Law officers in Brockton, Mass., have a new tool for fighting crime: the iPhone. Using a new app armed with facial recognition software linked to a statewide database, cops can snap a picture of a suspect in the field and within seconds pull up that person's identity on the device.
Even with the huge number of mobile apps already available, cellphone screens are always awaiting new ideas from innovative developers. If you have your own idea for the perfect app, whether for a wide audience or just your own use, you're in luck—you no longer need to be a deft programmer to produce it. There are now a number of app-generating tools on the Web that will enable you to bring your concept to life by clicking instead of coding.
A recent ad for Vodafone featured Formula One champ Lewis Hamilton piloting his F1 steed, as if it were an RC car, using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. Many were fooled, some were not, but really it was just a wishful-thinking play by clever ad people.
But one such convergence of smartphones and automobiles apparently is legit. Computer science researchers at Berlin's Free University worked up this Chrysler minivan that can be controlled remotely by an iPhone app.
After its mandatory stint in app-approval purgatory, our brand new PopSci Reader for iPhone/iPod touch is now available. It's a great way to catch up on PopSci.com on the go with full text and images, and it's free.
Remember Clippy, the annoying pop-up virtual assistant that would always dispense "helpful" advice, until you wanted to virtually bend it out of shape? Well, despite it getting axed several years ago due to across-the-board hatred, and getting called "one of the worst software design blunders in the annals of computing", Clippy has inspired the Department of Defense to fund the creation of a bevy of new virtual assistants. WTF, DARPA?
This, friends, is the future of mobile apps continuing on its march. Augmented reality--the ability to overlay various data sets on a real-time view of your surroundings--will change the way location-based data gets presented.
Now, using the new iPhone 3GS's compass (sorry, older iPhone folks), app developers Acrosshair have put together a subway finder app for New York and London that overlays the direction and distance to the nearest station, depending on the direction you point your phone.
Speech technology is advancing quickly; even smartphones offer apps that let you speak commands and perform voice-activated searches. Now, a new app for iPhone and Blackberry can convert spoken Arabic into spoken English (and vice versa).
In the ongoing quest to turn real-world objects into iPhone applications, HP has released a calculator app that is a near perfect imitation of the original HP15C. Released in 1985, this full-function scientific calculator had a root-solver, could handle matrix operations, and supported numerical integration. It also lasted about six months on one battery-–or about five months and 29 days longer than the iPhone. But save for that sacrifice to modernization, the HP15C on the iPhone is pretty slick.
By Doug CantorPosted 04.23.2009 at 1:28 pm 3 Comments
Here's a shocker: Apple's iTunes App Store is all over the news today. Some of it is good (at least from the company's perspective): The store is about to hit its one billionth download. Apple has even estimated the time it's going to happen down to the minute. Download the milestone application, and you can win some valuable prizes, including a $10,000 iTunes gift card.
How much air is big air? Just check your iPhone. The latest application for the iPhone is Hangtimer, which allows skiers to quantify just how big they went. Download the application for an absurdly cheap $10, and the iPhone's -- or iPod Touch's -- internal tri-axial accelerometer detects when your feet leave and touch the ground. After each jump, the iPhone displays your flight time, while a plot provides a running tally of your jumps and speed throughout the day.