Scientific Applications That Turn Your Phone Into A Lab

Scientific Applications That Turn Your Phone Into A Lab

Watch earthquakes, play with a virtual particle accelerator and more…

Your phone is full of various sensors and miniaturized hardware. Instead of using them for taking pictures or texting your friends, use them in the way of science. The software can turn a phone into a portable science lab, enabling you to make research observations, track earthquakes, study birds and stars, and even design a virtual particle accelerator. Here are some of our favorite apps that let you do scientific activities on your phone…

1. eBird

Many of these apps enable users to participate in publishable research and conservation efforts. For example, amateur bird watchers should download the eBird (T. eKus) application. Managed by the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, this application makes it easy to identify and record your bird observations, as well as share your findings with others; including scientists locating bird populations worldwide.

First, install this free app. Then, using the user-friendly and intuitive interface of the application, choose your location and mark the birds you have detected in the area. In addition to observing and sharing, the app helps you identify species you don’t understand, provides information on common sightings in your area, guides you to key bird spots nearby, and notifies you when a rare viewing opportunity may arise. If you’re traveling to more remote areas for observation, don’t worry; eBird also works without internet.

2. Star Walk

Is that bright spot above you a star or a planet? Ask this on your phone. Star Walk (T. Star Walk) uses sensors on your device to understand where you are and what celestial objects your camera is looking at. Then it gives some information about the star and planets you are looking at.

The app offers information about the sky even if you are not looking at the stars at the moment; it can even track the International Space Station in space. From the sunset hours to the geological composition of Mars, you’ll find a wealth of scientific content to explore. The app is free; if you put up with the ads. You’ll have to shell out $3 for the ad-free version.

3. NASA Globe Observer

NASA Globe Observer (T. Sphere Observer) is another application that provides information to official scientific research with the help of your findings. You can now collect data on three areas using the app: cloud cover, land cover, and natural habitats of mosquitoes. In each case, you take pictures and observe the conditions, then send this information to NASA.

For example, let’s say you want to help with clouds. With the application, you can take pictures of the sky, determine the types of clouds you see, and record your location using your phone’s GPS sensors. NASA can then compare what you’ve recorded with satellite images. This allows scientists to create a better picture of weather conditions and systems, invaluable for future research.

4. MyShake

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley Seismology Laboratory want to use smartphones to create a global picture of seismic activity. For this purpose, they developed the MyShake (T. Shake) application. The app collects data using your phone’s sensors, but it does this in the background so it doesn’t affect your device’s normal activity. Researchers can then use this information to refine models of earthquake activity and improve forecasting systems.

The easy-to-use application works silently in the background, records seismic activity and detects real earthquake tremors (as opposed to jolts from your run). But you can use the app for more than just collecting data. MyShake also lets you see recent seismic activity nearby or anywhere in the world, and offers advice on what to do during an earthquake. But ultimately, the primary goal of practice is research; the kind that could save lives in the future.

5. The Elements

The periodic table, full of fascinating elements, has remained two-dimensional for some reason. You can elaborate it with The Elements (T. Elements), an interactive digital resource for iOS devices. (Disclosure: The app was created by Popular Science contributor Theodore Gray.) Showing the physical state of each element, the app also provides information about the element.

In each element, you can zoom in and rotate the object in three dimensions. Along with the image comes quick information about the element, as well as more background details such as the element’s properties, how it was discovered, its application areas, and its current price in the free market. The application informs its users about the entire periodic table. Although its price is higher than many of the apps on the list, it’s a great app for education; You will open it again and again.


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