Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Accelerometers are small devices embedded into laptops, gps and some mobile phones. They detect movement, generally for good reason, eg Laptops have accelerometers that tell the hard drives...ooops I'm falling-park the drive heads now before i crash and reach the ground. Generally this is why you see two types of g force reading on laptop spec operational and switched off.

I've seen 'fun' applications written before to make use of these before (check out

But when I came across this post today I know I was onto a major winner - this is the coolest use of an accelerometer in a mobile handset I've ever seen.

"UK researchers have developed software that represents a handset's battery life by using a phone's speaker and vibrator to make a device feel and sound like it contains liquid. You give it a shake to find out how much is left. The same technique can be used to represent new messages by simulating balls rattling around inside a box. It runs on recent Nokias with accelerometers; video from the researchers explains it well."

I love the last idea about checking battery life by swooshing audio - this one is the best. Hit me back with some ideas of how you would like to see them used in your life.


1 comment:

  1. This followup post was sent to the openmoko group and I thought it was worthy of being added to the comments as this idea is way too cool. Sorry it's now in the public domain so dont even bother tring to steal it but Michael.....what a winner.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: Dean Collins
    Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 5:34 PM
    To: 'List for OpenMoko community discussion'
    Subject: RE: need someone to develop this....

    This is too perfect. What a cool idea - seriously unfortunately now that you've published here is no longer able to be but was worthy of a patenting.

    Not only could the method of shaking but the timing of shaking could have been the key.

    Eg hold two devices next to each other and shake them up and down - because of the semi-physical connection they would have the same accelerometer readings this couldn't be replicated unless you had someone 'watching' you move them up and down and was copying the movements within the tolerance errors.

    Dean Collins
    Cognation Pty Ltd
    +61-2-9016-5642 (Sydney in-dial).

    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On Behalf Of Michael Shiloh
    Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 3:35 PM
    To: List for OpenMoko community discussion
    Subject: Re: need someone to develop this....
    > If Bob (or Alice) hands his (or her) phone to the other, then if both
    > phones are shaken in the same hand, the acceleration pattern might
    > provide an extremely unique yet similar signature, not unlike exchanging
    > an encryption key.
    > So if you want to establish a trusted relationship with another Neo
    > user, the two phones are shaken together until the software indicates
    > that you have generated a complex enough pattern that has been
    > recognized on the other.

    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On Behalf Of Ian Darwin
    Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 4:35 PM
    To: List for OpenMoko community discussion
    Subject: Re: need someone to develop this....
    Michael, this is (I think) brilliant!

    We could call it... "the handshake" (OK, anyone who doesn't know why
    that's funny, see

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