SparkFun Electronics has designed a new product, named the Electric Sheep, to help inventors create new custom Android accessories. The new product enables to take advantage of the Android system’s open accessory protocol. By communicating via USB, Electric Sheep gives users complete dynamic access to the phone’s systems and enables the easy creation of custom applications and accessories such as controls for an autonomous vehicle or coupling your phone with a microcontroller such as an Arduino. These boards are not restricted to only Android phones, but can be used on any platform with the Android operating system and a USB port, said the company. “The Electric Sheep is a product we are really excited to announce,” said AnnDrea Boe, director of marketing, SparkFun. “This product represents months of prototyping and design by the SparkFun engineers and will give its users free reign to create accessories for the Android system.” On the technical side, the Electric Sheep is based on the ATMega2560 microcontroller and bootloader and features a USB-host connector on-board for quick connection to Android devices. The board allows for the creation of accessories for Android using the Arduino IDEA and HandBag and is Arduino-shield compatible. “Even if you don’t have an Android device, the Electric Sheep can double as a development platform with all the functionality of the host microcontroller and a USB shield.” The Electric Sheep is priced at $79.95 per unit and is now available on SparkFun’s website (www.sparkfun.com).