for specific functions - just like the old Tomy Omnibot. Sure, digital is *sexy* and *geeky*, but unless you need to multiplex functions you could easily do this with specific tones. Hell, even if you *did* need to multiplex, you could do so by choosing tones that are not harmonics of each other.

Re:Anyone remember the Tomy Omnibot? (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108336)

DTMF would be an obvious choice, as both silicon and software are readily available. Oh, and the intermodulation issues were resolved decades ago. Doing something custom might be an interesting academic exercise, but it won't gain you an advantage in this application.

News at 11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108030)

Today's top story: you can send information through ports.

soft modem and arduino? (1)

dns_server (696283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108134)

This is not new so i wonder why it is news, soft modems have been around for a while.
arduino + soft modem + stepper motors.

I was strangely about to start playing around with this when i refreshed slashdot.
I have gotten a soft modem from http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10331 [sparkfun.com] so can i have $92,684?

Ep...'! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108180)

you are a screaming 3ut suffice it According tothis Stagnant. As Linux Fuck The Baby

Re:Ep...'! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108846)

Troll parsing failed.

Please insert coin to continue.

This could be useful (2)

davidbrit2 (775091) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108194)

Siri, open the pod bay doors.

Before you get too excited... (3, Informative)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108250)

Apple's developer agreement prohibits applications which execute any kind of interpreted, or downloaded code.

So if you're envisioning an NTX-G style of robotics environment for the iPhone, you may need to think again.

Even a simple "Big-Trak"-type (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Trak [wikipedia.org] ) application would technically violate such terms. So - Android would clearly be the superior platform of this type of development.

Re:Before you get too excited... (2)

matthiasvegh (1800634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108424)

So - Android would clearly be the superior platform for development.

FTFY

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108844)

No, you are not correct.

The Dev Agreement forbids downloadable code, but it does not prevent interpreted code -- there was a small time when interpreted code was not allowed to call iOS APIs directly, but that restiction has been gone for a while now.

Lua is used widely in games on iOS, both directly and though SDKS like Corona [google.com] . There is Wax [github.com] a framework for writing Cocoa touch apps in Lua. In the App Store itself you will find 4-5 different Basic interpreters, a python interpreter, ruby, and the excellent iLuaBox [mobileappsystems.com] .

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

greggman (102198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38110816)

The agreement mentions downloading but it explicitly forbids executing ANY CODE NOT IN YOUR APP's PACAKGE except JavaScript running in WebKit

That means Corona and iLuaBox are breaking the license. Of course Apple has never been consistent in enforcing their rules. Maybe as along as the scripts are relatively trivial they'll look the other way but the rules they laid out are clear.

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

jockm (233372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38113130)

For the love of... have you bothered to actually read the agreement? Citing from wikipedia:

3.3.2 — An Application may not itself install or launch other executable code by any means, including without limitation through the use of a plug-in architecture, calling other frameworks, other APIs or otherwise. No interpreted code may be downloaded or used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple’s Documented APIs and built-in interpreter(s).

So yes you can embed an interpreter, and run that code; but you cannot download code that isn't part of the app and then run that. Even at the worst Apple put a restriction on what API's interprete code could call, but never banned it.

But even if what you were saying were true, it is trivial to embed a UIWebView, and add JavaScript entry points. Meaning that you could use JavaScript as a scripting language that could then call APIs in your app.

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

greggman (102198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38114510)

First, yes I have read the agreement.

Second, that version of the agreement is old.

Third, nothing you wrote contradicted what I wrote. Corona and iLuaBox are running user entered Lua scripts, not JavaScript. Therefore they are breaking the rule above that "No interpreted code may be downloaded or used..." download OR used. They are using user entered interpreted code in Lua, not JavaScript. User entered code is forbidden. Only code in the app's package is allowed to be run period, native or interpreted. The only exception to any code not included in your apps package is JavaScript.

One more time.

Native Code embedded in app = ok
Interpreted code embedded in app = ok
JavaScript NOT embedded in app (downloaded, user entered, ...) = ok
Interpreted code NOT embedded in app (downloaded, user entered, etc...) = NOT ok

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108886)

While your point is valid as the rules are written, a power point viewer or RDP client can be technically considered a violation of those rules as they receive commands from a file or network connection telling them what to do.

That and there are other devices that do this already.

You can buy an remote car that works these way from the local bestbuy, download the app to control it from the app store. It doesn't use a direct wired connection, it has a transmitter that plugs into the headphone port, but none the less it works the same way.

You just don't call it a programing environment, its a document viewer. The document just happens to control a physical robot via sound.

Hell for that matter, to just send commands and get no data back from it, you could just record an audio file and call that your document format, then just play it on the iPhone. No app needed and in order to stop you, they'd have to stop allowing you to put audio on the devices. The audio file would probably work equally well on just about any phone with a decent quality audio chip.

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

jockm (233372) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109156)

No skulduggery needed, see my other post to bradgoodman (I wasn't logged in, so it is an AC), but programming environments are allowed on iOS. There are fair number of examples in the App Store already

Re:Before you get too excited... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38114928)

Apple changed the rules to allow user entered interpreted code in an app over a year ago, and promptly approved about a half dozen Basic interpreters (several that had been previously rejected before the rule change) into the App store. They still don't allow downloading code, but the user can type that same Basic program in from a magazine article. (What a new idea!)

Perfectly useful for hobbiest robotics.

Re:Before you get too excited... (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126622)

Even a simple "Big-Trak"-type (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Trak [wikipedia.org] ) application would technically violate such terms.

OMG the Big Trak! Somebody needs to bring that thing back so I can finally own one.

I've had Apple ][ software on my iPod for ages. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108434)

Not a new idea folks. :)

Why wired? (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108484)

It would be better to control the robot via 802.11

Re:Why wired? (2)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108776)

It would be better to control the robot via 802.11

That requires an 802.11 network as well as 802.11 hardware on your robot, which costs significantly more than the onboard microcontroller.

Re:Why wired? (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108828)

bluetooth then since standard USB is not an option here in 2011.

LoB

Re:Why wired? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109682)

I would guess, wired makes it more hack proof?

Smartphone = Universal Remote (3, Insightful)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38108744)

Expect to see more stories like these in the future. Before long, all of your old appliances that had displays and controls will now be nothing more than a box with a logo. All communication will be via blue tooth and wifi, and your smartphone or other compatible device will be the interface and display. The controller inside your appliance will probably be the same type of microprocessor used in your smartphone. Even classic "dumb" devices will soon have this capability, so you will be able to walk up to just about anything, hold your smartphone up to it, and see what it is, what it is doing, how it is doing it, and what changes you can make to it.

I did this a year ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108806)

This was on hackaday on november 2010. What's the news? http://hackaday.com/2010/11/10/android-talks-pulsewave/

Basically you get a serial output -- search "serial out" on android market. The app is open source.

Done first on android, and open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108852)

http://www.androidzoom.com/android_applications/tools/audio-serial-out_ssqt.html Source and schematic is available on request by emailing the developer.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38108860)

Seems like an interesting concept.

Prior art (1)

fikx (704101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109030)

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pprk/ [cmu.edu]
back in the days of Palm computing, it was known that letting your portable devices run around from time to time on their own was good for their health... :)

No need for an R2-D2 accessibility law now. (2)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109286)

I never thought I would see Star Wars tech come to reality, that thing always looked like a phone jack to me.

You know... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38109664)

...that this is going to be used in a summer popcorn flick, probably starring Bruce Willis or Will Smith.

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