Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General

How do I use phyphox?

When opening phyphox, it does not explain much, because it is mostly a collection of tools that can be used in a physical experiment. So, in most cases you should already have an experiment on your mind and find that phyphox is just the tool you were missing or, for example as a student, phyphox is the tool that is part of the instructions to an experiment.

Nevertheless, you can explore the experiments in phyphox yourself and if you are interested in physics, you really should. If you open an experiment, you can get a short description from the menu (top-right corner). The description tells you what kind of experiment this is and what you need. It also offers a link to our Wiki with more details on the setup and some trouble shooting. Sometimes, there even is a link to a video, demonstrating the experiment (more videos will be added over time).

How do I use experiment X?

If you are unsure, how an experiment works, you should either check out our demonstration videos (not every experiment has got one, but more are added all the time) or the Wiki entry of the experiment. You can also quickly access the right video or Wiki entry directly from the description of the experiment, which you can find when opening the experiment in phyphox and selecting "description" from the menu.

Why does phyphox tell me that I do not have sensor X?

Most of the time, this actually means, that you do not have the sensor. Some typical examples: On some low-cost tablets, there is no sensor besides the accelerometer. On iPhones, there is a physical light sensor, but it cannot be accessed by our app (technically, there is a way to do this, but Apple does not allow apps on their App Store that use this method). The barometer (pressure sensor) is mostly available on newer expensive Android phones and on iPhones from version 6 (but not on the iPhone SE).

Which devices are supported by phyphox

phyphox runs on every Android device since Android 4.0 and on iPhones since iOS 8.

Why is Windows Mobile not supported?

We try to make phyphox available to as many users as possible, but we only have limited resources. In fact, phyphox is developed by a single person, occasionally supported by some students. Also, phyphox cannot be developed as a single platform-independent app because of its high technical demands (access to sensors, OpenGL graphs, webserver) – it has to be rewritten for every platform.

At the end of 2016 Windows Mobile had a market share of just 0.3% (Gartner). Of course, the number of still active users is higher than that, but still it remains doubtful whether an investment in a Windows version of phyphox is worth it on a long-term perspective.

I found a problem. What should I do?

Please report it to us. Simply write an email to kuhlen@physik.rwth-aachen.de and describe the problem as good as you can. Do not forget to include details like the model of your phone. If you are willing to help us tracking down the problem by testing a few things, we are especially grateful, but just reporting already helps a lot.

If the problem involves a crash of phyphox, usually Android and iOS offer that you can report the crash through their system. Please do so, as it offers invaluable information that you usually cannot provide on your own (like the exact location in our code where the error occurred). We are still happy if additionally you send us an email, so we can contact you if we need more details or would like to test a solution.

What is the coordinate system used by phyphox? What is x, y and z?

The coordinate system is explained here.

Remote interface

Does the remote interface work on my device?

Yes.

To be more precise: The remote interface does not require you to install anything on the controlling device. You just have to enable the remote access in phyphox on your phone. On your second device, you have to open a browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.) and enter the address shown by phyphox (like http://123.45.6.78:8080) into the address bar of the browser.

If this down not work, it is usually due to network problems – Your devices are not connected to the same network or may not communicate directly in this network. In this case, you can get more information here

Are there security concerns regarding the remote interface?

Yes, there are. Actually, the access to your experiment is not encrypted or password protected at all. However, it only gives access to the running experiment, so there is no sensible data. You usually only have to worry about this, if you are showing your experiment in front of an audience using the same network as everybody. Then anybody in your audience could mess with your demonstration. In this case, we highly suggest that you should create your own network by setting up a wireless hotspot (see here)

Why don’t you add a password protection to the remote interface?

A password protection would protect your experiment from being controlled by somebody else, but it would not protect you from somebody sabotaging your demonstration. The problem is, that your phone and phyphox is not designed to handle many requests simultaneously and if your audience wants to mess with your experiment, they will be able to slow down and overload the remote interface even with a password.

Since the security concern is not about protecting data but about preventing "messing up your demonstration" a password would only give you a false sense of security and complicate the remote interface. Instead, we highly suggest that you create your own network by setting up a wireless hotspot (see here)

There is a delay / The remote interface is too slow

You should be able to achieve latencies way below one second. Unless your phone is really slow, higher latencies are usually due to your network. Especially large WIFI networks (like at universities with many users) tend to have a higher latency. You might have a good bandwidth (fast download), but still a higher delay. As an alternative, we highly suggest that you create your own network by setting up a wireless hotspot (see here).

Contributing to the project

May I present phyphox at a conference/teacher training/etc.?

Of course you may. In fact, if you think that your presentation/workshop/training etc. focuses on phyphox enough to be featured by us, please let us know through the email address at the bottom of this page and we will happily add it to our events calendar and our social network channels.

Can I help to translate phyphox?

Yes, you can. There are some requirements, though: First of all, be warned that there may be more text to be translated than you might expect and that just figuring out the right context may be more complicated than you might think. Also, you should be fluent in the language (ideally it is your first language) and you need to be a physicist in order to know the appropriate terms. Additionally, we require that you are a teacher at a school or university, so we can verify that you have a professional interest in translating and do not just intent to introduce funny stuff into our app. Finally, please be prepared on follow-up translations when new versions of phyphox introduce new text – this will not be much text and it will not occur too often, but it would be bad if we released new features and could not provide them in a language that we were able to provide before.

So, if you fulfill these requirements and we did not scare you off, please contact us via the email address at the bottom of the page.

I have a great idea for a new experiment! How can I share it?

If the experiment is already running and you want to document it, please visit out Wiki, where you can deploy your information on your own for everyone to see.

If you need help to create the experiment or if you think that it is worth to be included in the app or featured on our site, please contact as via the mail address at the bottom of this page.

Can I contribute in software development?

Not yet, but soon. We intend to go open source soon…

Custom Experiments

How do I transfer my phyphox files to my phone?

We are currently working on a more intuitive and unified solution to this, but for now you have to transfer the file yourself:

After creating your phyphox file, you can either copy it to your device via USB (can be tricky as you need to find your file afterwards with a file browser) or transfer it with any app that allows transfering data. For example, this could be an email or a service like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. Then you have to find the file in the respective app (your mail app or the one for the service you used) and open the phyphox file from there. Sometimes you need to select "share" to send it to phyphox or, on iOS, "copy to phyphox"

How do I share my phyphox files with friends / students / colleagues?

We are currently working on a more intuitive and unified solution to this, but for now you have to transfer the file yourself:

After creating your phyphox file you can share it with any service that allows you to transfer files. This can be via email, a service like WhatsApp or by sharing a link to services like Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive. If you have access to some webspace, you can even upload the file and just share a link to the file (which is probably the most reliable way).

I cannot open phyphox files on my phone. What should I do?

If you see the file, but your device does not offer opening it in phyphox (either via "open" or via "share"), please let us know (email to kuhlen@physik.rwth-aachen.de). In many cases we cannot fix the problem, but we would still like to know about it. The problem is, that some apps try to open the file without telling the system the file extension ".phyphox" or telling the Android system a reasonable file type (since this is not a common file format, the phone cannot recognize it). Therefore, Android does not know that it should offer phyphox. A common example for this is the "My files" app by Samsung. The only alternative is that we let phyphox tell Android, that it could handle all file formats, but then Android would offer phyphox even if you just wanted to open a calendar entry and nobody would want that.

We are currently working on a more intuitive and unified solution to this, but for now you will have to try and open the phyphox file from a different app.

How does the "clear" attribute work?

By default every input and every analysis module just appends its output to the buffer attached to it. So, when "clear" is not set, your data will pile up through multiple iterations of the analysis process and the calculation results will appear multiple times. "Clear" allows you to delete the old data at certain points of the calculation and can only be set for the inputs and outputs of analysis modules.

If "clear" is enabled for an input, the data is read from the buffer at the input and then deleted. So, the data will be processed by this module, but it is not available any more for the next modules (careful if you still want to display it!) or in the next iteration of the analysis process. In most cases, you do not want this.

If "clear" is enabled for an output, the data in the output buffer is deleted and then the result from the module is written to this buffer. So the you are only working with fresh results and in most cases this is what you want in simple experiments.