Fun with Sensors

.Starfleet Mark XI Tricorder

Starfleet Mark XI Tricorder by Logan MacLeod via OpenUse

While I could not find any applications to turn your cell phone into a tricorder, I did find applications to extend the versatility of your device and amuse you in the process. Mobile devices contain many sensors. Developers are using these sensors to create fun and useful applications. The list of Android applications that target device sensors is very long, here are just a few.


,Android Sensor Box

Android Sensor Box, Fair Use

Android Sensor Box

Android Sensor Box by IMOBLIFE INC. a free application that is both fun and useful. The graphical displays associated with the device's sensors provide a visual indication of the measurements. The gyroscope sensor is associated with a 3-D cube which rotates as you move the device. The orientation sensor uses three bubble levels to show the movement as you tilt the device. A moving ball shows the measurements of the accelerometer. The sound sensor is illustrated with an analog gauge. The magnet sensor has a bar graphic. A crystal ball reacts to measurements from the light sensor. Each graphical screen also contains a button that will display the manufacturer's specifications for the sensor. Most of the screens also display the measurements in the appropriate units and have a measurement charting feature.

,Barcode Scanner using ZXing

Barcode Scanner, Fair Use

Barcode Scanner

Almost everything has a bar code on it these days. Barcode Scanner will allow you to scan bar codes with your Android device and decode the embedded information. Thirteen different barcode formats are supported. If you visit the developer's website you will find this free application uses an open-source barcode image processing library:

ZXing (pronounced "zebra crossing") is an open-source, multi-format 1D/2D barcode image processing library implemented in Java, with ports to other languages. Our focus is on using the built-in camera on mobile phones to scan and decode barcodes on the device, without communicating with a server. However the project can be used to encode and decode barcodes on desktops and servers as well.


,Tuner - gStrings

Tuner - gStrings, Fair Use

Tuner - gStrings

Tuner - gStrings by cohortor.org is a chromatic tuner application measuring sound pitch and intensity. It can be used to help tune any musical instrument (violin, viola, violoncello, bass, guitar, piano, wind instruments). This free application has an optional audible feedback for blind musicians and contains various settings:

  1. Microphone Sensitivity - Set threshold for measurements.
  2. Optimize For - Select an optimal target frequency range.
  3. Playback Octave - Pick the octave of the reference sounds played back.
  4. Temperaments - Equal, Just, Meantone, Comma, etc.
  5. Orchestra Tuning - Shift target frequencies.


,Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army Knife, Fair Use

Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army Knife by Digital & Dreams is a lightweight, fast and easy to use set of tools for your Android. There are many single function applications that will do each one of these function, but Swiss Army Knife makes them all available in one application. The free application contains the following tools.

  1. Flashlight
  2. Mirror
  3. Magnifying Glass
  4. Timer
  5. Stopwatch
  6. Compass
  7. Ruler
  8. Calculator
  9. Unit Converter

Depending on the hardware capabilities of your device, some tools may not be shown. All the tools were shown on my Nexus 7, except for the magnifying glass.

,Smart Tools

Smart Tools, Fair Use

Smart Tools

Smart Tools by Android boy's Lab is a complete package of 5 app sets. It includes 5 Pro sets for a total of 15 tools. In a word, All-in-One.

Set 1: Length, Angle, Slope, Level, Thread - Smart Ruler Pro
Set 2: Distance, Height, Width, Area - Smart Measure Pro
Set 3: Compass, Metal detector, GPS - Smart Compass Pro
Set 4: Sound level meter, Vibrometer - Sound Meter Pro
Set 5: Flashlight, Magnifier - Smart Light Pro