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To infinity and beyond: Using external hardware components with the BlackBerry PlayBook

By Adam Zeis on 2 Dec 2011 09:53 am EST

When we think of the BlackBerry PlayBook, we don't really think "above and beyond" for the most part. We see the tablet, maybe an HDMI cable running to an external display, but that's about it. But what about using external hardware components to do some really cool stuff? That's just what the guys at The Astonishing Tribe have done with some fun stuff from Arduino (Arduino is essentially an open source electronics platform). They've pieced together a sweet infrared scanner that works flawlessy with a sonar-like PlayBook application. The fun implementation here is protecting the fridge from milk thieves, but just imagine what can be done with some hardware and a great app. Check out the video above to see it in action, then hit the link below for more info.

Check out more at the BlackBerry Developers Blog

Reader comments

To infinity and beyond: Using external hardware components with the BlackBerry PlayBook


it connects through a usb cable but (and i might be wrong) but they do not mention usb support, which suggests that pb does not have a host controller. hence all those usb devices we know wont work....

How about now making some updates to the scrapbook application? Export, Slideshow, import backgrounds -- stuff that might make it useful? What about publishing off some of the apps that they showed off at MWC 2011? That would be REALLY sweet.

kingbernie06511, actually we know that the PB does have USB host mode capability, but they simply haven't released the driver support for us yet... expected in some form in 2.0 and there's lots of code for it already (inaccessible to us) in the 2.0 beta.

That said, I still have no idea if that alien-detector was using unreleased host mode on PB, or host mode on the Arduino side... but it was probably the latter.

They showed this off at DevCon and I was able to talk to the TAT guys. They said that the PlayBook was the USB host and that the functionality was definitely coming. I actually showed this in the forums a while back.

Are the TAT guys goign to do anything good for RIM? Latest I herard was the news BBX phones will have the same interface as Playbook. Not good enough.

They need to stay on task with production updates. RIM is not Google, at the top of their game with time to spare on side projects. Kinda pissed me off to see this.

This is awesome. Now, if someone can just develop a means to attach an external card reader to the Playbook via USB so my photos can be transferred directly from the compactflash card to the Playbook for viewing and manipulation, I can leave my netbook at home when I travel.

IF "they release USB Host.. then the possibilities are unlimited :)" I can see the being apprehensive about this - especially after the recent "jailbreaking", they're going to be double sure not to tarnish they're security reputation.

That said, I'd love to be able to use external storage media since they forgot to include microSD.

where did my comment go......

"I need to Protect my fridge from my kids!!" Posted this monrinrnrngggg

Add an app for an external hard drive then I will get excited. I'm sure they won't though. Too money hungry...