News

Ars legendi faculty award 2020

The ars legendi faculty award for excellent academic teaching in mathematics and science is being awarded for the seventh time by the Stifterverband, the German Mathematical Society (DMV), the German Physical Society (DPG), the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the society biology, bio sciences and bio medicine in Germany (VBIO). This yearly award is selected in the categories bio science, chemistry, mathematics and physics. It is the latter one, in which Professor Christoph Stampfer and Dr. Sebastian Staacks from the 2nd Institute of Physics and Professor Heidrun Heinke from the 1st Institute of Physics of the RWTH Aachen University received this year’s award for developing and disseminating the physics app “phyphox”.

By developing and continuously improving this app, the team permanently improved physics education in schools and academic teaching worldwide. By transforming common smartphones with their extensive sensor capabilities into powerful miniature laboratories, phyphox creates entirely new possibilities for teaching physics. Students of classical lectures can be drawn into an active role by contributing to experimentation that originally was only done as a demonstration on stage.

Website of the ars legendy faculty award (Stifterverband)
Press article of the RWTH Aachen University

Interesting OER material and cancelled events

Here are two topics that are entirely unrelated:

The positive one is that I would like to share with you some great open educational resources (OER) on global navigation satellite systems and the atmosphere from a project called TRYAT (“TRack Your ATmosphere”) by the OSZ Lise Meitner school in Berlin. The material is in English, includes some phyphox activities and can be found on their website as “Intellectual Output 3: GNSS and Atmosphere”.

The unrelated bad news is that several events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. For the upcoming weeks, we will unfortunately not have a chance to meet at the Sinus-Congress in Bochum, the JuLe-meeting in Berlin and the DPG spring meeting in Bonn, as all three have been cancelled.

1 million installations!

At some point over the past week it finally happened: We have surpassed one million installations! (Android and iOS combined)

This is so amazing. If anyone had told me that phyphox would spread like this three years ago (our initial release was in September 2016), I would not have believed it.

We, the phyphox team, are humbled by the amount of resonance we get from all around the globe and we are grateful for all the support we get from our RWTH Aachen University, from teachers, from colleagues, from students and of course from our volunteer translators and ambassadors who help us offer the app in so many languages.

Thank you all so much! We will continue to improve phyphox and create new and unusual ideas to use smartphones in STEM education.

Videos and materials of our annual training in Aachen 2019

In September we had our yearly teacher’s training in Aachen and we promised to release videos of the talks and all the material later on our website. This took longer than expected, but here they are, finally.

Unfortunately, since the training was held in German, the videos and all the material is in German. If you are interested in a talk in English, please stay tuned for our talk at the 36c3 in Leipzip.

Material: aachen2019-material.zip (34MB)

Talk 1: Introduction

Talk 2: Smartphone sensors

Talk 3: Experience and outlook

Collaborative sun trace on 22nd December

We are planning a big collaborative experiment on 22nd December 2019, in which you can participate. The 22nd December is the day of the winter solstice and we want to motivate as many users as possible to track the trace of the sun across the sky on that day. The idea is, that you simply point your phone at the sun and submit its orientation along with your location when the phone is aligned. This way, we will hopefully create a huge data set which we will share and which can be used by students to derive data like the axial tilt of Earth.

If you are interested in participating and helping, simply share the information about our experiment (especially on and shortly before 22nd December) and conduct it yourself. The actual experiment and short instructions can be found at https://phyphox.org/sun.

New events in Hamburg, Leipzig (36c3), Wuppertal and Bochum

First, I should explain to anyone who might be confused or even concerned what the image above is supposed to mean. Don’t worry, this is just this year’s design of the Chaos Communication Congress (36c3), which is one of the new events that have just been added to our calendar. This one might be particularly interesting even if you do not plan to attend it personally as all talks will be available online.

So, we have just added four events in Hamburg, Leipzig, Wuppertal and Bochum.

Version 1.1.3: Network interface

We have just released a new version with quite a few improvements and fixes. But most importantly, phyphox now has a new network interface. At the moment you will only notice (at the very bottom of the main menu) that it allows you to collect some data about your sensors, which you can submit to us as we try to build a sensor database.

However, some experiments using the network interface as well as its documentation and editor support will follow soon.

Changelog

Changes on Android and iOS

  • New network interface allowing to send and/or receive data to/from network services.
  • New sensor db experiment, that allows you to contribute information about your device to our new (upcoming) sensor database.
  • Highlight nearest BLE devices if multiple with same name are present.
  • Use common time reference for multiple sensors, improving their synchronization.
  • Location services (i.e. GPS) now use a database to translate elevation above the reference geoid and the WGS84 ellipsoid directly in phyphox and giving both values. This also fixes getting ellipsoid instead of geoid data on Android 10 devices.

Changes on Android

  • Notify user if location service is not enabled when trying to scan for BLE devices.
  • Fix attribute clash of phyphox and the web editor.
  • Fix remote access problem on Android 4 devices.
  • Improve title display for long titles
  • Code maintenance under the hood (thanks to “TacoTheDank”)

Changes on iOS

  • Fix wrong values if picking data points from logarithmic plots
  • Fix applause meter losing scores
  • Use advertised name of BLE devices instead of the local name buffered by iOS (for example fixing problems with Owon multimeters)
  • Update BLE scan results, so changes in signal strength can be seen
  • Fix analysis logic: Run analysis if input data has been changed by previous analysis run
  • Fix some analysis crashes due to invalid integers
  • Include EduRoom SDK (eduroom.de)
  • Accept old “out” attribute for audio inputs to fix compatibility issues with older experiments

File format version 1.8

  • Elements to define network interface
  • autoConnect function to allow connection to BLE devices without scanning
  • New formatting options for info elements: bold, italic, align and size
  • New option to ignore sensor availability