“Siri” for Android, written in App Inventor

Eric Payne has created an Apple Siri – like interface in App Inventor.

You can download his App Inventor source code here from Google Drive. Note that Google Drive displays the content of the .aia file (it is just a .zip file). Click on the “download arrow” icon at top center to download the .aia file to your computer, and then import the .aia file into your App Inventor account.

(This is posted here with Eric’s permission. Thanks Eric!)

Also check out the APP INVENTOR STUDY GROUP on Facebook!


How to connect App Inventor apps to Arduino using Bluetooth wireless

How to Connect App Inventor apps to Arduino Using Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a low power, short range wireless technology built in to many phones, tablets and other devices.

MIT App Inventor 2 supports a set of Bluetooth communication functions that may be used to send data between smart phones and tablets (see previous tutorials: Part 1, Part 2)

This capability may be extended so that App Inventor apps can communicate with Arduino-based devices and other embedded systems.

This tutorial describes how to interface App Inventor apps running on Android to Arduino devices, via the Bluetooth wireless link.

What is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is an industry standard for low power, short range wireless communications between devices such as personal computers, printers, smart phones, tablets, wireless headphones, wireless stereo speakers, sensor systems (like in security alarms) and other applications.

To learn more about Bluetooth technology (and why it has a funny name!), please read our first tutorial on Bluetooth.

What is Arduino?

Arduino is an open hardware, open software platform for building small electronic devices. The Arduino board is a “microcontroller” – that is, a complete – albeit small, inexpensive and with limited function – computer. Arduino is a popular choice for do-it-yourself projects and is well established in the “Maker” community of DIY project builders. (Side note: I will be at the San Francisco Maker Faire on Saturday, May 16th, 2015).

This is not a tutorial about Arduino boards, software or electronics and presumes the reader is familiar with Arduino development. To learn more about Arduino (and you should learn more about it!) start at the Arduino web site.

This tutorial assumes you have the Arduino software development environment installed on your computer and are familiar with Arduino development.

HARDWARE: Setting Up Arduino for Bluetooth Wireless Communications

There are several versions of the Arduino board; I used the Uno version but others should work just fine.

The Arduino board does not contain Bluetooth hardware – to implement Bluetooth requires using a third-party Bluetooth module. I use the JY-MCU Bluetooth module . IMPORTANT – not all Bluetooth modules will work with App Inventor!  While new versions of Android support all versions of Bluetooth, App Inventor (at the time of this writing) supports “classic” Bluetooth only. In particular, App Inventor does not support the newer Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) version, at least it does not support the Bluetooth LE module that I have.

I can confirm that the JY-MCU Bluetooth module works but the Bluetooth LE modules I have do not work with App Inventor.  My phone can see the Bluetooth LE device but the App Inventor source code cannot communicate with the LE devices.

Where to buy the JY-MCU Module online: Amazon (Prime), Amazon (non-Prime)

The module is also available from other vendors.

Photo shows my Arduino UNO board, at left, a prototyping breadboard with a status LED set up, and the JY-MCU Bluetooth module, just above the breadboard.

DSC_1266Click through to  see how the Arduino and Bluetooth module are setup, and get the Arduino source code and the App Inventor source code!

Continue reading How to connect App Inventor apps to Arduino using Bluetooth wireless

Coming soon: Bluetooth to connect Android App Inventor code to Arduino

I  have an App Inventor app running on my Nexus 5 and talking to an Arduino board via Bluetooth. I finally had a chance to work on this!

UPDATE: Here is the link to the final code and tutorial information!

What I have  now is some experimental code not suitable for posting online. I will be revising this code to turn it into a simple example that will provide basic functionality, and then present a tutorial on putting it to use in your own applications.

Update Tuesday Cinco de Mayo (in the U.S.): I have the demo code up and running. Next up is to test and write up the tutorial! It’s coming! The first tutorial will be simple – intended to get you up and running.  I will eventually create some more advanced features.

Longer term, I may create a more general solution for passing data packets back and forth between an Android App Inventor app and an Arduino board, so that many types of applications may be supported using my basic code library.

Arduino is a small microcontroller board used by hobbyists and others to add computing to small devices, art projects, robots, Internet connected devices and much more. Arduino is not part of App Inventor. Arduino is, for an “embedded system” easy to use in terms of building electronics hardware and writing control software. By writing App Inventor code to talk to an Arduino board, we open an entire world of new possibilities using simplified development (App Inventor on Android, and Arduino on the hardware side).

  • Use your phone or tablet to remote control an Arduino device over a Bluetooth link
  • Use an Arduino device to monitor remote sensors, and then link sensor inputs to an Android phone over Bluetooth
  • Conceptually, an Arduino device could monitor local sensors (temperature, humidity, security alarms), and transmit sensor data to an Android phone, which, in turn, could forward the data onto an Internet location.