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I'm quite new to micro-controller development. However, I wanted to start from someplace. Currently, I wanted to start a project to interface analog signals, do some DSP with it and be able to display these signals in a GUI on a smartphone like Android.

Could you'll recommend a few micro-controllers I should be looking at that allows easy portability to an Android phone? My criteria for the micro are as follows:

  • Low Power
  • Great documentation/ sample code
  • At-least 6 analog input pins
  • Has Bluetooth/wifi capability
  • Has an ADC

I have looked up a few micros like the

  • Arduino
  • Fez Domino
  • Beagle Board
  • Microchips, PIC18, PIC24 etc. series

But, I'm not sure which provides the most easy to port to an Android phone?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you mean interface rather than portability - you are not going to write the code for the microcontroller and then port it to run on the Android phone; you want it to interface to the Android phone. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Mar 21 '11 at 13:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the Microchip range, I would say the PIC18 is unsuitable, you need at least the dsPIC. And for Wifi you'd be better off with a 32 bit micro - doing an ethernet stack on 16 bit or lower is hard. \$\endgroup\$ – Martin Mar 21 '11 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Martin for clearing my misconception. Your correct, I should be looking at interfacing instead of portablity, I should probably look into Android emulators initially to help with debugging. \$\endgroup\$ – user3458 Mar 21 '11 at 14:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ check out developer.android.com/sdk/index.html it has pretty much everything that you need to know for getting started. They even have a software based emulator. However, for interfacing with the outside world you will have to use a physical device. \$\endgroup\$ – Kellenjb Mar 21 '11 at 16:27
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The easiest way to get to an Android phone is to connect to it using Bluetooth. This can pretty much be as easy or hard as you want to make it. We have plenty of questions regarding bluetooth, but I think this one is probably the best for you.

As far as this community goes, we will probably be able to help the most with Arduino and Microchip, but anything that can support bluetooth can interact with Android phones.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Kellen, I'll take a look at the link you posted. Although, it basically just seems like a solution to allow Bluetooth communication and not more information on interfacing with an Android Platform. \$\endgroup\$ – user3458 Mar 21 '11 at 14:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ @microSense if you are looking at how to program an Android App then you will probably need to look else where. We will help all you want with the micro and bluetooth module you pick. It just seemed like you didn't know what path to take at all and I was trying to point you to bluetooth. \$\endgroup\$ – Kellenjb Mar 21 '11 at 15:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Understand. Thank you :). Will definitely post here for hardware based questions. I do agree, I was unclear on how to accomplish this. \$\endgroup\$ – user3458 Mar 21 '11 at 18:26
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One of the quickest ways to get started linking a micro to an Android phone is with the Amarino toolkit. You can use either the basic Android GUI or just the APIs to create some sort of application on the mobile device, then use their very basic libraries for an Arduino directly or port them (as I did) to some other micro. All they do is send out some ASCII encoded data to the UART, which a basic Bluetooth transceiver sends off to the Android.

You can just as well leave it behind and develop your own Bluetooth handler on the Android phone.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is really nice. \$\endgroup\$ – jpc Mar 21 '11 at 20:10
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A (probably Linux based but mbed and Arduino are also doable) board with WiFi and a HTTP server is also an option, given the recent improvements in HTML5, WebSockets and surrounding technologies.

In case you are totally new to this I would suggest playing with DSP on a PC using you sound card first and then playing with an Arduino connected to the PC via serial port. You can get boggled down with unimportant stuff and difficult debugging if you just start on the phone.

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