Turn your Linux computer into a huge Android USB Accessory

Google is promoting it’s Arduino-Like hardware to test and prototype with USB accessories. Meanwhile you are either waiting for your USB-Host board or deciding if you even want to get one at all. At that point we would like to share a way of how to write your first “Hello World” application using your Linux Desktop/Laptop (we use Ubuntu …).

Your Desktop/Laptop probably has a USB host controller. This opens you all doors to write accessory applications using “libusb”. We have written some C code as a template that let’s you act as Accessory on Linux side.


You can use it for instance to benchmark the data throughput and do all other kinds of crazy stuff. (Did I just hear “use your Nexus S as RFID reader”?)

Java Code to follow …


to compile on Ubuntu install the following packages:
apt-get source libusb
apt-get install libusb-dev
apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev

And compile using the line
gcc simplectrl.c -I/usr/include/ -o simplectrl -lusb-1.0 -I/usr/include/ -I/usr/include/libusb-1.0

The Java example can be found here.
Please note that the example is very rudimentary as well as threading just temporarily. During the next weeks we are going to require a better and more robust example which will be followed by some post with source code.

Android Oscilloscope on the Beagleboard xM using Rowboat

We are pleased to announce that we are sitting together once more to provide a more stable and brushed up version of the USB Android Oscilloscope under the name OsciPrime. We are focusing on UI improvements and enable the Application to run on mobile phones (maybe even on the Android Market).

We already have a BB xM running the latest rowboat gingerbread build and are already able to communicate over USB.

Hint to make Libusb Working:
In Gingerbread you will need to change ueventd.rc to adjust permissions for your application:
/dev/bus/usb/* 0660
/dev/bus/usb/* 0666

Sources will be online early next week.
Thanks for all your support over the past year 🙂

OsciPrime Running on the Beagleboard
Beagleboard xM running rowboat android gingerbread 2.3

Painless Logcating

Recently I ran into a nice way to manage all my hundreds of logs that I am writing out while I am debugging my Android applications.
Although this is nothing that will move the world I find it an incredibly handy method of keeping everything together.

The Problem:

I really like to debug my applications with Log.d(TAG, message) or Log.e(TAG,message). And as well when you are used to the console, you usually will not work with logcat’s tagging system but rather mark your logs with a tag. For instance your typical log could look like this:

Log.d(“GPSActivity”,”=== Starting service ===”);

Which you then will filter out using grep:

$adb logcat | grep ‘===’

This already helps a lot filtering your custom messages on the console. Now what I started doing was creating are two functions per Class:

private void l(String msg){
Log.d(“ActLog”,”>==< "+msg+" >==<"); } private void e(String msg){ Log.e("ActLog",">==< "+msg+" >==<"); }

This will allow me to quickly log by calling a “one-letter” function and at the same time allows me to get rid of the debugging messages at roll-out by simply commenting the lines in the functions.

Oscione – an open source Android Oscilloscope

Hello everybody, it has been a while since our last post, nevertheless we are proud to introduce our new project:

Oscione – an open source Android Oscilloscope.

The project consists of both a custom hardware front-end for data acquisition and an Android application for visualizing the collected data samples to the user. Data is transferred over USB to the Beagleboard running Android, and then plotted on an external screen. As mentioned, the whole design is entirely open source, therefore everybody is highly encouraged to rebuild and further develop both the hardware and software parts of the application. Source code and layout files are all included in the above link. Furthermore, the Android application is considered to be a stand-alone Oscilloscope UI, with the ability to visualize other data sources such as the microphone input of an Android mobile phone.

In the above link, you will also find a technical report with detailed explanation of both hardware and software development.

Oscione User Interface
Oscione User Interface
Oscione custom hardware front-end
Oscione custom hardware front-end

Technical Report: Using Android in Industrial Automation

The title says it all, finally it is complete:
the long-awaited Technical Report of our project 😀
… which you can download from here

Using Android in Industrial Automation – Technical Report

This report aims to cover all important aspects when setting up an appropriate hardware and software platform for Android, and also leads the reader through our spectrum analyzer application development. On top of that, you will find a setup guide in the appendix, containing detailed instructions on how to build your Kernel and the Android root file system, and further information on how to make use of the DSP, etc. Although some chapters are not as detailed as others, we always try to provide you with a good starting point by leading you into the right direction. Also, dont be afraid of the length of this report since you should be able to pick only these chapters that are of most interest to you 😉