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Thread: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

  1. Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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.

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    Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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.

  3. Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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/C...one-Robot.html
    http://www.textually.org/textually/a.../01/006655.htm

    - Jon

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    Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    Wow! I stand corrected. I'd have thought it would've been considerably more difficult.

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    Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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.

  6. Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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.

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    Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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

    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:


    Attachment 133

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  8. Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    Oh yeah, theres always the openmoko phone. http://www.openmoko.com/products-neo...00-stdkit.html

    USB slots too, so i think its phidgets compatible

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    Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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.
    Last edited by Alex; 02-25-2008 at 11:24 AM.

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  10. Re: Cell phone as a microcontroller?

    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=ab8tF5bYF-k



    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
    Last edited by Alex; 03-10-2008 at 08:40 AM. Reason: embedded YouTube videos :-)

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