Turn Your Phones On: Using Android Devices to Collect Scientific Data

Matthew Cochrane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Data logging devices have been in use for about three decades but they have never quite developed into the automatic choice of device for taking measurements in educational contexts. This article reviews the reasons for this, citing difficulties with setting up, dealing with the software, and overcoming hardware incompatibilities. The literature suggests that these factors have discouraged many science teachers from embedding data loggers into their teaching. Research by the industry shows that 80% of teenagers now possess Android devices in the form of a smartphone (cell phone) or tablet, and many schools have introduced schemes which supply pupils with their own tablet device for use in lessons. Android devices are now supplied with a range of sensors which can be relatively easily used for the capture of useful data in the Science laboratory. This paper evaluates four experiments carried out using a smartphone to collect the data. The experiments are described in detail, and the errors are analysed to evaluate the effectiveness and accuracy of the device in each experiment. The measurements were taken making use of Apps which were downloaded free of charge. The Apps were used in collecting data to measure audio frequencies, magnetic fields from an electromagnet, the acceleration of a moving body, and the coefficient of restitution of a bouncing ball. Data and images are presented to enable the audience to carry out and extend the experiments for their own use.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation Research Highlights in Mathematics, Science And Technology 2016
EditorsM Shelley, S Kiray, I Celik
PublisherISRES Publishing
ISBN (Print)978-605-66950-0-1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2016


  • Smartphones
  • data logging ICT
  • Android


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