One of the most interesting aspects for every maker is to remote control physical things by using a wireless connection. If you plan to communicate with a microcontroller over large distances and without a WLAN base station, you have to consider to use a GSM/UMTS modem or a smartphone instead. As GSM communication prices became quite low in the last years, using a smartphone for remote communicating with your microcontroller or with your mobile bot seems a pretty good choice. Unfortunately it is quite hard or even impossible to simply connect a smartphone with a typical microcontroller, such as a ATMega or an Arduino.
With the new Sparkfun IOIO board (pronounced “yo-yo”) communication with your Android smartphone gets really easy. You just have to connect the IOIO board with your smartphone over USB or Bluetooth and the board is completely controllable out of your custom Android App. So you are free to implement applications such as remote controlled bots or a remote intruder detection system. No embedded programming or external programmer is needed to program the IOIO board. The IOIO board contains a single microcontroller that acts as a USB host and interprets commands from an Android app. In addition, the IOIO can interact with peripheral devices in the same way as most microcontroller. Digital Input/Output, PWM, Analog Input, I2C, SPI, and UART control can all be used with the IOIO. This is really an amazing little board that opens the implementation of completely new and autonomous physical computing applications!