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Thread: Writing an app that uses the iPhone in USB host mode?

  1. #1
    Default Writing an app that uses the iPhone in USB host mode?
    I am looking to write an app that will connect to an electronic device in USB host mode and allow me to change the settings of the device. The device is a 3 axis gyro used on a helicopter called the Mikado Vbar. They already have piece of software that will allow you to change settings and go through the setup on pc and mac, but I would like to do this on my iPhone so I don’t have to carry my laptop to the field when I go flying.

    The software itself is just sliders and text boxes to enter values in, it’s the USB host mode that is hard part(for me). Mikado is willing to share the protocol needed to communicate with the Vbar unit, and the application itself is simple(sliders on different tabs), it's connecting in USB host mode that I don’t have any idea how to do.

    Can anyone tell me how to write an app(jailbroken) and use the iPhone in USB host mode?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ForceFedDSM View Post
    Can anyone tell me how to write an app(jailbroken) and use the iPhone in USB host mode?
    Nope.

    Its possible that the USB chipset in the iPhone has support for host mode functionality, but its not supported by iOS. Its not hooked anywhere in the API and nobody has had any luck at all enabling it manually.

    On the other hand, there IS a USB device that might help-
    particularly if you have an iPad (or access to one).

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MC531ZM/A

    The iPad "camera connection kit" is a fairly small dongle that connects to the dock port and provides a standard USB-A port out.
    It appears to work with USB flash memory, and HID devices, just fine.

    What I'm NOT sure is what the dongle actually does- if it simply connects "usb host" pins from the iPad's dock or if it contains an independent host adaptor itself. It doesn't work out of the box with a standard iPhone / iPod though. (lack of OS support, or lack of hardware, or something else?).

    Only $30 for a pair, so you get one to tear apart and still have one that works

    How to talk to it? I'm not sure. I might suggest you contact the BTstack people, as they've done similar work with similar devices (Bluetooth).
    An iPad to test things on would probably help a lot, as the dongle is already "natively supported". Good luck, and please let us know if you get anything working.
    Last edited by raduga; 2010-10-21 at 12:21 AM.

  3. #3
    Thanks for the reply dj. I do have an iPad, so hopefully I can find someone who has used the camera connection kit in an app they wrote(that way I can find out how to access it in my app). Where can I find the BTstack people?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ForceFedDSM View Post
    Thanks for the reply dj. I do have an iPad, so hopefully I can find someone who has used the camera connection kit in an app they wrote(that way I can find out how to access it in my app). Where can I find the BTstack people?
    BTstack project is here:
    btstack - Project Hosting on Google Code

    This is where the main developer spends his time
    BTstack Keyboard

    (BTstack is a free, GPL bluetooth stack
    BTstack-KB is a non-free, proprietary keyboard driver built on top the other)

    There aren't any *current* announced projects or applications that use the Camera Connection Kit - so any hacks out there are probably works in progress. I'm surprised there isn't more attention though on this. :/

    Since the CCK "just works" with a wide variety of hardware (not officially supported) I imagine that iOS 3.2 must have a pretty decent USB stack already. I'm not sure if its present in 3.1 or 4.0/4.1 (might not be until 4.2?). It could be iPad hardware only- I really don't know. Its uncharted territory so far. You're near the forefront of people mapping it

  5. #5
    Thanks again for the information raduga(sorry I got your name wrong in first post).

    I could do the project using bt since the manufacturer sells a bt dongle to connect to the pc for wireless modification of the settings. I guess I could suck it up and buy the $150 bt adapter and see if I can get the info I need to complete the app from the BT stack group.

    Now I have some direction, THANK YOU!

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