What Happens When a Raspberry Pi Controls a Smartphone Robot?
(Photo : Screenshot From Kickstarter Website) What Happens When a Raspberry Pi Controls a Smartphone Robot?

What happens when a Raspberry Pi gets control of a smartphone robot? Since this technically hasn't been done before, the findings are quite peculiar for those that know what a Raspberry Pi is usually capable of doing.

Raspberri Pi with Romo

According to the story by Hackaday, a number of gadgets that are capable of interface with smartphones have quite a short lifespan and mostly end up as general e-waste.

This is unless hackers decide to give them another life as seen in the case of Romo, a particularly small smartphone-controlled robot.

The article noted that David Goeken was able to successfully reverse-engineer the communication protocol in order to allow Romo to be controlled by the Raspberry Pi, or the device's microcontroller.

The Romo was originally a small iPhone-controlled robot that was previously brought to the market along with a Kickstarter campaign that launched back in 2013.

iPhone Originally Used for Smartrobot

It originally used the particular audio jack coming from the iPhone for the device's control interface.

However, this was then quickly followed by a more updated version that used the previous iPhone 4's 30 pin connector, as well as the Lightning port later on.

Although there are a number of Raspberry Pi projects out there, this could potentially be another interesting one for enthusiasts should it be made public.

Romotive is the company behind Romo, and eventually, they actually went out of business.

However, quite fortunately, they were able to open-source their iOS app as well as the firmware. This has reportedly led to a number of other third-party apps currently on the official app store.

Reverse-Engineering the Protocol

David reportedly wanted to use other particular hardcore for the control, so he started to reverse-engineer the actual protocol using the particular open-source software as well as a logic analyzer.

Quite unsurprisingly, it uses a particular serial interface in order to both send and receive commands.

This is through two additional pins that were used to detect the connection, as well as wake up the Romo. After initially breaking out the actual interface header on the board, he was then able to modify the Romo in order to mount a particular Raspberry Pi Zero, and power it through the device's internal battery.

Read Also: Windows 11 Runs on the Raspberry Pi; Does this Mean Microsoft's System Requirements Are Bogus?

Raspberry Pi Experiment

David noted that he hasn't made the code available to the public as of the moment, however, it reportedly sounds that he plans to do so.

It also looks like the Romo can actually be a little fun experimentation platform and can reportedly be found at an affordable price on eBay.

Aside from the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino is also another interesting device to tinker with.

The article reportedly covered another pretty cool Romo hack back in 2014. This particular project used a certain projector and vision system in order to create Mariokart-like game.

For a smartphone robot that is completely open-source, check out the particular OpenBot.

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Written by Urian B.

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