Recently in the Smartphones Category

Smartphones Become Tricorders

"Run tracking and calorie counting apps can certainly be regarded among the successes of the smartphone, but without dedicated sensor hardware, the philosophy of "there's an app for that" only goes so far. A host of products now available for Android let users with a little bit of technical know-how create powerful devices previously found only in the domain of hospitals and law enforcement. One of the most successful expansion boards that allows Android devices to control external instruments and to orchestrate the collection of a variety of sensor data is the IOIO board. The system works well in wireless mode with most Bluetooth dongles, and its on-board FPGA gives 25 I/O channels, including plenty for analog input. It also handles analog output via pulse width modulation (PWM)." More at ExtremeTech

"A UK mission, jointly developed by the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), to send the world's first smartphone satellite into orbit, is due to launch on 25th February. The unique and innovative satellite, called STRaND-1 (the Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator), is a 30cm CubeSat weighing 4.3kg. It will launch into a 785km sun-synchronous orbit on ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) from Sriharikota, India. STRaND-1 will also be the first UK CubeSat to be launched and has been developed by talented space engineers and researchers at Surrey with the majority of the design and developmental work being carried out in their spare time. The build and test phase of the project has been completed in just three months." More

"NASA's PhoneSat project has won Popular Science's 2012 Best of What's New Award for innovation in aerospace. PhoneSat will demonstrate the ability to launch one of the lowest-cost, easiest-to-build satellites ever flown in space -- capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones. Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations, and chooses the top 100 winners across 12 categories for its annual Best of What's New issue. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category. All of the winners will be featured in the December special issue of the magazine. "NASA's PhoneSat mission will demonstrate use of small satellites for space commerce, educational activities and citizen-exploration are well within the reach of ordinary Americans because of lower cost, commercially available components," said Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Thanks to America's continuing investment in space technology to enable NASA missions, we've seen space tech brought down and into our lives here on Earth. With PhoneSat, we're doubling up, and taking those same great technologies back to space." More

Directory of NASA Mobile Apps

"Mobile apps have become a regular part of my daily life. It's safe to say there are enough apps to perform virtually any task you have in mind! I find apps to be a great tool to keep me in touch with friends, daily news, and NASA. The flagship app for NASA is of course the "NASA App", which is available on both iOS and Android platforms, and has been downloaded over 9.9 million times and recently averaged over 2.5 million hits per day. However, NASA has made a wide variety of interactive apps for mobile users, which range from performing a spacewalk to receiving a notification every time the ISS is right above you. These apps give you an opportunity to stay involved and educated on current and future NASA missions. Listed below are all 46 of the NASA-related apps for iOS and Android!" More

NASA's Smartphone Nanosatellite

"NASA's PhoneSat project will demonstrate the ability to launch the lowest-cost and easiest to build satellites ever flown in space - capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones to build spacecraft. A small team of engineers working on NASA's PhoneSat at the agency's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., aim to rapidly evolve satellite architecture and incorporate the Silicon Valley approach of "release early, release often" to small spacecraft. To achieve this, NASA's PhoneSat design makes extensive use of commercial-off-the-shelf components, including an unmodified, consumer-grade smartphone. Out of the box smartphones already offer a wealth of capabilities needed for satellite systems, including fast processors, versatile operating systems, multiple miniature sensors, high-resolution cameras, GPS receivers, and several radios." More.

SPHERES operates inside the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM). As shown in the diagram below, we've defined a JEM coordinate system with X forward, Y starboard, Z toward the deck, and the origin in the middle of the module. For our test, Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum velcroed the smartphone to the -X face of the sphere and placed the sphere at the origin of the coordinate system. From a laptop, he ran a program on the sphere to translate it one meter to +X and back to center, one meter to +Y and back, and one meter to +Z and back. Then the sphere made a full rotation about each of the X, Y, and Z axes.

Open Source Tricorder Project

Star Trek-like open-source tricorder sees magnetic fields and more, MSNBC

"A person with that level of smarts, apparently, has enough brain power leftover in his spare time to invent tricorders, not to mention the greedlessness to share the blueprint with DIYers who want their own. Instructions are available from his Tricorder Project website. Like the Trek devices, Jansen's gadgets will measure the environment, things such as ambient temperature, humidity and magnetic fields, as well as take spatial readings for distance, location and even motion. They won't, however, identify aliens for you."

How to make your own tricorder, Smart planet

"Take one part open-source code, two parts OLED display, mix in a generous helping of curiosity and serve with a side of extra-delicious geekiness. That's your basic recipe for a real-life tricorder, as envisioned and modeled by Dr. Peter Jansen. The result is a handheld device with sensors for reading atmospheric, electromagnetic and spacial properties in the surrounding environment. Dr. Jansen's tricorder won't necessarily detect alien life-forms, but there's plenty of room to expand on his open-source design. Your mileage may vary."

Researcher publishes specs for real Linux-powered Star Trek tricorder, Ars Technica

"The Mark 2 tricorder, which is the more sophisticated of the two devices, runs Debian Linux on an ARM920T-based Amtel microcontroller. It is designed in a clamshell form factor, with a pair of OLED resistive touchscreen panels on the inside. Jansen's Mark 2 tricorder is powered by a lithium polymer battery (more energy efficient than the Mark 2 EMH, which is powered by Andy Dick) that fits inside the device's housing. The built-in sensors can measure temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, magnetic fields, color, ambient light level, GPS location, and distance to a surface."

apps@NASA Now Online

apps@NASA Now NASA Launches apps@NASA

"NASA launched apps@NASA, a website where NASA employees and contractors can download mobile apps that securely access NASA systems. These apps enable our users to perform critical job functions at anytime from anywhere via personal and NASA mobile devices.

This is part of a full suite of services that is provided by the NASA Enterprise Applications Competency Center (NEACC). The NEACC resides at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. It is supported by SAIC under the Enterprise Applications Service Technologies (EAST) contract of our Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P). The NEACC's role is to help NASA improve business processes and to deploy enabling technology needed to implement our Agency's strategic plan."

Adapting Websites To New Formats

Experiencing An Event Apart, open.NASA

"The overwhelming message throughout the entire event was that the long-predicted shift in the ways people access the web has happened. Smartphone and tablet usage has skyrocketed over the past few years and users are accessing online resources more and more while they are on the move. However, a website tailored to consumption on a desktop of laptop doesn't necessarily translate well to an iPhone. While I'm proud to say that the entire family of openNASA websites are accessible from pretty much any modern (or, as we learned, legacy) platforms out there, they aren't really optimized to any specific mobile usage. Moving forward, I'd like to start implementing more elements of responsive design into our projects, tailoring the content we present depending on things like browser width."

Another Tricorder Mod For the iPhone

Researchers Transform iPhone Into High-quality Medical Imaging Device, Optical Society of America

"In a feat of technology tweaking that would rival MacGyver, a team of researchers from the University of California, Davis has transformed everyday iPhones into medical-quality imaging and chemical detection devices. With materials that cost about as much as a typical app, the decked-out smartphones are able to use their heightened senses to perform detailed microscopy and spectroscopy."

iPhone Used as a Chemical Sensing Tricorder

NASA Scientist Unveils New Chemical Detection Technology

"This new technology can enhance both personal and public safety by utilizing a common device, such as a cell phone, to detect hazardous chemicals," said Stephen Dennis, technical director of S&T's Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency. "Our goal is to create a lightweight, cost-effective, power-efficient resource for widespread public use."

Space Age Ringtones

The Sounds Of NASA Available For Download

"Historic and interesting sounds and sound bites from NASA space missions are available for download as ringtones or on your computer for events, errors, alarms and notifications. The public now can hear the roar of a space shuttle launch or Neil Armstrong's, "One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," every time they get a phone call. A new NASA web page now has a collection of more than 35 different sounds, each approximately 20 seconds."

Think about this: If you visit the Galaxy JPN YouTube channel sponsored by Samsung Mobile Japan's Space Balloon Project you'll see a large number of videos shot aboard a high altitude balloon. A small astronaut action figure is holding up a smartphone and people's text messages and images appear on the phone's screen while the Earth's surface passes far below. The organizers claim that more than 380,000 people saw this live stream from space.

UK Smartphone CubeSat STRaND-1, AMSAT-UK

"STRaND-1 will carry an Android Smartphone and plans to use data rates of 9k6 or 19k2 bps for the AX.25 packet radio downlink. A software-based speech synthesiser will be included to pay homage to the UOSAT family of satellites. The 3U CubeSat measures 30 by 10 by 10 cm and weighs 4 kg. Unlike previous CubeSats it will feature full 3-axis control with the attitude an orbit control system comprising a nano-magnetorquer, nano-reaction wheels, GPS receiver, 8 pulse plasma thrusters and a butane thruster. STRaND stands for Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration and the programme is intended to be a long-term arrangement between the space company SSTL and academic researchers at the Surrey Space Centre (SSC), with STRaND-1 the first of a long line of STRaND nanosatellites. The SSTL employees involved with the STRaND programme are volunteers. It is a condition of the programme that volunteers from SSTL and SSC use their own, free time for STRaND activities (such as lunches and breaks). The project has no budget for staff so is entirely dependant on volunteers."

See Smartphone Satellite,

NASA has equipped a trio of SPHERES with a Nexus S by Google smartphone to head to the International Space Station. Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), a leading mobile phone provider and the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S. 1, and Google(TM) today announced Nexus(TM) S is aboard NASA's final space shuttle. As a leader in technology and innovation, Samsung is pleased to be a part of this moment which will most certainly be marked in history. Nexus S from Google is part of research that will equip small, free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) used by the astronauts to provide a broader range of capabilities and give better communication between land and sky.

SpaceLab for iOS

Odyssey Space Research, L.L.C., has announced a space-based, experimental app, dubbed SpaceLab for iOS, which will be used for space research aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The SpaceLab for iOS app will make its way to the ISS on an iPhone(R) 4 aboard the orbiter Atlantis on the space shuttle fleet's historic final mission, STS-135, and will remain there for several months for the ISS crew to conduct a series of experiments. Odyssey also announced it is bringing the astronauts' on-orbit experimental tasks down to earth for "terrestrial" consumers to enjoy via the SpaceLab for iOS app available today from the App Store

"Rise to the edge of space, freefall for 50,000 feet, fly through clouds, and land gently in bushes"

Educational Balloon Provides Space Shuttle Launch Images and Video From Over 110,000 feet

"A balloon with a student-oriented payload shot high resolution photos and video from an altitude of over 110,000 feet of Space Shuttle Discovery as it climbed into space.These images and video were released today as part of a mission report provided by Quest for Stars representative Bobby Russell at the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) at the University of Central Florida."

NASA ARC is Testing Cubesats on Balloons

"Are smartphones so smart they can operate a spacecraft? NASA wants to find out. The space agency has for months been conducting tests to see if smartphones can survive by literally sending them to the edge of space. NASA last week conducted the most recent of these tests, sending an Android phone up nearly 100,000 feet on a balloon. Last August, it was a Google Nexus One phone on a rocket. "The cell phone industry has invested billions of dollars in these phones. They've packed a lot of capability into a really small volume," said Chris Boshuizen, a senior systems engineer at Logyx, a California-based technology firm. The power of today's smartphones rival those of many desktops and even exceed that of many satellites, said Boshuizen, which allows them to cheaply transmit photos and data. Phones running the Google Android OS have gigahertz processors, half a gigabyte of RAM, and accelerometers and magnetometers to measure gravity and direction." More at Fox News.

Space researchers at the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) have developed 'STRaND-1', a satellite containing a smartphone payload that will be launched into orbit around the Earth later this year. STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) is being developed by the Surrey team to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of a satellite built quickly using advanced commercial off-the-shelf components.

Spot LLC continues to pioneer innovation in satellite communications, bringing global messaging technology into the hands of millions worldwide. A wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar, Inc. (Nasdaq:GSAT), Spot LLC today announced SPOT Connect, a new SPOT satellite communicator capable of sending messages over the Globalstar satellite network from smartphone operating systems. Winner of this year's CES Innovations Award in Design and Engineering in the Personal Electronics category, SPOT Connect will showcase this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"The team behind Project HiJack envisions users building low-cost sensing and data acquisition systems for student and laboratory use. So far, it has built an EKG interface, soil moisture sensor, an integrated prototype with temperature/humidity sensors, PIR motion sensor, and potentiometer, and a version with a breadboard for prototyping new sensor applications.

Schematics for the HiJack board, as well as source code to enable communication via the audio port, are available on Google Code so that anyone with some soldering skills and the wherewithal can build a HiJack for his or her own use. Currently, software exists to work on iOS, but the hardware design should work with nearly any mobile device that has a combination headphone/microphone jack. The team plans to build APIs to enable the HiJack to work on Android and Windows Phone 7 in the future." More info and video at ars technica

Image: ECG signals wirelessly transmitted to an Android mobile phone via a low-power interface. Click on the picture to download the high-res version.

Imec and Holst Centre, together with TASS software professionals have developed a mobile heart monitoring system that allows to view your electrocardiogram on an Android mobile phone. The innovation is a low-power interface that transmits signals from a wireless ECG (electrocardiogram or heart monitoring)-sensor system to an android mobile phone. With this interface, imec, Holst Centre and TASS are the first to demonstrate a complete Body Area Network (BAN) connected to a mobile phone enabling reliable long-term ambulatory monitoring of various health parameters such as cardiac performance (ECG), brain activity (EEG), muscle activity (EMG), etc. The system will be demonstrated at the Wireless Health Conference in San Diego (US, October 5-7).

More (video) below

University of Illinois chemistry professor Alexander Scheeline wants to see high school students using their cell phones in class. Not for texting or surfing the Web, but as an analytical chemistry instrument. A few basic, inexpensive components and a cellular pone are all high school students need to build a spectrometer, a widely used analytical chemistry instrument. Scheeline developed a method using a few basic, inexpensive supplies and a digital camera to build a spectrometer, an important basic chemistry instrument. Spectrophotometry is one of the most widely used means for identifying and quantifying materials in both physical and biological sciences. "If we want to measure the amount of protein in meat, or water in grain, or iron in blood, it's done by spectrophotometry," Scheeline said.

Here we are demonstrating the very first prototype of a hacked Sensetta rover platform, controlled instead by an Arduino 'breakout' board controlled over Bluetooth by a custom scripted Google Android app. The use of the Android-Arduino combination on-board the vehicle reduces the weight, energy consumption, and maneuverability by removing the Max Kernel computer and router.

At dusk, a car stops at a checkpoint in Afghanistan. It is a tense moment for all. Because an interpreter is not available, U.S. Marines use hand gestures to ask the driver to step out of the car and open the trunk and hood for inspection. There's a lot of room for error.

This scene was re-enacted recently during an evaluation at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)--but, this time, the Marine had a new smart phone-based device that translates his English into the driver's native Pashto and the Pashto back into English.

For the past four years, scientists at NIST have been conducting detailed performance evaluations of speech translation systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Previous systems used microphones and portable computers. In the most recent tests, the NIST team evaluated three two-way, real-time, voice-translation devices designed to improve communications between the U.S. military and non-English speakers in foreign countries.

Cheaper, Better Satellites Made From Cellphones and Toys, Wired

"Instead of investing in their own computer research and development, engineers at the NASA Ames Research Center are looking to cellphones and off-the-shelf toys to power the future of low-cost satellite technology. The smartphone in your pocket has about 120 times more computing power than the average satellite, which has the equivalent of a 1984-era computer inside. "You can go to Walmart and buy toys that work better than satellites did 20 years ago," said NASA physicist Chris Boshuizen. "And your cellphone is really a $500 robot in your pocket that can't get around. A lot of the real innovation now happens in entertainment and cellphone technology, and NASA should be going forward with their stuff."

Video from a Google NexusOne smartphone with specially programmed Android apps, installed aboard James Dougherty's Intimidator-5 on a CTI N4100 load. Launch from Black Rock Playa on 24-July-2010 thanks to Maverick Civilian Space Foundation.

Android OS in Space

Developer's dream: space!, Crave

"Why? Well, because. Also, he is concerned that U.S. space exploration might not be progressing apace. His parents and grandparents got to witness an astronaut land on the moon, while Pier, 25, worries that he will have to wait until 2035 to see a man step on an extraterrestrial surface (Mars, according to plans laid out by President Obama). So while Piers waits for middle age, he wants to try shipping the first smartphone into the stratosphere as a symbol of his belief in the importance of the space race. Preferably, that phone will be his HTC Evo 4. "Great phone," he says. "I think it's meant for something greater."

"Open source hardware hobbyists now have a chipset to play with that's comparable to the powerful processors found in smartphones such as the Nexus One or HTC Incredible. Texas Instruments has released a new version of its low-power, single-board computer called BeagleBoard-xM. It's based on the same 1-GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor that drives the most sophisticated smartphones today. That gives it far more processing power than the leading open-source microcontroller platform, Arduino, which many hobbyists currently use to create robots, sensors, toys and other DIY devices. The BeagleBoard-xM has multimedia features similar to the processor seen in the Palm Pre and Motorola Droid, and includes on-board ethernet, five USB 2.0 ports and 512 MB of memory." Read More at Gadgetlab

This Rubik's Cube solver was designed and programmed using an ARM Powered Android Motorola Droid mobile phone, a LEGO Mindstorms NXT and lots of yellow LEGO technic pieces! Come and see the Speedcuber at ESCsv2010 The Android App running on the DROID uses the phones camera to take pictures of each face of the cube and sends the solution to the LEGO NXT controller via Bluetooth.