Google’s new app called science journal app is going to make me have a rethink about all those sensors present in smartphones. I have never seen the use of these sensors before now. To me, they were just there to make the phone seem smarter. Which makes paying more money for them justified.
But with the science journal, the app apparently can use the sensors to help us carry out various kinds of experiments. The app uses data gathered by the phone’s sensors to help those interested in doing scientific experiments.
Announced last Friday by Director Chris DiBona in a blog post, Google had this to say about the initiative and the thinking behind the science journal app:
We believe that anyone can be a maker. Making doesn’t just mean coding or working with electronics. It can be building or cooking, fixing a broken salad spinner or re-sewing a button on a teddy bear. Making is about looking at the world around you and creating – or, you guessed it, making – ways to improve it.
Science is also fundamentally about improving the world around you. It’s not just memorizing facts, wearing a lab coat or listening to a lecture. It’s observing the world around us to figure out how it works and how we can make things better through experimentation and discovery.
To bring out that inner scientist in all of us, today we’re introducing Science Journal: a digital science notebook that helps kids (and adults!) measure and explore the world around them. With this app, you can record data from sensors on your Android phone (or connected via an Arduino), take notes, observe, interpret and predict. Fundamentally, we think this application will help you learn how to think like a scientist.”
Though, there is a lot of talk about kids being the target for this app, like the blog post said, this is your chance as an adult to do that bit of science experiments you never had the chance to do. Presumably, you want to do this experiment now because there is a scientists in you that needs to wake up. This is just basic science though. It probably won’t show you how to invent the drug for cancer and all that. What is does best is to collate data and arrange them into fancy graphs and charts for you.
To expand the science journal app functionality (to make it do more than just the basics) Google is partnering with Exploratorium. Exploratorium are a public learning laboratory based in California. The joint venture is aimed at making compatible kits for the science journal app. So expect to see more microcontrollers and sensors that can be bought or added as softwares/hardwares to complement the app. If everything works according to plan that is.
To show their commitment goes beyond the science journal app, but also to the development of science in school age children, Google, “.. sent over 120,000 kids to their local science museum as part of Google Field Trip Days, encouraged and supported future changemakers through Google Science Fair and sponsored organizations such as NOVA, FIRST Robotics and Lick Observatory who are pushing science forward for all of us. And to help keep our young scientists safe, we’ve also distributed over 350,000 pairs of safety glasses at schools, makerspaces and Maker Faires around the world.”
How Science Journal App Works
There are already some apps that work similarly to the science journal app, Google’s science journal app has several cool features which makes it a more comprehensive app. For instance, the app can take voice notes when your are taking measurements manually. One can also organize experiments into various projects so as not to confuse things. Photos too can be added when an experiment is in progress.
How To Install the App
To download the and install the science journal app is not difficult. It is the normal way of going to Play store and searching for it. The file too is not too large. Just 14MB. But I guess there are people who wished the days of the instant apps are already here with us. So they won’t have to download the science journal app before using it. The only other requirement is that your smartphone must be Android 4.4 or later.
The science journal app is anther instance that a big tech firm like Google is willing and able to commit a lot of resources to free public initiatives. But one gets the feeling that there must be a catch somewhere. For now, all we can say is kudos to Google for trying to encourage the study of science.
photo credit: sjcetpalai.com; googleforeducation.blogspot.com.ng