Physics Android Apps?

I’m going to be at an amusement park tomorrow, for a meeting of the APS’s Committee on Informing the Public, which oversees the APS outreach program. Why an amusement park? Because a common outreach-type program is to do a Physics Day at an amusement park and talk about the physics of roller coasters and the like. And why should we miss out on all that fun? we have a responsibility to make sure that the physics content of these programs is sound.

As part of this, I’ll be going on a bunch of rides– for SCIENCE, mind you– and it occurs to me that while the park or the APS may supply some sort of accelerometer-type device for this, I’m carrying a smartphone these days, so I could in principle do my own data recording. and somebody must have written a smartphone app to record physics-y things like this…


What physics-type app should I be looking to install on my Droid X prior to riding the rides tomorrow?

If a satisfactory app exists, you may get cool graphs later this week (obviously, some sort of data export function would be a plus). If no such app exists, you have just under 24 hours to write one and get it on the Android Market…


  1. #1 jdl
    July 5, 2011

    24 hours? Drat, another reason to favor Android over iPhone. I develop iPhone apps as part of my job, and it takes two weeks to get an app approved for distribution via the Apple app store…

    I’d love to write you something, if only I knew the Android APIs. But I don’t. Sorry. Cool idea, though.

    Have fun…uhh, I mean…good luck with your research.

  2. #2 Sean
    July 5, 2011

    It looks like there are a couple of recorders if you check out – seems like it gives you good data logging, so you can do reasonable reduction afterwards.

  3. #3 Derek Jones
    July 5, 2011

    laser level to check that the structure you are going on is vertical, and a metal detector to make sure its solid, obviously a calculator, an audio spectrum analyze, you probably already have a stop watch and timer and Google’s sky map; a flashlight is good for dark restaurants.

  4. #4 Herp N. Derpington
    July 5, 2011

    Tricorder. All that dorky goodness in one app.

  5. #5 ItPutsTheLotionOnItsSkin
    July 5, 2011

    I add a second for the ‘Tricorder’ App.

    I have found it also excellent for entertaining my 1yr old nephew as well. He LOVES the solar section, and figured out that hitting the sun image, switches between different spectral images taken by SOHO.

    He already knows the word ‘phone’ and says it when he wants to play with the touchscreen one the phone, and says the word ‘sun’ when he wants to play with the tricorder app. It’s absolutely astounding to me how he takes to it so easily. Just goes to show the intuitive nature of touch screens :) Soon, I will introduce him to the wonderful video that is the ‘Cosmos’ series.

    Maybe one day he will be a physicist.

  6. #6 Sili
    July 6, 2011

    I’ve used Sensor Insider, but you have to pay to get data off that.

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