The Hippo-ADK is a niche product based on the Arduino-like microcontroller board and designed for makers and hackers to give them the power to use a smartphones to communicate and control a robot without additional shields and with Arduino-like hardware.
The idea is simple, more than that, it is based on common devices and simple techniques. Almost everyone has a smartphone in his pocket and most of us are willing to use the gadget in robotics. A smartphone can share with robot hardware information from the accelerometer, GPS module, images from the camera, or to supply with power the motors of the robot. Additionally, collecting and combining smartphone sensor data with the easy-to-use hardware of the Arduino-like microcontroller board, any hobbyists and hacker can build an autonomous robot or vision applications. That’s why we need the Hippo-ADK! The microcontroller board makes the work easier through its features and abilities to connect the smartphone to the robot components such as motors, wheels, and other sensors.
The journey from an idea to the final project was decreased with several steps. No additional shields and just few lines of code. But even so, the iOS users have to wait until a new version of the Hippo-ADK microcontroller board is able to support the Bluetooth 4.0 LE module. The first version of the Hippo support only Bluetooth 2.0, which makes it compatible with Android 2.3 and above.
How the board works
There are two methods to connect the Hippo-ADK with an Android device. It can be connected wirelessly with the Bluetooth module or through the USB port of the device. Once connected, with a simple Android application you can take the control over the sensors, motors, LEDs, … over the robot hardware, and essential, it allows you to have access in real-time to all the sensors inside the smartphone such as accelerometer, gyroscope, camera, LCD screen or communication modules such as GPS, GSM and Wi-Fi.
Perhaps you’re wondering how easy is to have access to such wide range of sensors from the Android device and from the robot. This is not all. Focused on the essential control, the board comes equipped with several other sensors such as infrared. Digesting all the specs of the board, you can easily be encouraged to become the next user of this tiny microcontroller board.
- STM32F405RG microcontroller
- 168 MHz Cortex-M4 CPU with 32-bit hardware floating point.
- 1 MB flash memory, 192 KB RAM.
- Micro-B USB connector, with software support for USB serial, USB mass storage, and USB HID (mouse, keyboard).
- Micro SD slot
- 1 Power LED, 2 user LEDs
- 1 reset switch, 1 user switch
- 5V DC-DC
- 3.3V LDO regulator at 300mA, power from USB or external voltage source between 3.6V and 10V
- Real-time clock with date and time
- 30 general purpose I/O lines, 28 are 5V tolerant (unless in ADC mode)
- Communication: 2x SPI, 2x CAN, 2x I2C, 5x USART.
- 14x 12-bit ADC pins (analog signal in)
- 2x DAC pins (analog signal out)
- Board dimensions: 41mm x 54mm
- Board weight: 6 grams.
- Board I/O connectors: 46 holes, standard 0.1 inch separation
8 Things You Can Make With Hippo-ADK
The Hippo-ADK board has a long list of key functionalities and become suitable for a wide range of robots. More than that, it can be integrated with LEGO Mindstorms kits, which is obvious that extend the range of robotics and let you build endless applications.
Its abilities to take part of a robot can be proven with simple robots such as:
- self-balancing robot;
- ball-shooting robot;
- combining a self-balancing with a ball-shooting robot;
- line tracking robot;
- object tracking robot;
- face-tracking robot;
- speech recognition and voice control;
- mobile manipulator;
You have two possibilities to program the Hippo-ADK microcontroller. First option is the easiest one and let the user build programs using intuitive gestures and the graphical programming application App Inventor. This option has limits and can be only an alternative for beginners.
The second option is the one that I choose to use. The user can write lines of code using the Arduino IDE together with a series of libraries, or can have access to functionalities through a high-level customization Java API.
Shields and accessories
This area is dedicated to those who wants to build even cooler things with Hippo-ADK. Using shields and accessories become a common practice in robotics by giving the users a rapid development environment and sophisticated tools.
The list with shields and accessories include:
- Hippo-Arduino – a shield that connects Hippo-ADK and Arduino microcontroller;
- Hippo-Lego – a shield designed to enable the connection with your Android devices and LEGO parts;
- MPU6050 module;
- Building parts;
- High-torque motors;
Tutorials and Projects
A comprehensive documentation and a large library with project is one of the keys to success in the world of makers and hackers. From beginning, the engineers behind the Hippo-AD shares with us few tutorials and examples for inspiration. Below, I explore all these tutorials and examples:
Tutorial how to make a simple LED controller with your Android smartphone’s proximity sensor using App Inventor
Tutorial for Digital Read/Write functions of Hippo-ADK
Blink example with Arduino language and Hippo-ADK
Price and Release date
The HippoADK is expected to cost about US$49 and the plan is to be released to the public in December.