The iPhone Accelerometer

A sophisticated mobile device can do more than just play MP3s or make calls.

I had a lunch with a friend that hacked his iPhone to work in Brazil. Many people are doing that (or paying somebody to do it for them) around here. And he showed me something very interesting.

The component that causes the screen to rotate based on the position of the iPhone is called Accelerometer, and it can do much more than that. It can provide programs the spatial position of the device.

Same accelerometers were used in IBM laptops to stop and protect hard drives if the user is shaking the computer too much.

Watch the following video I just made at lunch. It shows an old mechanical game that we all played when we were kids to learn about gravity, control and concentration. Now in the iPhone.

The game objective is to change the angle of the “table” to let the gravity make the ball move to the desired position. Thanks to the embedded accelerometer and fast graphics processor, the game feels very real.

2 thoughts on “The iPhone Accelerometer”

  1. I heard from a friend (never saw it IRL) that some folks on LTC Brasil hack their way to turn the T41 series accelerometers into joysticks to play Tux Racer.

    Can’t tell for sure if it is true or just a lab legend, but the idea surely sound fun.

    BTW, the Nintendo Wii joysticks are accelerometer too.

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