So I’ve mentioned before that I picked up a motorola droid recently for my new job and have been playing with it relentlessly. One of the many things I like to do with a moment of downtime is browse the android marketplace- lots of interesting things in there (I browse just the free section currently).

Anyways, in the marketplace is an app that looks like a star trek tricorder. When I first saw it, I downloaded it thinking it would be a neat little image display that I could taunt my friend The General with (he’s a big trek fan) when I see him later this year.

I didn’t expect the damn thing to actually *WORK*. Here’s a list of functionality from it’s site:


  • GRAV: monitor the local gravitational field and acceleration
  • MAG: monitor the local magnetic field
  • ACO: acoustic analysis; waveform, frequency and sound level analysis of the ambient sound
  • GEO: display geographical information
  • EMS: scan the electromagnetic spectrum for radio signals — currently displays cellular and WiFi signals
  • SOL: display current solar activity data — downloads current solar data in the background and displays it along with current images

So, there you have it- I have a working tricorder, beeps and all. It’s not that useful, really, but does it matter? HELLO! touch screen tricorder! Nerd, right?

Wait, it gets better. Jackie and I are looking at getting a bigger vehicle, and this weekend we plan on going for some test drives. One thing car commercials always say is “it’s such a smooth ride…” Well, now I have a way to MEASURE how the smoothness of the ride.

To repeat, I have a working tricorder that I plan on using for real world decisions.

This image? That was just me picking up the phone- it shows how much it was jostled. If I set that on the console as Jackie drives around the same area, it will give me an idea of how bumpy the ride will be. This is an actual *useful* application of the motion sensor if it was used in an app built for this purpose. Sadly, I don’t have the time to write it myself, so when we go for a test drive, I’ll use the tricorder app.

Now, picture it- Jackie and I are sitting in a new car with a salesman telling me how awesome his car is, and I’m sitting there, WITH A TRICORDER, going “BEEE-LOOP BOOPBEEP” while he’s trying to talk, monitoring how rough the ride is while he tells me it’s smooth.

So should I be stoked or embarrassed?