Researchers Turn a Smartphone into a Biosensor

University of Illinois researchers developed a cradle and app for the iPhone to make a handheld biosensor that uses the phone’s own camera and processing power to detect any kind of biological molecules or cells. | Photo by Brian T. Cunningham

University of Illinois researchers developed a cradle and app for the iPhone to make a handheld biosensor that uses the phone’s own camera and processing power to detect any kind of biological molecules or cells. | Photo by Brian T. Cunningham

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Read More →

Track Your Concentration with Innovative Headband

Melon comes in black or white.

Melon comes in black or white.

Are you on a quest for greater self-awareness or simply a productivity junkie seeking to frugally extort every second out of the day?  The Melon headband quantifies the brain’s focus during any activity of your choosing to better understand your working habits. Together with its proprietary mobile app, Melon gives insight into the brain’s response to various stimuli: action, environments, emotions, or whatever behavior you decide to measure, and visually records the data. Read More →

StudyBlue Digital Flashcards [App Review]

Free App Download

StudyBlue mobile app users are ahead of the game at this point. Students have used flashcards as a study aid since time immemorial. However, they no longer have to rely on these old-fashioned printed materials. The days of buying a pack of index cards are in the past. StudyBlue’s digital index cards are a much easier to work with option. Considering that so many people are already carrying around their mobile device, this can also save a lot of space.

One of the best things about the StudyBlue mobile app is that you can actually make online flashcards on the go. Of course, it’s great to be able to create and use flashcards on a desktop or laptop. In fact, some students will surely use the mobile app to access cards that they’ve created on another machine. However, the ability to create flashcards from anywhere through an iPhone, iPod or iPad is really invaluable. People who prefer to use Google Android devices won’t feel left out either. It’s free, so students can easily install it on more than one device without any issues about money.

Unlike most school materials, no one really goes around telling everyone that they need to use StudyBlue. That means that the students that use it have decided to do so of their own accord. Considering that over one million people have already decided to pick up StudyBlue, the software has essentially sold itself. Nevertheless, there’s nothing to suggest that teachers couldn’t use the software if they wished. In fact, they might end up creating flashcards for their own purposes. Even teachers have to familiarize themselves with the material after all, and this is a great way to save a lot of work and paper.

Depending on the configuration and the platform it runs on, StudyBlue can suggest other study materials. These are sometimes helpful, though users who are presented with them can naturally skip them if they’re uninterested. Since StudyBlue is a community, users should probably give a little bit of thought to what they’re uploading. On the other hand, this also means that they have access to other materials through the app and the site. That means that many people will be able to take advantage of all the other things that they can access on StudyBlue. This can actually speed up the learning process, especially for those who like to follow along with a lesson plan. Once again, teachers will surely consider this a useful feature.

Carry Star Charts in Your Pocket [App Review]

  Free App Download

Planets by Continuum takes a 3D approach to solar system exploration. While it works great for anyone who wants to carry a planetarium and almanac in their pocket, the app does quite a bit more than put on a light show. Visibility charts and a moveable globe are just a few of the extra features that the software boasts.

After having a little fun with the planetarium features, astronomy fans should take a look at the accurate star charts. The 3D version tends to be more fun than the regular flat celestial map, but the latter might be a bit more practical for most stargazers. Since most astronomers are concerned with preserving their night vision, it could be a good idea to turn down the backlight before using this app alongside of a telescope.

Quite a few iPhone users have expressed a desire to use GoogleSky on their devices. For the time being, that doesn’t appear to be possible. Planets isn’t exactly the same thing, but users who want a similar experience would do well to check it out. The software requires iOS 3.0 or later, which means it should probably run on the majority of Apple mobile devices out there.