Georg Kerschensteiner Award

Yesterday, Christoph Stampfer and Sebastian Staacks have received the Georg Kerschensteiner Award for the development of the free app phyphox. The ceremonies took place during the spring meeting of the Condensed Matter Section of the German Physical Society (DPG) in Dresden during the festive session and the award winners’ evening.

With phyphox, science is directly at hand of learners, teachers, researchers and explorers via smart device sensors. Via wireless connections to microcontrollers, the mobile lab can use virtually any external sensor. The by now two times App of the Day (November 13 and February 23) has so far recorded well over three million individual installations and nearly two million volume installations at educational institutions.

The DPG’s Georg Kerschensteiner Award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics didactics or in the teaching of physics. The background and previous award winners can be found on this overview page (in German).

Project Update #2

The second update has unfortunately taken a bit longer and is also more of a kick-off for the upcoming year 🎆:

  • We would like to send a newsletter once a quarter. Initially it is planned in English and German. In addition, there will be a special edition for the (fearless) first ones who sign up for it.
  • We have extended the possibilities to financially support us with donations. For this purpose there is the “phyphox project e.V.”, which exclusively and directly pursues non-profit purposes in the sense of the section “Steuerbegünstigte Zwecke” of the German tax code. The purpose of the association is the promotion of education, science and research with special regard to the app phyphox and its possible applications.
  • We have a page at Patreon and start “lite”. With the first patrons we will think about benefits and “phyphox orange” for 8€…

Project Update #1

We welcome three new phyphox team members: today Mosab Abumezied and Gaurav Tripathee started, Niklas Westermann has been (again) with us already for two weeks.

Mosab will work together with Dominik and Sebastian in the joint project Physik.SMART. This project is funded by the Foundation for Innovation in University Teaching. In cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Aachen, a comprehensive set of smartphone-based experiments for a typical series of courses on experimental physics will be compiled and evaluated. For this purpose, a concept will be developed on how they can be integrated into the courses and tested along the way. The results will be made available as open source, hardware and educational resources.

From left to right: Sebastian, Marina, Mosab and the professors Effertz, Stampfer, Heinke

Gaurav will support Sebastian in integrating the camera into phyphox. In the end, photometric and spectroscopic evaluations, the reading of measuring instruments and the analysis of movements should be possible. This project is funded by the Joachim Herz Foundation.

Niklas helps in the development of smartphone-based experiments and in the creation of a comprehensive database for existing and future ideas as well as their applications in practice.

App of the Day

On Monday, we were updating some app stats when we observed the attached impressions graph. This is the number of times the app’s icon was viewed on the App Store on devices running iOS 8, tvOS 9, macOS 10.14.1, or later. Since the beginning of this year’s school term, these daily numbers averaged at about 5…6k, so more than 1M was certainly … a bit off.

So, what happened: we are featured in the App Store as “App of the Day”. It apparently started already on late Saturday with a small effect and it has had still visible impact on Monday and Tuesday. Of course, we were aware that phyphox may be featured and Sebastian had to put some effort into preparing the artwork. Still, the release caught us by surprise — but that does not stop us from celebrating… 🎉

Impressions statistic of phyphox with a sharp spike of about 1 million on 13 Nov and quick drop to below 100k on they two days after

Online ICPE 2022

Sebastian is leading a “Technology and Labs” session at ICPE 2022 on 6 December at 04:45 UTC with the keynote “A world of smartphone experiments with the app phyphox”. It is followed by Marina Milner Bolotin’s “Phyphox smartphone labs in physics education: Breaking the vicious circle of student disengagement”.

Sebastian will cover experimentation with device sensors, DIY sensors based on the phyphoxBLE Arduino IDE as well as MicroPython library, and collaborative experiments for large audiences. All these are already routinely applied at RWTH Aachen University in physics education and open to the more than 1.5 million installations on (apparently) iPads by educational institutions worldwide* as part of the Volume Purchase Program (VPP) – and even more individual installations.

The International Conference on Physics Education (ICPE) 2022 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) is carried out online on 5–9 December. The regular registration fee is A$60 and registrations are open. Details: ICPE-Website

* more than 0.9 million in Germany

Show what you got, puck.js

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The next phyphox version 1.1.12 will support automagically the puck.js. For the moment, you could find a reference implementation in our wiki.

The most amazing thing is that we can already embed the JS code for the puck.js in our file format and pretty much share any functionality without changing anything in phyphox. We should have tried this years ago.

Let us know if you need any support or if you created something cool with this.

Game-changing support for 3D depth sensors

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The just released version 1.1.11 adds 3D depth sensors support to the previously available multiple smartphone sensors. Those augment the pixels of cameras with spatial depth information for better photos and augmented reality applications. The technology is known as light detection and ranging (LiDAR), time of flight (ToF) and true depth. The associated distance information opens up entirely new possibilities for physics experiments, but also for mathematics. In this context, phyphox is the first app in the education sector that equally utilizes front cameras with Face ID for this purpose, which are included in almost all current iPhones, for instance.

Exactly 6 years ago today, on September 12, 2016, phyphox was released in both major stores for Android and iOS. Originally intended for university lectures, using a salad spinner to analyze circular motion or determining the speed of sound with just two smartphones quickly found its way to schools as well – and around the world. This summer, we exceeded four million installations, more than one million of which as part of volume packages at schools.