Yesterday at Google I/O, developers at Google and Willow Garage announced a new rosjava library that is the first pure-Java implementation of ROS. This new library was developed at Google with the goal of enabling advanced Android apps for robotics.
The library, tools, and hardware that come with Android devices are well-suited for robotics. Smartphones and tablets are sophisticated computation devices with useful sensors and great user-interaction capabilities. Android devices can also be extended with additional sensor and actuators thanks to the Open Accessory and Android @ Home APIs that were announced at Google I/O
The new rosjava is currently in alpha release mode and is still under active development, so there will be changes to the API moving forward. For early adopters, there are Android tutorials to help you send and receive sensor data to a robot.
This announcement was part of a broader talk on Cloud Robotics, which was given by Ryan Hickman and Damon Kohler of Google, as well Ken Conley and Brian Gerkey of Willow Garage. This talk discusses the many possibilities of harnessing the cloud for robotics applications, from providing capabilities like object recognition and voice services, to reducing the cost of robotics hardware, to enabling the development of user interfaces in the cloud that connect to robots remotely. With the new rosjava library, ROS developers can now take advantage of the Android platform to connect more easily to cloud services.