Version 1.0.9 (minor bugfixes)

Version 1.0.9 was just published to address a range of minor problems (we are still working on the big update with Bluetooth and interactive Graphs). This most important fixes of this update address crashes related to the remote access on iOS. Thanks to everybody who reported these bugs.

Changelog

Changes on Android and iOS

  • Location (GPS) experiment now calculates the distance travelled.
  • Pendulum experiment shows a genreic results page first.
  • Minor optimizations of remote access communication.
  • Minor optimizations of text in experiments.
  • Fix: Inclination experiment now resumes at correct timestamp.
  • Fix: Jittery axis in roll experiment.

Changes on Android

  • Allow installation on external storage.
  • Added some MIME types to allow opening phyphox files from more third-party apps.
  • Correct GPS height from WGS84 ellipsoid to geoid if possible.
  • Adaptive Icons for Android 8.0.
  • Fix: Order of external links now matches definition in custom experiments.
  • Fix: Rotation lock ignored in main menu.

Changes on iOS

  • Wider text fields.
  • Icon-Positioning in tool bar no longer optimized by the app as this lead to problems on some iOS 11 versions.
  • Remove subject text when sharing data or screenshots as this generates multiple files in iOS and leads to more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Fix: Crash when using the remote access in hotspot mode.
  • Fix: Crash when saving a saved state a second time.
  • Fix: Crash when activating remote access while port 80 is already in use.
  • Fix: Crash when the system does not support an audio rate of 48 kHz (for example when using AirPlay).
  • Fix: Crash when external link has not been translated in custom experiment.
  • Fix: Highlighted link not visible if not translated.
  • Fix: Some sensors do not produce data on iPods (fix not tested).

Modular online worksheets

There is now a new system to generate modular worksheets that can be send to students as a webpage. The teacher can decide which aspects are included in the worksheet (hence modular) and set up a customized session. This can include theoretical explanation, experiment instructions and/or assignments. The system also allows to collect experiment results from students through a web form.

Unfortunately, while the system can handle multiple languages, there is no content in English yet as we are still evaluating the demand. This system is mostly targeted towards academic teaching where masses of students can work online, so please let us know if you are interested in an English version of our worksheets.

New events in Berlin and Taipei

Just another update to our events calendar. The first one in January, after our visit to San Diego, we will be at the Annual Meeting of the Physical Society of Taiwan, where Sebastian Staacks will give a talk and hold two workshops with hands-on experiments. Later this year, the Junglehrertagung in Berlin has been added to our schedule, where again Sebastian Staacks will hold two workshops.

Applause meter used in the RWTH science slam

I hope you enjoyed our science night at the RWTH Aachen University and attended our smartphone experiment talk or visited us at our phyphox booth. But even if you did not attend our science night, you might still enjoy playing with a new tool…

Right at the beginning of the science night there was a big science slam which used phyphox as an applause meter to assign scores to the contestants. So, here it is – Simply open the following link on your phone with phyphox installed and it should automatically launch in our app:
Applause meter

Just a few things to keep in mind if you want to use it in an actual competitions:

  • Scores varying across different phones, so you should use the same phone to judge all contestants.
  • Do not place the phone too close your audience as close sounds register much louder. Often a place quite central on stage is a good choice. Always evaluate the applause from the same place and orientation of the phone.
  • The score will be proportional to the integral of the RMS of the recording. In other words, you will get higher scores for louder and longer applause – It adds up continuously at a rate that depends on the volume of the applause.

Reviewing our workshop on academic teaching

It’s been more than a week since we held a workshop on academic teaching with phyphox for the first time. I picked the phrase “for the first time” with intent because this workshop has been a huge success and it is quite likely to be held again in the future.

A total of 25 participants from the RWTH Aachen University and a whole range of German educational institutions gathered to learn about ways to use phyphox in lectures and associated exercises. There was not just an introduction to the app and a presentation of our use of phyphox in physics lectures at RWTH Aachen University, but also hands-on experiences for experiments and our experiment editor as well as discussions on the future of phyphox.

PhoneLabs starter kit

A few weeks ago, I received a package from the other side of the planet:

So, the folks at PhoneLabs sent me one of their Starter Kits to play with. This is a set of 3D printed parts along with some skrews and a rod that are designed to assemble into a simple setup for smartphone experiments.

The only thing that you need to add (besides your smartphone) is a ruler. Unfortunately, all rulers I tried were either too wide or too short, so I had to resort to a folding rule, which is not ideal because of the bulky folded part on one side, but still worked quite nicely.

As you can see from the video, I decided to try out our centripetal acceleration experiment and used our remote access to view the data on a laptop PC while rotating the phone. If you don’t know this experiment, here is the video, explaining the setup using a salad spinner:

The advantage of the 3D-printed setup over the salad spinner is, that you can vary the radius of your motion. I simply did the experiment three times in a row for different radii, pausing and resuming my measurement in-between. Here is the result (screenshot from the remote interface) after three repetitions:

You can clearly see and compare the three slopes, following $latex a_{\mathrm{c}}=r\omega^2 &bg=404040&fg=ffffff&s=2$ nicely.

By the way, PhoneLabs also offer their own apps. While these do not provide features like remote access, there is something quite unusual and novel about them as you do not need to be installed anything on your phone. In fact, they simply run in your web browser from where they can still access some of your phone’s sensors.

Workshop in Aachen and update on upcoming events

Since this is the English version of this article, I should probably start with an update on international events. After really enjoying the AAPT Summer Meeting in Cincinnati (that’s where the image above comes from), I intend to attend the AAPT Winter Meeting as well, which will be in San Diego, 6-9 January. I still have to submit abstracts and book flights, so this will be fixed and officially announced later this year.

There will also be a big workshop in Aachen on academic teaching with phyphox. If you are a college or university educator near Germany, this will be the event for you. However, it will be held in German and you will find more information here.

Additionally, there will be more events to be announced for Germany this year and next year. There are at least four public events, which are fixed and a few more planned, but I am waiting for the official release and/or schedule from the organizer.