Ever since Amazon announced the Echo, the platform and Alexa's voice commands have been expanding and adding more partners and features. They haven't, however, gained the magical ability to control your house's manual window blinds. It has though become possible to connect Alexa to an Arduino board, which increases the potential uses for the platform.
An enterprising guy has used that to his advantage, MacGyvering his way into smart window blinds with an Arduino (he uses a SmartThings shield for his Arduino to connect it to the rest of his smart home system), a servo, and some lasercut gears. He details the whole process, which I'll be honest in saying I don't understand the first thing about, in an Imgur post that I'll link below.
With each passing year, the futuristic contraptions of science fiction movies edge closer and closer into the realm of reality. Case in point: Braun has just made a smartmirror that runs Android. No, not that Braun — this Braun. An engineer at Google, Max Braun is someone who enjoys using his spare time in more productive ways than simply watching TV on the couch. Instead, he has been building his own smart bathroom mirror — and it looks amazing.
The mirror displays information such as the time, weather forecast, and latest news headlines in a clean, minimalist UI. It's still a work in progress, and Braun is still experimenting with adding other things like traffic conditions and reminders.
When we mention iFixit here on Android Police, it's often because of the team's excellent teardowns. They know how to take apart the most complex devices and figure out every single part that goes in them. However, iFixit — as the name suggests — is more popular for its comprehensive repair guides that span computers, electronics, and iPhones. Android has finally joined the ranks with a really extensive catalog of supported gadgets.
The iFixit Android Hub organizes devices by phones, tablets, watches, and TV. At this point, the last two sections contain teardowns for the most part, with a few guides available for the LG G Watch and the Nexus Q.
Let's be honest, most of us will never get to live in a crazy futuristic home like the Jetsons, but that doesn't mean we can't strive for a few of the simple luxuries. To that end, Doug Gregory is on track to make his living room smarter than the bridge of the USS Enterprise, all with a few electronic controllers and extensive use of Tasker. There's no way around it, you really need to see the video for this one.
Not counting home theater equipment and the Nexus 4, Doug was able to put everything together for less than $300, but he appears to have had the advantage of working for an authorized dealer.
If you've ever been one to tinker, build, or indulge in DIY projects, you've probably visited Instructables at one point or another. It's a great resource for those looking for specific how-tos, or just wanting something to do on a rainy day. Illustrated instructions are provided by the site's users, and can be discussed, favorited, or even downloaded.
Today, Autodesk (purveyors of other excellent apps like Pixlr Express) brought the crowd-sourced do-it-yourself spirit of Instructables to Android in an official app. The app allows for just about all the functionality of the website, in a nice holo-inspired package (the #EEBA26 looks stellar, doesn't it?).
It looks like the touchscreen isn't the only piece of hardware on the Sensation that works when it wants to. Posted today on XDA-Developers, Sensation owner zmfl recounted his experience with the audio signal coming and going on his phone, and having received confirmation of the issue from other members there, enterprisingly figured out the cause of the problem and its solution.
Put simply, the paint around the Sensation's 3.5 mm headphone jack tends to wear away or chip with use. This brings the pins of the cable plug into contact with the bare case metal and results in the audio cutting out or sending errant control signals to your media player.