Participate in Citizen Science or Smartphone Science

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Participate in Citizen Science or Smartphone Science

Postby RJN » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:20 pm

This forum is being re-generalized in 2012 August and so this introduction has changed. Rather than focus solely on "Citizen Science", I would now like to extend this forum to also include "Smartphone Science". The citizen science posts and projects listed below are, to my knowledge, still active, and I continue to encourage anyone with interest to participate. There are some really interesting projects already listed in which anyone with intelligence and dedication can make a difference.

About "Smartphone Science": Most scientists and millions of people have recently started carrying around a sophisticated electronic measuring device called a smartphone. In the near future, other devices such as smart glasses and possibly even smart jewelry might have even greater capabilities. These include the ability to self-locate, orient, hear, see, detect vibration, detect magnetic fields, process information, and communicate data automatically. But is this data of any use? What real scientific questions might be addressable? Please consider not only "Citizen Science" but inexpensive or supportive "Scientist Science" -- what apps might help a scientist "in the field"?

After some thoughts focused by a recent conference, it appears to me that smartphone science goals can be divided into at least three categories: "Primary Science", "Support Science", and "Citizen Science". The utility of smartphones might be further divided into two categories: "Measuring Device", and "Display Device". All permutations of these potential smartphone uses are presently welcome to be discussed here. Also, posts need not be focused just on astronomy. Furthermore, articles in the press that discuss smartphone use for science, even if touting only a single application, are welcome.

Most present smartphone apps that I can find could be classified under "Citizen Science" and "Display Device". One example of this is the ground-breaking Galaxy Zoo smartphone app. Conversely, however, I am recently particularly interested in the smartphone "Measuring Device" category -- what measurements can smartphones make that can help do any type of science?

One type of post appropriate for this forum is therefore the simple listing of a smartphone app that takes a scientific measurement. This can be a camera app particularly good for some type of science, for example astronomy, But good apps could be quite different. For example a useful base smartphone app might measure and record magnetic fields. Or blood glucose levels (non-astronomy, of course). Or something completely different.

Another type of post appropriate for this forum is a "Primary Science" question that might be addressable with a smartphone or a bunch of smartphones carried about by interested people. One example could be using the motion detector in multiple smartphones together as an earthquake detector. One primary science question this app might answer is "what seismic activity occurs around given locations?"

I do hope to be listing a few of my own initial thoughts and finds here as they occur, and encourage others to as well. I think the potential of smartphones as scientific tools is just beginning, and this forum might be useful as an early conduit for initial explorations of this potential. Please feel free to help if you are interested.


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