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More accellerometer goodness
June 14, 2006 8:45 PM   Subscribe

This video shows how to navigate Google maps by simply tilting your thinkpad. The code is here, a blog post about it is here. I knew the first wave of goofy accelerometer hacks would be followed with better stuff and I can't wait to see what else people do with the sensors. Hopefully someone ports this to the newer macs as well. [via dj]
posted by mathowie (34 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just add a GPS and you can get inertial navigation!
posted by b1tr0t at 8:59 PM on June 14, 2006


Interesting idea there b1trot... wonder if a car tilts enough when you go around a turn to trigger the sensor. Then you wouldn't need GPS.
posted by smackfu at 9:02 PM on June 14, 2006


Anyone else see this motion sensing thing and think "snow globe"?
posted by sycophant at 9:02 PM on June 14, 2006


Filed under Goofy Accelerometer Hacks, check. So far, the Cool (and Useful) Accelerometer Hacks folder is empty.

smackfu, a car probably doesn't but a motorcycle would on a curvy road.
posted by fenriq at 9:04 PM on June 14, 2006


fenriq, agreed. Gimmicky, and never once to be used for a real purpose. I wish I could imagine a viable use for the thing, but my imagination isn't good enough. Tilting your laptop while still using your laptop in the conventional way (ie, reading the screen, typing on the keyboard) is a pain in the ass.
posted by jonson at 9:08 PM on June 14, 2006


I prefer this GAH:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8QsTHuoceo
posted by bobloblaw at 9:08 PM on June 14, 2006


Oops - mebbe I meant this one...
posted by bobloblaw at 9:13 PM on June 14, 2006


Just add a GPS and you can get inertial navigation!

GPS just tells you your position. Even if you tilt the laptop, you're still going to be in the same place.

It's a neat hack, but it's not that useful. That security script that causes your laptop to freak the fuck out if someone picks it up is a much nicer use of the tilt sensor, in my opinion...
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:14 PM on June 14, 2006


oh, for pete's sake - here

Bedtime for this Bonzo...
posted by bobloblaw at 9:15 PM on June 14, 2006


What, no apple comments yet?
posted by tomplus2 at 9:15 PM on June 14, 2006


whoops
posted by tomplus2 at 9:16 PM on June 14, 2006


oh, for pete's sake - here

Ok, that's fucking neat.
posted by Fidel Cashflow at 9:24 PM on June 14, 2006


I want this one.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 9:29 PM on June 14, 2006


Back in my Rand McNally days, we had a company approach us and demo this technology on a Palm device. It would have been pretty nifty with our Palm mapping app but it never went further than a demo.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:29 PM on June 14, 2006


So what are the specs on the accelerometer? How many degrees of freedom, what sensitivity, etc.
posted by Chuckles at 9:31 PM on June 14, 2006


My hovering notebook is full of eels.
posted by puke & cry at 9:34 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


>oh, for pete's sake - here

>>Ok, that's fucking neat.


Agreed. Reminds me of the UI navigation paradigm (press the sides of the player itelf) on iRiver's new Clix player. [/shill]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:56 PM on June 14, 2006


that tapping is definately neat, though they obviously sped up the video to make it seem more seamless.

but thanks, Matt!
I was just going about making a new image for my thinkpad, and now I can slap this onto it.
posted by Busithoth at 10:00 PM on June 14, 2006


I find google earth's interface a little annoying. I wish I could tell it to fetch a certan portion at a certan resolution, like, overnight or something so I could browse sans loading time.
posted by delmoi at 10:08 PM on June 14, 2006


Did someone say goofy accelerometer hacks?
posted by nogudnik at 10:36 PM on June 14, 2006


It would be more useful if the laptop also came with a compass (or gyroscope) along with GPS. This would allow the map to rotate so that the direction you were facing was at the top. Instant In-Car Navigation!
posted by AndrewStephens at 10:54 PM on June 14, 2006


If you have a GPS, you can determine your initial position. The accelerometer should be sensitive enough to detect the car accelerating and decelerating (from which you can approximate velocity) and turning. That may be enough to give you positional deltas off the first few GPS locations. You could use GPS all the time, except when out of sight of satellites. Then you rely on the accelerometer for deltas.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:06 PM on June 14, 2006


I think that cornering would be the problem with an accelerometer-only based approach. You could probably approximate your heading if the car's speed stayed constant through a corner, but accelerating or decelerating while turning would throw it off, even with perfect instruments.
Or so I imagine, I could be wrong.
posted by AndrewStephens at 11:18 PM on June 14, 2006


I wish I could imagine a viable use for the thing, but my imagination isn't good enough.

At the very least, from the moment I heard about the accelerometer my first thought was hook it up to MAME, then run Marble Madness. That would kick ass.
posted by mathowie at 11:24 PM on June 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


At the very least, from the moment I heard about the accelerometer my first thought was hook it up to MAME, then run Marble Madness. That would kick ass.

Until I read this, I didn't get it. Now I want one, too.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:28 PM on June 14, 2006


If you have a GPS, you can determine your initial position. The accelerometer should be sensitive enough to detect the car accelerating and decelerating (from which you can approximate velocity) and turning.

I don't think so. The accelerometer only detects sudden motion. It should not be sensitive enough to be triggered by the movement of a car.

I think you think the accelerometer is a lot more high tech than it is.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:55 PM on June 14, 2006


Thanks for the link SweetJesus. So, it is three degree of freedom.. No sense of the resolution yet -- gravity at -50 isn't really basis for a good guess, I don't think.

From one of the google maps navigation videos, it looks like it has to rotate at least 10deg to start moving. That is about .2g, I'm thinking marble madness would need to sense ~2deg tilt, or ~0.04g.
posted by Chuckles at 1:26 AM on June 15, 2006


my first thought was hook it up to MAME, then run Marble Madness. That would kick ass.

*drools uncontrollably*
posted by youarenothere at 6:17 AM on June 15, 2006


I'm too lazy to dig up links right now, but ships that use inertial nav -- I'm mainly thinking of nuclear submarines, which have had it since at least as far back as the mid-1960s -- can't rely on it exlcusively and indefinitely without updating the current "fix" periodically -- one of the reasons for GPS.

Even the high-end INSes, which are extremely precise versions of what we've been discussing above, have some error in them that accumulates over time. The cumulative error when the SINS is zeroed might be, say, a meter or two, but as a ship or sub manuvers, changes depth/latitude/longitude, encounters tiny variations in earth's gravitation (it's not perfectly uniform everywhere) and the "local vertical," the intertial fix can get "loose" enough to be a ship-length or more. If this built-in cumulative error gets big enough, the OOD could mistakenly conn the boat right into a sandbar that he thought was hundreds of yards to port or starboard, kiss his OOD letter goodbye, and get his skipper put "on the beach" after having to sit in front of a bunch of annoyed admirals who stare disapprovingly at him over a green felt-covered table. (I'm thinking USN here, obviously.) The risk is greater for submarines than surface ships because charts are often imprecise and even grossly wrong.

So-oooo...submarines will use a technique like the "tilting laptop" only with more precision, but they won't use it exclusively nor indefinitely.
posted by pax digita at 7:04 AM on June 15, 2006


And if percussive virtual screen switching ain't for you - some feller just figgered out how to switch it with the ambient light sensor in the left speaker grill.

More video here.
posted by bobloblaw at 7:37 AM on June 15, 2006


Thanks to comments on my personal site, I've almost got what I wanted with a tilt sensor marble app. Here's a video I just shot of me using it.
posted by mathowie at 9:59 AM on June 15, 2006


mathowie, is it me or is that really, really hard to do?

And the lightsaber video is at the top my goofy list right now. That dude sooooo wanted intarnets fame for his "skills" in swinging his $2000 laptop around like a toy. No cookie for you, putzie!
posted by fenriq at 1:43 PM on June 15, 2006


bobloblaw, that is much cooler to me. I don't wanna smack my machine, just my monkey!
posted by fenriq at 1:45 PM on June 15, 2006


Playing marble games with an accelerometer: Been There, Done that. , or at least Til Harbarum has. Does it count if I always wanted to do it?
posted by Orb2069 at 7:28 AM on June 20, 2006


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