Scripting an Ice Cream Delivery with the Android SDK

Today, a smartphone-connected taxi company called Uber┬áis operating five ice cream trucks in Seattle. You click a button in the Uber app and select your location, and an ice cream truck comes to you. Or at least that’s what should happen. Even with today’s weather (read: periodic torrential rain), people are clamoring to get their ice cream due to the fact that it’s only available for one day… meaning almost nobody is actually able to get a spot in the queue. Uber’s Twitter feed is full of advice telling customers just keep hitting the button, but man, I have work to do. I can’t sit here and press the little ice cream icon all day. Something has got to give.

The Android SDK contains a tool called monkeyrunner. Monkeyrunner lets you simulate touch events, take screenshots, etc… and it does it through a very simple Python library. I decided to see if I could write a little script to keep pressing the ice cream button in Uber’s app, and it only took a few minutes.

from time import sleep
from com.android.monkeyrunner import MonkeyRunner, MonkeyDevice

# Attach to Android device
d = MonkeyRunner.waitForConnection()

# Take a screenshot of the "sorry, keep trying" screen for reference
raw_input("Get to the error screen, then hit enter.\n")
oldpic = d.takeSnapshot()

while True:
    # Touch the ice cream button
    d.touch(540, 200, MonkeyDevice.DOWN_AND_UP)
    sleep(4)
    newpic = d.takeSnapshot()
	# If the screen looks like our old error
	# screen (95%), hit OK and just keep going (in 10 seconds)
    if newpic.sameAs(oldpic, .95):
        d.touch(460, 700, MonkeyDevice.DOWN_AND_UP)
        sleep(10)
	# But if the screen has changed, stop running the loop.
    else:
		break

I still don’t have ice cream, but the script is running and working.

    • Nobody
    • August 8th, 2012

    Hey that is awesome!! How are you running Python on the Java based Android OS?

    • Gnewt
    • September 20th, 2012

    I’m not running Python on Android (though it’s possible), I’m just running Python scripts that are included with the Android SDK on my laptop. They interface with the phone over ADB (Android Debug Bridge).

    • Red
    • January 22nd, 2014

    Clever! =)

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