Motion detector for iPad

  1. tony873004

    tony873004 1,584
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'll be teaching an AP Physics class in a few weeks. Usually labs are equiped with lots of desktop computers, to which I can add stuff like motion detectors: devices that can input velocities into the computer.

    But my lab doesn't have computers. Rather, each student has an iPad. This might be an easy Google question, but I've come up blank so far. Is there ANY type of Physics devices that can connect to an iPad? Can anything other than an iPad charger connect to an iPad? Sorry, but I've been a Windows person all my life, and iPads have suddenly appeared in my life!

    We have lots of cool Venier equipment that is pre-USB. Is there any way to make use of this stuff in a classroom with no computers and 1 iPad per student?

    Any other iPad advice would be welcome too!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Do you mean an accelerometer? Ipads have accelerometers onboard.
     
  4. tony873004

    tony873004 1,584
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Thanks. I didn't know that!

    Motion sensors usually feed a string of numbers into a spreadsheet indicating velocity or distance. So you can measure the velocity of a coffee filter as it drops, accelerates, and reaches terminal velocity.

    My concern from looking at AP sample questions, is that they expect the students to be familiar with this equipment.

    But 10 ideas just jumped into my mind knowing that they all possess accelerometers. Can they ride to school on the bus while accumulating data? That would be cool to graph their commute.
     
  5. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    I just checked on my Droid and there are literally thousands of apps available to play with the accelerometers. The very first one I tried datalogged it and emailed me a csv file (attached).
     

    Attached Files:

  6. tony873004

    tony873004 1,584
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Thanks. I just downloaded an app for my Android. It was neat to watch the z-value go from 1 g to 0 g as I dropped it a short distance onto my bed.
     
  7. I don't know how open the OS is, but if you could get access to the camera, it has
    a bunch of range finding stuff for the auto focus
     
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