Meet any seasoned techie, and they'll likely spin whimsical tales of computing's early days, and the challenge of finding a practical use for a device with seemingly limitless potential (you know, like feeding your cat while you sleep). A new product from SparkFun promises to bring this old-school awesomeness into the smartphone age: introducing IOIO (pronounced yo-yo), a breakout box that enables any Android 1.5+ device to control electronic circuits from within Android's applications. Designed in collaboration with Google, Spark's PCB connects to your phone over USB, working its magic through a Java library that hooks into your apps. This DIY paradise will begin shipping in a few weeks, and can be yours for $49.95 on pre-order. We've already witnessed some clever mods with IOIO, and when it sent a real alarm clock ringing, we couldn't help but smile. Crack one yourself after the break.

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SparkFun intros IOIO for Android, a hack-free breakout box to get your mind spinning