Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cool iPhone App

iPhones are so sweet. If you're a skier or snowboarder, the new Hangtimer application for the iPhone can quantify how big you went at the terrain park. Using its internal tri-axial accelerometer, the iPhone can detect when your feet leave and touch the ground. It displays your flight time and plots your average height and speed throughout the day. The application is offered by Dropzone Corporation; a company familiar with accelerometer technology. Interestingly enough, Dropzone Corp released its own sports-watch gadget, with its own accelerometer, last year for $75. But, with the iPhone explosion, their engineers realized that their algorithims could work just as well with the iPhone's internals so they decided to sell Hangtimer for an absurdly cheap $10.

The algorithm itself, though, is remarkable. Detecting an acceleration impulse on liftoff and touchdown seems simple enough, but think about a snowboarder on a halfpipe. The system can detect, down to 10-millisecond accuracy, the difference between moving up the half-pipe and actually lifting off of it. There are also plans to add a wipeout indicator using the accelerometer to determine just how hard you hit. So, assuming your iPhone survives the crash, you can quantify your yard sale.

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