Q. Can I write my own apps for PIXEL and how hard is that to do?
A. Yes, PIXEL is fully open source and was designed to be expandable by others. PIXEL apps are Android based. Android is basically Java so if you know Java, you’re good. If you don’t know Java but have programmed in other languages, you’ll be able to pick it up pretty quick by going through the HelloWorld example code. After mastering the Hellow World example, copy one of the existing PIXEL apps and modify it for your needs.
Q. Can I add other external sensors to PIXEL?
A. Yes, PIXEL includes 5 open Grove ports. Grove is a sensor connector interface invented by Seeedstudio. Here are existing Grove sensors. This means you simply can plug in the new sensor, no soldering is required. You however would need to code the corresponding app to utilize the new sensor.
Q. Can I use a PC (Windows, Mac, or LINUX) to control PIXEL instead of an Android device?
A. PC (Windows) and Raspberry Pi are supported. Mac and LINUX will also work but have not been fully tested. You’ll find example code for controlling PIXEL via a java app running on Windows, Mac, or LINUX on the developers page. While it hasn’t been fully tested but BeagleBone Black should also work, instructions here for BeagleBlack users.
Q. What would it take to get PIXEL working on iOS?
A. PIXEL uses the Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP), Apple only allows BLE on iOS devices. First BLE support would need to be added to the IOIO core libraries which is in theory possible as the bluetooth stack IOIO uses (btstack) does support BLE. After that , some low profile tweaks would be needed to the IOIO libraries to handle BLE packet communications. BLE would be substantially slower than Bluetooth SPP, it’s unclear what the performance would be like. The other option would be adding Wi-Fi support to IOIO (not trivial). As a work around, PIXEL does work with the Raspberry Pi currently. Adding a PI along with an framework like NetIO would allow you to control PIXEL over Wi-Fi through the Pi.
Q. What is Git?
A. Git is a source code version control system. It allows different developers to easily share and collaborate on code. It’s free for open source projects which is why you see so many open source projects using Git. Git, while powerful, can be a bit intimidating for first timers. For Git first timers, this guide is pretty helpful.