About this project
"The 1Sheeld, a single shield that lets you replace all of those other shields with your smartphone. Today, that project went up on Kickstarter and almost immediately destroyed its fundraising goal." -- TechCrunch
What is 1Sheeld?
1Sheeld is a new easily configured shield for Arduino. It is connected to a mobile app that allow the usage of all of Android smartphones' capabilities such as LCD Screen, Gyroscope, Switches, LEDs, Accelerometer, Magnetometer, GSM, Wi-Fi, GPS …etc. into your Arduino sketch.
Basically, our product consists of two parts. The first part is a shield that is physically connected to your Arduino board and acts as a wireless middle-man, piping data between Arduino and any Android smartphone via Bluetooth. The second part is a software platform and app on Android smartphones that manages the communication between our shield and your smartphone and let your choose between different available shields.
By doing that, you can use 1Sheeld as input or output from Arduino and make use of all of the sensors and peripherals already available on your Android smartphone instead of buying the actual shields. You can use it to control an RC car using the phone's gyroscope, or even tweet when someone enters the room!
The objective of our product is to provide faster and cheaper ways of prototyping your Arduino projects.
We introduced a new dimension to Arduino shields, by using the power of smartphones to simplify the electronics prototyping process, we will provide the best and the most convenient solution for hobbyists who need affordable prototyping with the lowest costs.
So, by comparing the price of 1Sheeld to the prices of some other shields eg. GPS shield, Wi-Fi shield, GSM Shield, you will find that these shields will result in paying more than $200! With 1Sheeld you get an expandable platform with all the shields you want for less than $50!
How does it work?
Simply write your sketch using our own library and upload it to Arduino, physically connect 1Sheeld to Arduino, pair it with your Android smartphone, and you are good to go! Open our app and select the shields you want to use and power your Arduino sketches with the huge capabilities of your Android device.
What can you do with 1Sheeld?
Sky is the limit! You have a powerful Android smartphone that can be used to control your RC car, tweet when plants are thirsty, and have fun playing with your friends.
This is just a fraction of what you can actually do with 1Sheeld, possibilities are endless!
…and you can hook it up with Tasker!
Of course you can control your home with your phone and Arduino, like controlling heat, ventilation and air conditioning, yard watering, pet feeding and the list goes on. However, we have integrated a plugin to Tasker on Android, by linking Tasker to the hardware; you get a whole new experience of home automation. You can use any hardware event to trigger an action on the phone or vice versa, you can use a phone event to trigger an action on the hardware. The possibilities are endless!
How does it work under the hood?
1Sheeld is running a custom version of Firmata protocol which allows our micro-controller to scan each pin of the Arduino really fast and send a report to our app when any pin changes its status. You can use this functionality out-of-the-box without the need for our library. There is another mode also which relies totally on the Serial peripheral of the Arduino (Pins 0,1), here our library comes in hand, we built a protocol above the Firmata protocol to send huge amount of data to a specific shield on our app, that allowed us to implement LCD, Twitter, Seven Segment ..etc. with only two pins from Arduino instead of taking a whole port.
How to use the app?
It is a simple two screens app. The first screen shows you a list of all of the available shields, you can select the shields you want and click next to go to the second screen. In this screen you'll have all of your selected shields on the right and you can toggle between them. The shields using our library will not need any more configuration. Other shields relying on the pins of Arduino will need to be configured using the connect button on the shield screen.
Our library can't be easier!
We tried as much as we can to reduce the complexity of writing Arduino sketches using our library. Many of our library interfaces are the same as the original Arduino libraries interfaces, so most of your old sketches will run using our shield with minimal modifications.
We tried also to minimize the complexity of all of the internet shields (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare...etc) so you can post to your favorite social platform from Arduino with only one line of code. We encapsulated all of overhead logic inside the library so you focus more on your own logic.
So what shields will you get?
We have already developed a variety of shields for 1Sheeld like LED, Toggle Button, Buzzer, Slider, LCD, 7-Segment, Keypad, Music Player, Game Pad, Notifications, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Gyroscope, SMS, Flashlight and Mic. And we have many other shields coming in the pipeline.
And what else? You tell us! We are open for suggestions for new shields, share with us your ideas
Add your own shields?
We intend to make the platform as open as possible, that's why we will release development specifications and APIs to ease to Android developers to make their own shields based on our platform, developers then can upload these shields to Google play store. Thus, you will have only one physical Arduino shield and unlimited number of shields!
Is it Open Source?
Yes !! We've benefited a lot from the open source community, and we're dedicated to give back. 1Sheeld is a totally open source hardware & software product. All of our hardware design files (schematic, board design, and bill of materials), the firmware and our Android app will be open source. So, anyone can build his own version of our platform.
But why use 1Sheeld?
We provided a much faster way for prototyping because the app has all different kinds of shields, so you can easily download the shields from the Google Play store instead of physically buying them from an electronics store or ordering them online, which takes a longer time. Once you are finished with prototyping and testing with 1Sheeld, you can go and buy the physical shields you need.
- Uses a standard HC-06 Bluetooth adapter (Bluetooth 2.1)
- Range up to 30 feet
- Running on an Atmel ATMega162
- 16 MHz operating frequency
- Communicate with Arduino using UART
Manufacturing and Shipping
We are manufacturing with our partner in China, NOA Labs and we managed to make a logistical hub between Egypt and the US, this means that shipping is included for any shields shipped inside Egypt and US!
Our Progress So Far
Our first prototypes were based on Arduino Uno running a custom version of Firmata protocol. We then decided to go with ATMega162 for the final version as it has two dedicated hardware UARTs.
The Story Behind 1Sheeld
If you are a geek like us, then you like to experiment a lot, tinker and hack electronics to make them do things they weren't intended to do. We have built many useful projects at home using Arduino, and we liked the fact that it has various accessories that increase its functionality.
If you want to connect it with Bluetooth, it's easy buy the Bluetooth shield, you need to connect it to the Internet, no problem go buy the WiFi shield, and the list goes on and on. We then realized that most of these functionalities and peripherals already exist on most of the Android smartphones out there, even if we need some buttons, a smartphone can display them on its touch screen!
That's when 1Sheeld idea came out, if we have a shield that acts as a gateway between the Arduino and the smartphone, that would make Arduino access all of the phone capabilities and vice versa, and it would even introduce shields and accessories that don't exist yet. All of that can be done without buying the actual shields, just 1Sheeld and our Android app.
Our mission is to empower the maker community, and we are doing that by developing innovative electronic prototyping and educational solutions. That’s why we designed 1Sheeld to be as simple and as easy as possible so that anyone can use it. Our dream is to make everyone a maker regardless of their technical capabilities or financial limitations.
We all come from a technical background, we studied together at Helwan university, school of engineering, we worked together for more than 3 years on a lot of projects including this one. Our majors varies from Electronics, Communications and Computer engineering.
Our hardware design team lead, he designs everything from electronic circuits, PCBs to GUIs to all our branding materials including our websites and flyers, he holds a Bs.c in electronics & communications engineering.
(tweet to him: @NashatSalman)
Amr manages it all, he serves as our CEO, he is an entrepreneur by the book and an award-winning pitching guru who can get things done.
(tweet to him: @AmrooSaleh)
A Geek by nature, he’s the one who came up with the idea of 1Sheeld, he can code anything on any device!
A moving software developing machine! he holds a Bs.c in computer engineering and serves as our CTO.
(tweet to him: @iSsO)
The most creative guy in our team, he find solutions to our toughest problems with the lowest costs. he also serves as our embedded systems engineer.
(tweet to him: @AmroNasr)
Responsible for operations, handles logistics, he’s the one responsible for following up on the manufacturing, assembly and shipping of our products.
(tweet to him: @mohamedsamiali)
About the Video
We had a great time filming the video, it was filmed in two locations, our previous home Flat6labs the start-up accelerator based in Giza where we started, and the amazing co-working space Qafeer Labs in 6th of October City.
All applications in the video were implemented using 1Sheeld, it took us 2 days of shooting and a lot more in editing!
P.S: No Arduinos or shields were harmed during “The Battle of Makers" !
We hope you are as excited about 1Sheeld as we are, we can't wait to get it in your hands! We’d like to thank the amazing community in Egypt for their support and we'd also like to thank Flat6Labs, and we'd like to give a special thanks to Qafeer Labs, and Ahmed Talaat for their awesome support :)
It's time to take action now! Spread the word, share, tweet about it, let everyone know about the idea! Tell everyone YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF!!
If you know any bloggers, help us connect with them, the more PR we get the more this will help us in our mission.
If you have any ideas of Shields we might add please let us know! We are open for any suggestions and we are always flexible for new ideas!
If you are a media representative, you can get our press kit here.
Risks and challenges
We completed the design and testing of our prototypes, our next step is to order larger quantities of mass production, we are partnering with our friends in China NOA LABS for delivering high quality products, our main concern is to make sure that the final products are working properly so we have to order some samples and test them first here in Egypt.
We have a time plan taking in consideration the logistics and shipping, of course there are some issues that might come up in this period but we will be transparent with every single step we take and every single challenge that we face.
And for the final products, they will be shipped from China directly to USA.
No, don't worry about that, we have a hub between the US and Egypt so shipping is included whether you are in the US or In Egypt :)
At the moment, you can only connect one 1Sheeld to our app at the same time.
In IOIO and Google ADK boards you need to have deep Android development experience to use them (have to build your own Android app or use an open source one) and they are not plug-and-play devices, but we are. With our product, you can download the app directly from the Google Play store, hook 1Sheeld to your Arduino and you are good to go.
Mainly due to cost, we wanted to make our product as affordable as possible! The HC-06 is one of the cheapest reliable adapters on the market. However, we are actively considering a change to a more powerful longer range adapter.
We were hoping to do it, but due to some technical limitations and constraints on iOS, we are afraid we won’t be able to develop a solid solution anytime soon. The Android platform is more open when compared to iOS and it more effectively supports the core functionalities we are offering. Our key constraint on iOS is the inability to run the app in an always on background mode,
Yup, our shield should work with any Arduino boards as long as they have the shields’ form factor and are compatible with Arduino Uno shields in general.
Our current testing has been preformed on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above but our app doesn't require any high-end smart phone features(At least for most of the available shields on the app). In the final version, we intend to support Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and above - provided that the mobile device supports Bluetooth and has the basic peripherals and sensors (e.g., You can't use a Gyroscope shield on a device that doesn't have the Gyroscope hardware).
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