PDA

View Full Version : Cell phone as a microcontroller?



jrowe47
02-20-2008, 03:01 AM
Does anyone know if I can use one of my cell phones as a microcontroller?
I did an inventory of a bunch of random crap around my house. I have a gajillion old RC toys, some random faux robot things, a BASIC stamp microcontroller, and so on. Lots of random stuff, and I'll be cataloging it to see what's usable and so on. Probably a dozen or so usable servos, and 2 dozen or more dc motors, lots of stuff.

I also have two prepaid phones... one a nokia tracfone 2126 and another verizon/nokia 2366i. I'll probably be disassembling them and carefully unsoldering the LCDs, but I was wondering if I could somehow use them as mini computers in themselves, since they already have integrated power sources, and I have the charging cables.

DresnerRobotics
02-20-2008, 09:52 AM
Id imagine in theory it might be possible, but would require a phenomenal electronics skill level, and I'm not sure that all the time it would take would be worth it. Their I/O capabilities are probably limited too, since they're essentially built for a specific purpose.

JonHylands
02-20-2008, 10:36 AM
I don't know about that - I've seen videos of cell-phone robots. Most of them have some kind of serial interface or bluetooth...

http://www.embisys.com/?page_id=10
http://www.robotclips.com/video/92/Cell-Phone-Robot.html
http://www.textually.org/textually/archives/2005/01/006655.htm

- Jon

DresnerRobotics
02-20-2008, 11:18 AM
Wow! I stand corrected. I'd have thought it would've been considerably more difficult.

ZeeGee
02-20-2008, 10:42 PM
Cell phone manufacturers tend to lock their phones down. So I'm pretty sure modern cell phones get the processing power and the interfaces to do so, but it might be hard to open it up.

You might want to consider Nokia N series internet tablet; it's not a cell phone per se, but it has all the goodies in it: wifi, bluetooth, usb, decent CPU, memory, storage space etc. You can get serial connect through a bluetooth to serial dongle, or I heard you can get usb to serial by using a modded usb host mode cable. If you are familiar with Linux development, then you can make use of Maemo (the OS on tablet) SDK to build native app, or it's also possible to use Python to do so.

jrowe47
02-21-2008, 12:18 AM
I think I might just use the LCD displays, those are generally the most reusable parts. As for the rest, I'll just take the things apart and see if I can't reuse things like the keypads and bluetooth stuff. It would be a hell of a hard thing to hack, and not very practical in terms of the time it would take me.

Alex
02-22-2008, 09:49 AM
Cell phone manufacturers tend to lock their phones down.Yeah, tell me about it! I have an LG Voyager from Verizon Wireless and it has the ability to do some absolutely incredible things, but due to legality reasons and VW's forceful nature, all of the really "good stuff" is locked up in a 20ft thick vault:mad:

Still though, overall I love the phone, just pissed that I can't even do a simple thing like transfer ringtones to/from other phones:


133

jrowe47
02-22-2008, 04:28 PM
Oh yeah, theres always the openmoko phone. http://www.openmoko.com/products-neo-base-00-stdkit.html

USB slots too, so i think its phidgets compatible ;)

Alex
02-25-2008, 10:03 AM
thanks for that link jrowe47, I didn't even know about this phone! This thing is sick:)


Not content with that we went over the top and left "interesting" signals, such as the I2C bus, at easily solderable contact pads for the hardware hackers to have some fun.I2C interface on a cell phone? I could see some really cool projects coming out of this.

It has a couple of USB slots, and it's running Linux and using the GNU C Library so I don't see any reason why Phidgets wouldn't work with this.

EDIT: I sent this over to Phidgets to check out and was told that it would work, but that you'll have to hack into the USB line and provide +5vdc.

cheetah100
03-07-2008, 02:23 AM
Hi, I just thought I would drop you all a note about what I'm doing. I started a autonomous solar powered boat project. The core of the boat is the OpenMoko. I have developed the software I need to run it in Python, and have used a PhidgetServo to provide motor control and rudder control. On the OpenMoko I'm using GPRS for telemetry and commands and GPS for navigation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9wtjRpL7tA


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9wtjRpL7tA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab8tF5bYF-k


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ab8tF5bYF-k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NUJ4dnI-54


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NUJ4dnI-54

I got the OpenMoko last week, and although the software has all been tested on a laptop I have not yet got the GPRS connecting. I also need to compile the PhidgetServo library for the arm to get that working, and a cable to connect the PhidgetServo to the OpenMoko.

The OpenMoko V1 is however sold out on the OpenMoko site. I got my one off eBay. The next version will be cool - with WiFi. Hopefully it will also work - the current software has a little way to go before it is commercially viable. Being able to run python on a phone is very cool though :)

Alex
03-10-2008, 02:33 PM
Awesome work cheetah100! Ever think about entering your project in our contest (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/contest.aspx)? It ends on May 31. We'll be putting the updated prizes on the page later this week.

LinuxGuy
03-22-2008, 03:58 AM
Cell phone manufacturers tend to lock their phones down. So I'm pretty sure modern cell phones get the processing power and the interfaces to do so, but it might be hard to open it up.
I don't know about phones from other manufacturers, but Nokia phones are very easy to unlock. You can get a code generated from the internet (I don't have the URL, sorry), enter it into the phone and it is unlocked from then on and can be used with any carrier that supports it.

GSM phones like my now ancient Nokia 6600 are supported world wide. I unlocked it when I switched from T-Mobile and now use it with AT&T. When I get a new phone, the 6600 will get disected.


If you are familiar with Linux development, then you can make use of Maemo (the OS on tablet) SDK to build native app, or it's also possible to use Python to do so.
I was just looking at the N810. When Nokia goes the full step and adds a phone, it will be an extremely interesting device.

8-Dale

ZeeGee
03-23-2008, 04:11 AM
I don't know about phones from other manufacturers, but Nokia phones are very easy to unlock.
well, actually I was not referring to unlock, but rather developing apps (especially native apps, as opposed to midlets) on the phone. This is because a lot of phones have nice conectivity devices (wifi/bluetooth/serial/usb etc), but only native apps are likely to have full access to them.


I was just looking at the N810. When Nokia goes the full step and adds a phone, it will be an extremely interesting device.
I somehow doubted that though, because in the business of mobile phone, manufacturers are heavily driven by carriers, which like to lock up the phones a lot. And the N series internet tablet now is just too open to be a phone. Of course it's not technically hard to add, say a GSM modem, support all the phone features like making calls, sending SMSes, establishing data connection and make it a general purpose, non-carrier specifc phone. However I felt that it is something that company like openmoko rather than Nokia would do.

LinuxGuy
03-23-2008, 03:51 PM
well, actually I was not referring to unlock, but rather developing apps (especially native apps, as opposed to midlets) on the phone. This is because a lot of phones have nice conectivity devices (wifi/bluetooth/serial/usb etc), but only native apps are likely to have full access to them.
I believe Nokia makes SDKs available for their phones, but they may be limited in scope.


I somehow doubted that though, because in the business of mobile phone, manufacturers are heavily driven by carriers, which like to lock up the phones a lot. And the N series internet tablet now is just too open to be a phone. Of course it's not technically hard to add, say a GSM modem, support all the phone features like making calls, sending SMSes, establishing data connection and make it a general purpose, non-carrier specifc phone. However I felt that it is something that company like openmoko rather than Nokia would do.
Spark Fun has a couple interesting GSM modules, including the GM862 Cellular Quad Band Module (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=757) and the GM862 Cellular Quad Band Module with GPS (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=7917). These might be usable in a hack to the N series internet tablets. :happy: These would give a robot data access to the GSM cellular network (with or without GPS). :happy: These modules are not cheap, but think of what might be done with them if interfaced to a robot..

Interesting possibilities.. :veryhappy::veryhappy:

8-Dale

cheetah100
03-24-2008, 03:18 AM
In terms of using a phone for robotics applications I seriously suggest looking at the OpenMoko. This weekend I was able to get a Phidget Controller working with the OpenMoko. The OpenMoko already has GPS and GPRS onboard, which means that all you need is a SIM card to have both communications and navigation. It has a standard mini USB connector which is easy to attach to the Phidget Controller.

The bad news is that the maker is currently out of stock of the current model, and the next model is still some way from being released. However, I can strongly recommend this little beast as a great robotics platform.

LinuxGuy
03-24-2008, 07:39 PM
In terms of using a phone for robotics applications I seriously suggest looking at the OpenMoko. This weekend I was able to get a Phidget Controller working with the OpenMoko. The OpenMoko already has GPS and GPRS onboard, which means that all you need is a SIM card to have both communications and navigation. It has a standard mini USB connector which is easy to attach to the Phidget Controller.
I have been looking at the OpenMoko. :happy: I am awaiting release of the Freerunner version. I need to get a new phone as I have an almost four year old Nokia 6600 now. I'd love to have an AT&T Tilt, but it's way too expensive right now and they require a $39.95/month data package to have it. I am not sure this is an absolute requirement, but the AT&T folks seem to be real hard headed about it though.


The bad news is that the maker is currently out of stock of the current model, and the next model is still some way from being released. However, I can strongly recommend this little beast as a great robotics platform.
Yes, I know. I suspect this will be the case until the Freerunner is released.

8-Dale

viswatj
11-03-2012, 04:10 PM
Hi jrtowe47, I am actually building a quadcopter using microcontroller but instead i thought lets use mobile phone as brain. Because it has better Speed, Already soldered, Less power consumption processor to it. SO we can do special things like moves or detect face etc.., kind of stuff.
I am trying to use a Motorola V3i which has a ARM 7 40 interrupter in it(http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Motorola+V3i+Teardown/3660/1) of teardown so perfectly understand the phone. Next trying to write a new firmware based on ARM 7 instructions set. You can use present day smart phone( ANDROID, BADA , WINDOWS PHONE , IOS )... BUT you will require a microcontroller to communicate to usb of mobile and to other devices.