During the company’s I/O keynote today, Google announced a new and powerful accessory design kit (ADK) that aims to merge the physical and digital worlds. Using the ADK and a hardware interface, developers can allow digital devices to manipulate physical objects. To illustrate this point, Google constructed a two-ton labyrinth right on the show floor. Using the gyroscope on a Motorola XOOM tablet, conference goers were able to try their hand at manipulating a bowling ball through the over-sized maze. Other potential uses for the technology ranges from turning lights and appliances on and off to providing physical alerts for digital events — why have your phone make an audible alert when it could move or manipulate a physical object in your home or office? The possibilities are endless, but this giant board was just too cool to not share. Hit the jump to watch a video of the big boy in action. More →
Google just announced Android Open Accessory, which will allow developers to create accessories that take advantage of software installed on Android devices. Google will offer hardware and software support for the open accessory design kit (ADK) there’s no approval process or fees. In one demo, a Google employee showed off a device with a USB accessory called CardioQuest for monitoring his heartbeat while exercising. In another, a user controlled the classic labyrinth board game using his tablet. In yet another demo, Google demoed the power of its ADK with a life-sized labyrinth controlled by a tablet. Android Open Accessory allows accessory makers to create apps that take advantage of the accessory — if an owner plugs a device into their phone, the user will be prompted to install the corresponding software. It’s available for Honeycomb and Gingerbread devices and works with USB now but Bluetooth support is coming in the future.