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iPad IOS support — Parallax Forums

iPad IOS support

AE5QBAE5QB Posts: 3
edited 2014-08-18 14:00 in BASIC Stamp
Any chance that Parallax will come out with an iPad app that supports the Basic Stamp Editor? I have several Boe-Bots in my classroom and we are a 1:1 iPad classroom. I don't have any windows based systems to program the things except for my personal laptop. It would nice to see iPad and IOS support for these products.

Comments

  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 23,046
    edited 2014-04-18 11:31
    Probably not. There are a bunch of hurdles involved not the least of which is that there's no easy way to get the data/program to/from the iPad to the Stamp. The iPad has no serial ports other than the USB port used to hookup to iTunes and Apple doesn't allow anyone to make a generic serial port adapter for IOS. One company does make a serial port adapter, but it's tied to specific apps. Parallax would need to make a significant investment in such an interface and its matching app. You probably won't spend the amount of money necessary to produce such a device.

    There is some work underway to use the xBee WiFi module from Digi since any IOS program can open an internet "socket" and transfer data over it. You'd need the WiFi module and some kind of microcontroller to interface from the xBee to the Stamp for downloading a program. This still would involve a lot of development and some significant cost on a per iPad / per Stamp basis, but probably is more feasible than the serial interface version. The current project is for the Propeller using a web-based compiler / assembler, the xBee WiFi module, and a simple interface from the xBee module to the Propeller board (like the Propeller Activity Board or Propeller Board of Education which already have an xBee socket). A Propeller Activity Board plus xBee WiFi module would cost about $50 + $33 = $83.
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 7,327
    edited 2014-04-18 11:34
    Hello AE5QB,

    I've got to answer with an explanation around the Propeller before I say "yes" or "no" to your inquiry, around the BASIC Stamp.

    We are currently in the middle of designing an iOS interface for the iPad for the Propeller (ActivityBot). It's a wireless interface using XBee on the robot side, without additional hardware hanging off the iPad. Our efforts have been a two-step process. The first step was to get a functional downloader working where you can select your own code and download (no editing). With this part working we're now looking into porting Simple IDE to iOS. There's also a bit of detail around it right here: http://www.parallax.com/news/2014-03-18/parallax-support-ipadiphone-based-propeller-application-downloads-propeller

    So there are three parts to making this work with Propeller:

    1. Downloader (working)
    2. Downloader and code editing (in process)
    3. Hardware changes to Propeller Activity Board (TBD, still trying to get away without a co-processor)

    We have to finish the Propeller work first with iOS, and then we can look into the BASIC Stamp. However, the Propeller has far more complex issues in terms of program size, timing requirements, and file management. We think that if we can finish this with the Propeller then the BASIC Stamp would be quite easy to support on iOS. The tokenizer is written in C and Jeff has already compiled it in X-Code. However, nothing comes free in terms of hardware - we'd need to make a new Board of Education that has a WiFi socket. You can see how the steps add up.

    If all goes well, we'd have a turnkey solution for your class by this time next year. We're working on it, as fast as we can, but the issues are often complex - especially if we want it to be simple for the user.

    Please feel free to check back in with us on this item.

    Ken Gracey
    KI6HBT
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 23,046
    edited 2014-04-18 12:11
    That's great news about the tokenizer and the downloader. I wasn't aware of the ongoing plans to do the same sort of thing for the Stamps that's underway for the Propeller. There are some existing program editors for IOS, particularly the iPad. It might be useful to piggyback on one of these. Textastic is one that I've used. I can imagine using that with a compiler / downloader. It has an "Open in ..." selector that can send the current text file to another application like a compiler / downloader app. It interfaces to Dropbox and other servers and can function as its own webserver.
  • AE5QBAE5QB Posts: 3
    edited 2014-04-19 18:51
    I'll admit, I am not an IOS developer so I don't understand all the details, but it seems to me that the apple camera adapter (USB interface) for the iPad should be an easy match to the stamp boards that have USB built in like the board of education that comes with the BoeBot. I would think the editor and downloader should not be that difficult to develop. I guess I need to look into this a little further. It seems as if an app for just about anything is available these days. I can interface to my ham radio equipment via USB so I wouldn't think it should be that difficult, for the stamp but again, what do I know, I have never written an app. Thanks for the information.
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 23,046
    edited 2014-04-19 20:55
    IOS doesn't allow app access to anything other than memory card devices for photos and maybe keyboards via the camera adapter. It does not allow access to serial ports that way. Apple is very restrictive on what can connect to the USB port. The camera adapter is not a general purpose USB adapter for sure. The only general purpose connection is via the internet. Connections to the serial port on the plug in connector require a special Apple-supplied password chip. Bluetooth is similarly restricted to only Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol as well as audio and audio device control connections. No Bluetooth serial port protocol (SPP) is allowed.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 14,386
    edited 2014-04-20 20:16
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    However, the Propeller has far more complex issues in terms of program size, timing requirements, and file management.
    Have you been able to get your loader to work reliably on a busy network? I would think that the timing issues would be difficult to resolve when packets get delayed because of network congestion. How did you solve that problem?
  • Chris SavageChris Savage Parallax Engineering Posts: 14,406
    edited 2014-05-07 10:20
    Did you try turning it off and on again?

    This is a not a logical reply to the content of the thread and the second such reply from a new member.
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,820
    edited 2014-08-17 19:12
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    So there are three parts to making this work with Propeller:

    1. Downloader (working)
    2. Downloader and code editing (in process)
    3. Hardware changes to Propeller Activity Board (TBD, still trying to get away without a co-processor)

    Ken,

    Can you elaborate on item 3. above ?
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 7,327
    edited 2014-08-17 20:33
    jmg wrote: »
    Ken,

    Can you elaborate on item 3. above ?

    Yes. 3. We will need to connect the XBee socket Tx/Rx/RST to three Propeller pins and provide a physical switch to go from WiFi to USB programming and back and forth. We will not need a co-processor to do this job.

    In regards to #2, the developer Mike Westerfield of ByteWorks (he's on these forums) needed to take a short break but this week he reported positive progress on the actual edit/compiling aspect. I have no idea how it works, but it seems like he's got the whole GCC toolchain running on the iPad. Soon we shall find out.

    Ken Gracey
  • ValeTValeT Posts: 308
    edited 2014-08-18 08:27
    Mr. Gracey,

    Does this problem apply to any mobile device? So would you encounter the same thing if you did this on an Android device?

    I understand this may be a stupid question, but I would like to use my android device to build a remote controller for my Arlo, and would like to know if I am getting into something over my head :).
  • jmgjmg Posts: 14,820
    edited 2014-08-18 14:00
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    Yes. 3. We will need to connect the XBee socket Tx/Rx/RST to three Propeller pins and provide a physical switch to go from WiFi to USB programming and back and forth. We will not need a co-processor to do this job.

    I think I have a solution to download without a link RST (DTR) line. If the NPN.R.C is replaced with a 74AUP1T58 (~10c) then the HW can support either RST via RXD or RST via DTR.
    It then just needs a small change to the send end at the DTR time, to add a Break String.
    More detail @

    http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php/156842-Xilinx-port-started...?p=1287492&viewfull=1#post1287492
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