Build One

You can build your own DroidOrb!

Why would you want to build your own DroidOrb? Well, for starters, you will score yourself a bedside/desktop charger for your phone with an external notification LED. Secondly, you can get involved in the project by adding functionality or contributing case designs, etc. Thirdly, you can use it as a base for your own Android accessory. You could add your own DroidOrb module (for example, an LED clock to mimick a real bedside alarm clock). Finally, it’s a lot of fun and relatively easy!

Requirements

You will need the following to build this DroidOrb prototype:

Hardware:
- Arduino Uno board
- Sparkfun USB Host shield
- 3 LEDs: Red, Green, and Blue (preferably high-bright clear type)
One RGB LED would work even better
- 3x 470 ohm resistors (1k should be fine too)
- 9V or 12V battery or wall plug to power the Arduino and charge the phone
- breadboard for ease, but you can solder the components onto the space
provided on the USB host shield if you want to
- Android phone/tablet with USB cable

Optional:
- Table tennis ball for the orb
- Some masking tape to help diffuse the LED light (stick a small piece over the LED’s)

Software:
- Arduino development environment
- Microbridge library for Arduino: http://code.google.com/p/microbridge/

Construction

- Connect the USB host shield to the Arduino Uno board
- Connect pin 3 to the Blue LED, via a 470 ohm resistor to ground
- Connect pin 5 to the Green LED, via a 470 ohm resistor to ground
- Connect pin 6 to the Red LED, via a 470 ohm resistor to ground

Optional:
- Cut a small circle off the table tennis ball
- Stick a small piece of masking tape over the top of the LEDs
- Place the table tennis ball over the LEDS and stick in place with Prestik or similar

- Connect Arduino to your laptop/PC
- Fire up the Arduino IDE, load the droid_orb.pde project
- Compile and upload the firmware
- If you get compile errors, perhaps you didn’t install the microbridge library into your Arduino libraries folder?

Usage

- Connect the 9V (or 12V) power to the Arduino board
- Enable USB Debugging on your Android phone
- Use Android SDK to compile and upload the Android app to your phone, or alternatively, download the “DroidOrb” app from the Android Market
- Unplug the phone from your PC/laptop and plug it into the Arduino USB host shield port
- Open the DroidOrb app
- It should say “accessory connected”. If not, there is a problem somewhere. Try resetting the Arduino. Also monitor the serial output to spot any problems.
- Click the “Test” button to see the red LED pulsate
- Use the sliders to set the inidividual brightness of each LED, then click “Set Colour” to apply the setting

Where to from here? View the Wiki for the latest project details, browse the Issues list and source code, and contribute!