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Connecting iOS to the Real World with Arduino

Alasdair Allan (The Thing System, Inc.), Brian Jepson (O'Reilly Media, Inc.)
Open Hardware
Location: Portland 251
Average rating: ****.
(4.33, 9 ratings)

Modern smart phone platforms, like Apple’s iPhone, come with a growing range of sensors; GPS, accelerometers, magnetometers and more recently gyroscopes. They also have a (near-)ubiquitous data connection, whether via a local wireless hotspot or via carrier data, and user positioning via multiple methods including GPS.

They would make an excellent hub for a distributed sensor network. However it is actually quite difficult to interface these otherwise interesting devices using standard serial devices. In the case of the iPhone the proprietary dock connector is a major stumbling block. During this session we will present several different methods which will allow you to connect any iOS device to an Ardunio, or in some case directly to an XBee mesh-network.

We will first discuss the official route, using the MFI approved Redpark serial cable, this makes use of Apple’s own External Accessory Framework. Whilst the most expensive route, it is also the simplest. However in addition to this we will go on to discuss using the headset interface to enable communication with external serial devices, this is a fairly well trodden route with several well known examples such as the Square credit card reader. Finally we will look at more off-the-wall routes such as repurposing the official MIDI interfaces, as well as the ANT+ protocol.

Photo of Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan

The Thing System, Inc.

Alasdair Allan is a Scientist, Author, Hacker and Tinkerer, and co-founder of a startup working on fixing the Internet of Things.

He is the author of a number of books, and from time to time he also stands in front of cameras. You can often find him at conferences talking about interesting things, or deploying sensors to measure them. He recently rolled out a mesh network of five hundred sensors motes covering the entire of Moscone West during Google I/O. He’s still recovering.

He sporadically writes blog posts about things that interest him, or more frequently provides commentary in 140 characters or less. He is a contributing editor for MAKE magazine, and a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar.

A few years ago he caused a privacy scandal by uncovering that your iPhone was recording your location all the time. This caused several class action lawsuits and a U.S. Senate hearing. Several years on, he still isn’t sure what to think about that.

Alasdair is a former academic. As part of his work he built a distributed peer-to-peer network of telescopes which, acting autonomously, reactively scheduled observations of time-critical events. Notable successes included contributing to the detection of±what was at the time—the most distant object yet discovered, a gamma-ray burster at a redshift of 8.2.

Photo of Brian Jepson

Brian Jepson

O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Brian Jepson is an editor for O’Reilly Media; he covers a number of areas, including Arduino, wireless sensor networks, mobile devices, as well as some Microsoft and Apple topics.

He likes to hack on gadgets such as Arduino and the Netduino in his spare time, and he is also the co-founder and co-host of Providence Geeks, a monthly gathering in Providence, RI.

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Comments

Jason Phillips
08/16/2011 5:13pm PDT

Would have really liked to attend this but couldn’t because of another session at same time