iPhone App: Rovio Control (now supports Apple Watch)

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iTommy
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iPhone App: Rovio Control (now supports Apple Watch)

Hello,
I am pretty new to Rovio and was searching for an iPhone app. It looks like the available apps are kind of outdated so I did my own and "Rovio Control" just hit the App Store.

I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to configure and use it. For example: since most users are lost after setting up Rovio for infrastructure wifi, the app will scan your lokal network for it on the first start. In most cases you do not need to hassle around with IP Addresses. I also striped down most settings options to "low", "med" and "high". 

Keyfeatures:

 

  • Full auto configuration in your network or in ad hoc mode. Don't hassle around with IP addresses.
  • Supports different setting profiles for local network / public access.
  • Always know the status of your Rovio: docked, roaming, going home, executing path, recording path.
  • Take photos with a tap of a button.
  • Easy to use joystick control movement in 8 directions.
  • Let Rovio talk: send funny audio files to your Rovio.
  • Set home location, enable / disable IR Radar, reboot Rovio and more!
  • Shows strength of navigation signal and wifi.
  • Allows adjusting camera position quickly. 
  • Guard mode.
  • Turn on / off LED light.
  • Shows battery status.
  • All graphics are optimized for the retina display.
  • Since version 1.3 it's also optimized for the bigger iPhone 5 screen.

Get more informations from: http://www.digitalsirup.com/apps/app_roviocontrol.html (EDIT: fixed link)

I recommend to use the latest firmware (v5.03) on your Rovio.

Robostuff
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Great work, gonna give it a go

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Let me know what you think if you have the time. I want to find and fix any problems quickly. It looks like I need to boost the volume of the sounds a bit in the next version.

Robostuff
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It is excellent, this is first Rovio app I have used that is very fluid in movements without the slow jerky moves. Looks very good on Ipad screen as well. No bugs except the "children of the night " line(Bela!) doesn't work, other then that wonderful job! Also the addition of being able to use it on your own wifi network is great. I can't recommend this app enough.

ddg
ddg's picture

Bought and it works quite well. Suggestions:
Have the left/right turn thumb control turn in smaller increments (about half of what it does now).
Release an Android version.
Add more phrases--is there some way to allow the user to add sound snippets?

iTommy
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Thank you for your feedback Robostuff.

@ddg: custom sound files should be no problem at all. (as long as they are in the right format) but I am not into Android.

vinnie
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I just purchased it on the app store. Thanks for supporting discontinued hardware!

After playing with it for a few minutes on my LAN:

1) video stream was lost a few times, sometimes with a white-out. resetting the Rovio allowed it to reconnect, but changing other settings didn't reconnect.
2) I LOVE THE SOUNDS! That's a first for iPhone apps AFAIK.
3) PLEASE put a setting in there for adjusting the Automatic Gain Control Ceiling (aka Night Mode). The CGI info is detailed here: http://www.robocommunity.com/download/17526/RovioBrighter/
and here
http://www.robocommunity.com/forum/thread/17515/Fix-of-the-Rovio-brightn...

iTommy
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Thank you for your feedback vinnie. Are you able to reproduce this white-out bug? Closing the app and starting it again should fix everything, there is no need to reset the Rovio.

I did already play around with this "night mode" and read a lot of sweet informations in this community. Expect more updates soon.

vinnie
vinnie's picture

iTommy said: Thank you for your feedback vinnie. Are you able to reproduce this white-out bug? Closing the app and starting it again should fix everything, there is no need to reset the Rovio. I did already play around with this "night mode" and read a lot of sweet informations in this community. Expect more updates soon.

I will try to get more details on the video feed loss.

My first message wasn't exactly clear. There are several "advances" in how to control the Rovio Camera. One involves valid brightness and contrast values, another is the AGC, and the last the "night mode" 

Clearly AGC is the best one for live video in dark situations. But the night mode is a real wonder for taking still pictures in darkness - like taking a long exposure photo with an old film camera. 

iTommy
iTommy's picture

If you need a special speech to text sentences in the default config, just add your suggestions here.

Robostuff
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Ok we need something to say to someone when we are not home, how about

You are being watched!

or

I have been programmed to keep an eye on you

or something along those lines

vinnie
vinnie's picture

@iTommy: The white screen is something I see when re-entering the application after checking email or calendar. The live video feed also corrects itself when I restart your App.

The text to speech is VERY fast. You must be doing the conversion on the iPhone, right? Other apps seem to take longer to transfer the sound file to Rovio. I've noticed it repeats every message twice - is that on purpose?

There is a problem with static or noise at the start of the playback on Rovio. It seems to happen with selections near the bottom of your list, like "Say hello to my little friend." It's actually pretty loud. Seems like a bad pointer to the audio data... since some of the messages are fine, and others have a really short burst of noise.

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Very strange, the app does not run in the background, you should always start in the main menu after switching to another app. What iOS version are you using? And which firmware version for the Rovio?

Basically it is not real TTS but canned wav files. Conversion is not done on the iPhone. It is that fast because the Rovio starts with the sound output while uploading is in progress. (This is the default behavior)

You should not hear the sound files twice, that is also a very strange thing. :-/

The static noise also drives me crazy. Usually this happens when the audio file has a wrong format. But all the files are in the right format, when this static noise occurs and you send the same audio file again, everything is ok. Sometimes rebooting rovio is the only fix for the static noise bug.

Anyway, version 1.1 is on the road an will hit the App Store (probably) on monday and I am working already on version 1.2. Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts, flames and other feedback.

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Version 1.1 is live:

*Adds photo button to HUD. Photos are saved to the 'saved photos' album. (Photo App)
*Adds firmware version info in settings.
*Reduces turn speed.
*Sound samples are louder now.
*Fixes a bug in nav strength bar.

serge2804
serge2804's picture

Nice to see Rovio is not dead and some people used and "work" for it still.
Good luck, I keep an eye on You and Your work

regards
serge

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Hello,
I had still no luck debugging the static noise issue. It's not the fault of the app, since I can reproduce it with a simple html form. 

vinnie
vinnie's picture

No Flames allowed! Your work is appreciated by everyone with a Rovio.

I've had no time to do any more testing but my iOS version is 4.3.3. It also seems like my battery isn't holding a charge like it did. It might be time to get a new battery.

Robostuff
Robostuff's picture

There is a post here by someone on where to get a good replacement battery and connectors, just did that myself works well

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Submitted Version 1.2 this week and it will hit the App Store at monday/tuesday.

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Version 1.2 just hit the store:

Introducing guard mode. When armed and something is detected by the IR sensor (a cat is moving in front of the Rovio) you can set up different actions:

1.)Sound: just play a selected sound. Default: "freeze!"

2.)Attack: Rovio shouts "attacking", moves forward, waits 2 seconds and retreats.

3.)Run away: Rovio shouts "intruder alert", turns around 180 degrees and then moves quickly into the dock. (hilarious)

Please note that the app has to be running in guard mode and the auto sleep is deactivated while guard mode is on. "Attacking" and "intruder alert" are the default sounds. You can also select different sounds for the actions.

Also good to know: when the "run away action" is triggered or you send the Rovio into the dock, guard mode is disabled automatically.

No cats were harmed in the making of this update!

Gandalf
Gandalf's picture

Good to see there is a reall iPhone app that can work with video stream!

Will try it after I figure out how to use my iPod Touch..

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Did you try it already?

vinnie
vinnie's picture

My three year old thought the "intruder alert" was funny! She liked "scaring" Rovio.

Have you had any luck enabling the AGC mode on the camera? I have a couple of low-light room that would really benefit.

Gandalf
Gandalf's picture

To Vinnie,

Some correction, the night mode is majorly relying on the " Frame Rate x" (1/2 ~ 1/8), but not that much on AGC.

I think we can incorporate some change to the firmware as well, such as:

- to fix the range of brightness. This shall give you better view already, even without turning on "night mode".
- to set the proper Min Frame Rate at start up (a moderate setting).

Recently I am very busy so no time to try firmware update. I can post the required change to you and you may try.

iTommy
iTommy's picture

Camera brightening will come but I can not keep the short update cycles at the moment. Expect it in version 1.3

Robostuff
Robostuff's picture

If you stay logged into Rovio, it would be cool if he could email you a picture when he sees movement, RoboRealm has that but you have to leave your computer on when away from home and Rovio logged in. I really like the guard mode!

vinnie
vinnie's picture

@Gandalf: if you private message to me, I'll try out the your suggested changes.

@iTommy and Gandalf: based on my experience the AGC Ceiling has a huge effect in low-light conditions. "Night Mode" doesn't work well when driving rovio, since it slows everything down. The fix for the brightness setting is nice, but it works best for me if the AGC ceiling is also adjusted up.

Chibi
Chibi's picture

I just got this app. The video refresh is actually faster than the browser app by a large margin, not sure why, but its nice. Overall this app is a must have for Rovio owners.

Constructive Criticism/Feedback:
Other than the default sounds, I don't see how to make the Rovio say any other audio from the app. Is there a way?

Sometimes the controls are delayed. It may be helpful to have the option to use the controls that the browser app has (straight movements, fixed rotations, etc).

A brightness booster of some kind would be cool - if thats even possible. Sometimes its just too dark (more of a Rovio issue).

iTommy
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Thank you for your feedback. I know there is still a lot room for improvements. The ability to add custom sounds is already on my to do list.

Please not that you can change the sounds by touching the name of it.

Chibi
Chibi's picture

Thanks for replying!

Question in regards to 'changing the sounds':

Where do you touch the name to change it? For me, it just plays the sound when I touch one.

iTommy
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I was referring to the soundfile of the guard mode. Touch the name of the soundfile to choose from all the sounds that come with the app.

You can not have custom sounds right now, but that is also on my to do list.

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