Competition: Visualising Accelerometers

Finally, we announce the first competition (finally and first? Finally because we have been talking about running one for a long time. First because we will run new ones from time to time, depending on how popular they become).

What you have to do: Mobile phones have sensors called accelerometers. There are normally 3 of these sensing motion in x, y and z axes. Amongst other things, these sensors will tell the phone to change the screen display depending on how you are looking at it (portrait or landscape) and they provide the input for several games (e.g. car racing, ball-tilt) where movement of the device controls direction and/or speed.

There could be many more uses for these sensors than I have currently seen. They could be used in applications for training of anything where particular hand movements are required (think sign language, swimming and other sports, or performing a task like changing the wheel on a car). What I want you to do is to create a program that

  1. allows you to record a set of hand movements
  2. lets you playback those movements in a meaningful, visual way
  3. test another person repeating the movement and
  4. give them a score for accuracy.


  1. open to all school students
  2. send email to DEB registering your
  3. your app can run on any smartphone or tablet e.g. Android, iPhone, iPad
  4. programming can be in any language
  5. prize – fame and your photo on this blog
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  • The prize could also turn out to be a published App that makes money???

    Could someone make one for drumming? – I’m learning African drumming and an app recording hand movements would augment the wonderful physical process of learning drumming. It’s not easy to get the sequence of hands right when learning the basics, which means it’s difficult to add other ‘moves’ later.

    In the Rules #2. what does a person register?