Motion Sensor monitors your phone camera and sounds a buzzer alert if it detects motion crossing the lens. You can set the sensitivity of the monitoring and in our tests it definitely did act as a sort of rudimentary alarm system. It’s a shame that it doesn’t currently also take a snapshot of the camera view, but if you ever need a quick and dirty hotel room alarm or similar, this could be an emergency option. It could do with a range of different alarms as well.
This app has got to be one of our favorites. Pothole Detector uses the accelerometer of the phone to identify and log potholes as you’re driving around. We suspect that this is an app that would probably be very welcome with delivery men, postal workers and those transporting Nitroglycerin. But for the rest of us, not so much.
This Max Protractor app makes use of your phone’s camera, gravity sensor, and magnetic sensor to deliver that most important of things – angles. You can measure inclines, planes and plumb angles, and we’re guessing that this is another of those apps which, if you need it you need it. Apparently it only shows around 5% error compared with expensive laser equipment, which is reassuring if you’re building a hotel we guess.
Black Sensor Lite is a driver assistance app which uses the camera and accelerometer of the handset to provide lane departure warning (valuable if you’re driving while tired), motion detection and black box recording if an unfortunate event occurs. There’s also an emergency contact number feature which gives one button access to family, friends or insurance companies if an accident occurs. The free version is time limited.
It’s inevitable that with this much smartphone power on tap, someone would step in and try to use as much of it as possible, and so it is with Super Swiss Army Knife Free. Rather like its more metallic namesake, this app offers a palette of functions, including measuring tape, flashlight, compass, spirit level, magnifier and more. Regrettably there is actually no knife included in the app, which is sure to disappoint Boy Scouts everywhere.
Yet another in the lovely set of Smart Tools, this Vibrometer app is a vibration meter, which can track seismic occurrences and other aspects of a vibrational nature. Again it comes with a beautifully sensitive scale as well as an additional text chart option which offers examples of the type of vibration being experienced (e.g. dishes broken, difficult to stand). The scale is measured in Modified Mercalli Intensity, if that means anything to you.
With all the technology on-board a modern smartphone, it makes perfect sense for them to be combined into a silent car alarm. Car Shock Sensor Alarm sends an email alert to the car owner if someone hits or moves the vehicle without permission. The app will also send update emails at predetermined intervals as the vehicle continues to move. The software uses the GPS and accelerometer sensors and you can set the sensitivity to hits, and the timing of the email message notifications.
You will need a phone with an integrated barometric sensor for this Antique Barometer app to work, but if you’ve got one you’ll be able to keep very close tabs on the weather outside your window without getting wet or windy. Modeled on the old fashioned wall barometers which you tapped to get a precise reading, this is a lovely looking app and a great implementation of a classic weather watching tool.
Turn your phone into a baby alarm with this Baby Alarm app. The software will either call or SMS text you when the baby is crying, which should give you plenty of time to get back from that party across town. Just kidding. You can set up the sensitivity of the monitoring and also take a photo of crying baby with the camera if you need verification. A great way to use that old Android handset in the drawer.
A new trick of phone thieves is to steal handsets as they lie on tables while people enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at their favorite cafe. This Anti-Theft Alarm should be a great way to prevent those nasties. The app triggers a loud alarm if anyone touches or moves the phone at all, and only your PIN can switch it off. Great for stopping nosy family members too, we guess.
We couldn’t talk about phone sensors without reference to one of the most useful in the toolbox, the compass. And this 3D Gyro Compass from Finland is one of the nicest versions we’ve see. It features an old fashioned gimbal based compass as you’d find on a sailing ship, and has a beautiful graphic background to set it off. We’re not that impressed with the alternative blue themed compass, but the brass one is definitely a keeper for us.