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Droid Hack Controls Printers, Cameras, Others

Hackers have figured out a way to enable the Motorola Droid to play host to a variety of Linux-based USB devices. This means that the smartphone can directly connect and control printers, TV tuners, video cameras, and many other devices that speak Linux. The mod was created by Mike Baker of OpenWRT and Mike Kershaw from Kismet, and shared with the public by Chris Paget in this blog.

Fortunately, this "hack" doesn't require a re-installation of the Android OS. Instead, it merely requires a charging cable donning a cigarette lighter adapter, a USB extender cable, and a micro-USB cable--all of this will used to make an improvised micro-dongle and a connector cable.

The blog indicates that it's an easy step to connect the Droid to the peripheral: merely turn off the device, plug the micro-dongle into the USB port, and then turn the Droid back on. Once the Motorola logo disappears, owners simply unplug the micro-dongle.

"You don’t even need to root your Droid in order to verify it works," the blog states. "Once your Droid is booted, pull up a terminal and look at dmesg--after plugging in your USB peripheral using the cable you made earlier you should see the usual kernel notifications about new USB devices being connected; they’ll also turn on (or start charging) if they’re powered by USB."

The blog also states that the standard Android kernel doesn't offer much in USB peripheral driver support. However Paget said that Droid owners will see a whole new generation of Android "hackery" soon. Sounds like a good day to upgrade.

  • mi1ez
    Amazing!
    Reply
  • mtyermom
    Incredible possibilities! Weee!
    Reply
  • Am I the only one barely able to parse the language in this article? Worse. Sentence Structures. Ever.
    Reply
  • JohnnyLucky
    Defintely different from the typical hacker articles we read.
    Reply
  • Zoonie
    USB host connectivity on the go:
    --------------------------------
    Droid 1
    iPad 0
    Reply
  • thedreadfather
    ZoonieUSB host connectivity on the go:--------------------------------Droid 1iPad 0iDon't
    Droid does
    Reply
  • idisarmu
    Linux.Kevin ParrishHackers have devices of a USB cable that enables the Droid to control printers, cameras, and other Linux-based USB devices.

    This means that the smartphone can directly connect and control printers, TV tuners, video cameras, and many other devices that speak
    The headline could be cleaned up a little. I would say: Hackers enabled the Droid to control printers, cameras, and other Linux-based USB devices.

    I have another question: Do the devices have to run Linux themselves or do they simply have to be Linux compatible? I'm guessing it's the latter because I have never heard of mainstream printers that run Linux. I'm pretty sure that the devices only need to have a Linux driver available for them for them to work with Android. (Though they will probably have to be modified to work with Android.)
    Reply
  • pythy
    "You don’t even need to root your Droid in order to verify it works,"

    Phew, that would've hurt....
    Reply
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    idisarmuI have another question: Do the devices have to run Linux themselves or do they simply have to be Linux compatible? Most USB devices have support built into the Linux kernel. Sometimes you need to download drivers for, say, a printer or camera, but usually it's the Linux kernel's built-in hardware support doing all the work.
    Reply
  • virtualban
    now let's see how this fares in the open market and in the customer's choices... hmm... having a good feeling.
    Reply