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ERIC Number: EJ1100321
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Moving Phones Tick Slower: Creating an Android App to Demonstrate Time Dilation
Underwood, Bret; Zhai, Yunxiao
Physics Teacher, v54 n5 p277-279 May 2016
Smartphones and tablets are packed with sensors that allow us to take experimental data, essentially making them mobile physics labs. Apps exist that make it easy to capture and analyze data from these sensors, allowing users to study diverse phenomena such as free fall acceleration, the speed of sound,radioactivity, and many others. Commonly, the use of apps in the physics classroom focuses on existing apps rather than on the creation of apps themselves. This is for a good reason-writing an app usually requires advanced knowledge of programming languages and experience with app design. These skills are generally regarded as beyond the typical physics student. However, there are app development environments, such as MIT App Inventor 2 for Android, which make the process of creating an app and utilizing the sensors much more accessible to students. Putting the ability to create and configure apps within the reach of students can also help integrate computation into the curriculum. In this article, we discuss our creation of an Android app, Time Dilation Calculator, done as part of a senior undergraduate capstone project, which uses App Inventor and a mobile device's global positioning system (GPS) receiver to calculate the time dilation effect of special relativity.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A