Last year Google announced the Accessory Development Kit (ADK) for Android, a hackable Arduino box that let you hook up your phone or tablet over USB and program it to work with various apps. It was a pretty stripped-down affair, though, so the company's taken a more design-focused approach with the ADK 2.0, announced at I/O 2012 and explored in detail by Wired. As you can see above, the new ADK has a radical new form factor, and it actually works as a programmable alarm clock and audio dock straight out of the box.

Egg timer with atmospheric pressure compensation

The ADK is held together by magnets, making it very easy to pop it open for modifications. On board out of the box are sensors for light, proximity, acceleration, color, humidity, and much more, and hardware engineer Eric Schlaepfer told Wired that Google put as many in as possible simply because it's impossible to predict what people might want to do with them. Some possible uses put forward, however, include "a smarter homebrew robot, picosatellite, hotel room alarm, irrigation controller, motorized remote controlled drapes, smart thermostat, egg timer with atmospheric pressure compensation, talking clock, data logging weather station, and did I mention robots?"

Unfortunately, this box itself is just a reference design that was only made available to I/O attendees. The schematics and source code are available online, however, so it shouldn't be too difficult to assemble a similarly functional box if you're that way inclined. You can also watch the I/O presentation below for a run-through of the platform's possibilities.