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Cellphones It's funny.  Laugh. Software

New Android App Encourages Users To Throw Device As High As Possible 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the mobile-darwinism dept.
kdryer39 writes "Like to tempt fate? Then you might want to check out Send Me To Heaven, the Android app that uses your phone's accelerometers to track how high it travels when thrown upward. Assuming you don't fumble your handset on its return trip, its distance will join that of other daredevils on the game's leaderboards. That's all there is to it. Really." I can't wait for the desktop version.
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New Android App Encourages Users To Throw Device As High As Possible

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  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @03:58PM (#44490923) Homepage

    We need a version that runs on a VAX 11/780.

    "HOLY SHIT DUDE FIVE INCHES! That's awesome!! ...why is the floor cracking?"

    *CRASH*

  • Already done (Score:4, Informative)

    by Noread (2270278) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @03:59PM (#44490935)

    The people at Codepoke had an app which did exactly the same thing. They removed it from the app store a while ago.

    Click [androlib.com]

    • The people at Codepoke had an app which did exactly the same thing. They removed it from the app store a while ago.

      Click [androlib.com]

      The people at Codepoke had an app which did exactly the same thing. They removed it from the app store a while ago.

      Click [androlib.com]

      I believe "War Games" said it best; The only winning move is not to play the game.

      • by rpstrong (1659205)

        I believe "War Games" said it best; The only winning move is not to play the game.

        Which was wrong. Refusing to play may prevent a loss (or tie), but that does not constitute a win. Does a baseball team score a win for each team if the game is rained out?

    • I once made a "Drop Height" application for... err... wait, let me check that NDA I signed... errr, well, let's just say "a popular smartphone device", which measured the height from which you dropped it (useful for calculating the height of a building, for example), but it was rejected because it might damage the user's device.

  • Casio Commando owners finally have a way to measure their machoness.
  • by NitzJaaron (733621) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @03:59PM (#44490945)
    ...that it's the first app collaboratively designed by AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon? ;)
    • by Immerman (2627577)

      Heh heh.

      I was just thinking this is something like a skill-based version of the $1000 "I'm rich" app. Show off your high score and total disregard for the various costs of breaking your phone. Ideally the app should keep track of your number of "losses" and prominently display your phones/week score.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      I'm coming out with an app that will count the number of skips you get across a pond.

  • Tie a string to the phone and spin it in circles. New world record and no broken phone.
    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      When you throw something it experiences momentary very high gs followed by zero gs (except from air resistance). I doubt you can simulate that with a string.

      • When you throw something it experiences momentary very high gs followed by zero gs (except from air resistance). I doubt you can simulate that with a string.

        My fancy trick yoyo begs to differ - what you've described is, essentially, "walking the dog"

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          My fancy trick yoyo begs to differ - what you've described is, essentially, "walking the dog"

          Uhhh, no. The snap of sending the yoyo to the end of the string is a high acceleration, but while it is spinning on the ground it is feeling 1G. It is that 1G that keeps the tiny amount of friction from the string from catching the hub and ending the trick. If the yoyo wasn't pulling against the string it would easily catch and strart to wind back up.

          • Yoyo, yes.

            Extrapolate the same movements to a phone on a string - since it's not spinning on a free axis (like the yoyo), the force at the end of string travel is effectively 0g.

            • by Obfuscant (592200)

              Yoyo, yes.

              huh?

              Extrapolate the same movements to a phone on a string - since it's not spinning on a free axis (like the yoyo), the force at the end of string travel is effectively 0g.

              The phone at the end of the string is subjected to much more than 1G as you spin it around. It is that force that is keeping the phone from simply dangling at the end of the string. Why do you think you need to pull back on the string so hard if there is "0g" on the phone at the other end? That pull you exert is the "equal and opposite" part of the laws of motion. It is the same principle that makes centrifuges work; the rotation of the centrifuge creates HIGHER forces (more g's) on the thing being sp

              • Thank you for clearing that up. The misconceptions/ignorance about basic physics displayed in the string/yo-yo comments makes me think that an app graphing accelerometer output (3 axis and/or total) as a function of time would be an eye opening demonstration to quite a few people. Much more useful and educational than a phone throwing app. See what happens when you shake the phone, hang it on a string, spin it on a string. Of course you can throw the phone too-- figuring out how far up it went could be left

              • The rotation of the yoyo is not why there is 1g during "walk the dog". There is 1g experienced by the yoyo because it is subject to the earth's gravitational field and is being prevented from accelerating downward by the carpet/floor it is in contact with. If you simply hang a phone from a piece of string, it will experience 1g because the string will be pulling upwards to keep it from falling to the floor.

                I knew that... must not have ingested enough caffeine yesterday...

                At least I can take comfort in the knowledge that I'm not the first nor last person to write a post, then look at it the next day and go, "Damn, did I really say something that stupid?"

    • Re:Easily gamed? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @04:37PM (#44491323)

      Why not just use your root access and write a program that puts a different value on the accelerometers?

      Let's see if someone can hit the Apollo 11 landing site.

    • I think it's time to go bungee jumping with a phone in your pocket.
    • by Quila (201335)

      If the developers have half a brain, they'll check for deceleration up and acceleration down according to gravity.

      I'm thinking a 20 foot vertical air cannon with a throwaway phone, the phone encased in foam in an aerodynamic shell. But then they may factor in human strength limits too.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        deceleration up and acceleration down according to gravity.

        Sorry, you fail physics. As someone has already pointed out, once the phone leaves your hand, and if we neglect air resistance (which would probably be negligible), then the phone will measure *no* acceleration at all at any point during its rise and fall. Determining how high it was thrown is likely done simply by knowing how long it was in free fall, and how strong the Earth's gravitational field is.

        • If I let go of an object from my hand, and it doesn't accelerate towards the ground, then it will never hit the ground. That seems unlikely.

        • if we neglect air resistance (which would probably be negligible), then the phone will measure *no* acceleration at all at any point during its rise and fall.

          When anything falls to Earth under gravity it is accelerating at ~9.8m/s downwards. The reason why you are weightless during free fall is because you are not resisting the acceleration.

          Sorry, you fail physics

          Ironic, no?

          • by jeremyp (130771)

            if we neglect air resistance (which would probably be negligible), then the phone will measure *no* acceleration at all at any point during its rise and fall.

            When anything falls to Earth under gravity it is accelerating at ~9.8m/s downwards. The reason why you are weightless during free fall is because you are not resisting the acceleration.

            Einstein says "wrong" [wikipedia.org].

            From this principle, Einstein deduced that free-fall is actually inertial motion. Objects in free-fall do not really accelerate. In an inertial frame of reference bodies (and light) obey Newton's first law, moving at constant velocity in straight lines. Analogously, in a curved spacetime the worldline of an inertial particle or pulse of light is as straight as possible (in space and time).[2] Such a worldline is called a geodesic. Viewed across time from the viewpoint of an observer "

    • by MiG82au (2594721)
      No, see my post below. That condition does not result in ~0 G.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...we'll see if this is really "lifeproof" or not today.

  • The developers got high...!
  • Diaper App (Score:5, Funny)

    by RedHackTea (2779623) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @04:01PM (#44490977)
    They should add this to a diaper so that I can see how high I can throw babies!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    AngryDroids.

  • Next up: the app that uses accelerometers to detect sudden deceleration and encourages you to throw your cell phone against the wall as hard as possible.

    Because, really, why take chances when you can have a sure thing?

  • Cool.
    Now what they need is an app that detects when it's pointed at the ground, and snaps a couple of pictures!

    • Based on my image gallery, mine already seems to have a variant on that: whenever I ask it to take a picture of something outside my car, it waits until it detects that it's aimed at my steering wheel, dashboard, side mirror, etc. instead. (I've heard it's related to the well-known one that waits to photograph a pet until they're either in motion or showing off their privates.)

  • Somebody remember N900Fly ... been in circulation for more than 3 years http://maemo.org/packages/view/n900fly/

  • N900Fly is years old (Score:4, Informative)

    by molukki (980837) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @04:05PM (#44491013) Homepage
    This is not exactly a new idea. http://maemo.org/packages/view/n900fly/ [maemo.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    just like HangTime, which premiered for the iPhone in 2008.

    http://iphonehangtime.com

    (No longer available, alas)

  • by the Android Manufacturers Association.
  • I'm seeing a vision... of broken phones... and angry people.

    I'm quite the prognositcator.

  • Back when I had an iPhone, several features encouraged me to throw device as hard as possible against a very solid surface. I never took them up on the offer, but it sure was tempting.

  • Wasn't there an apple app that did that as well?
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Not that I recall. There *was* a Facebook forward going around that said the safest and fastest way to charge an iphone is in a microwave. Maybe this is revenge.

      Or maybe Ballmer is playing both of them.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Wasn't there an apple app that did that as well?

      Yes, there was. It was rejected on the grounds it would do harm to your device [kotaku.com].

      Though I think there were others as well.

      I'm not sure how I should feel about the rejection. Angry because they rejected it, or pleased because it was a stupid app that honestly would probably result in a very negative user reaction as thousands of people drop and break their phones.

      • honestly would probably result in a very negative user reaction as thousands of people drop and break their phones.

        And who would be at fault there?

  • I tried playing something a lot like this on OnLive a while back, but somehow I didn't do very well.
  • Soon as someone invents the app I'm throwing my G3 phone off the roof of a building, or perhaps into a botomless pit.
  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @04:24PM (#44491195)

    Step 1:)

    Purchase a waterproof smartphone enclosure from a sporting goods store. Like say, these generic ones. [aliexpress.com] insert the phone inside the protector, and seal it.

    Step 2:)

    At the local post office, purchase a normal cardboard shipping box. I understand walmart also carries these. Then, buy a can of expanding foam insulation. Squirt the expanding foam insulation into the cardboard box, then, while the foam is still expanding and workable, embed the enclosure inside the foam. (You want to be able to get the phone out of the enclosure later. Keep that in mind.)

    Step 3:)

    Load the cardboard "shock box" into a "pumpkin chucker" trebuchet. You may need to troll newspapers or craigs list to find someone who has one. (they tend to advertise having them [pumpkinfarm.com], so all you need to do is look.) Set the angle nigh, then let it rip.

    Enoy your ballistic smartphone score.

    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      At the local post office, purchase a normal cardboard shipping box. I understand walmart also carries these.

      The express mail ones at the post office are free. You only pay for them when you actually mail them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        At the local post office, purchase a normal cardboard shipping box. I understand walmart also carries these.

        The express mail ones at the post office are free. You only pay for them when you actually mail them.

        Technically, they're free for paying customers of the respective Priority service. But hey, why waste $4 to support the USPS's sale of generic boxes when, for the very slightest of ricks, you can commit mail fraud/theft instead?

        • by Obfuscant (592200)
          Let's see if I understand your universe. I want to mail something in one of those marvelous "all you can put in the box, one price" boxes. I go to the post office and pick up a box so I can take it home to pack it. Is this "mail fraud"?

          I get home and find out that what I want to put in that box won't fit. I've already taped the bottom so I can't take it back, so I use a different box. Since it's not an "all you can fit one price" box, I decide to let UPS handle it. Am I now committing mail fraud?

          It's inte

          • by guruevi (827432)

            I'm sure there is some DA somewhere that could make it stick and I'm pretty sure that there will be a judge to convict you to 10 years for it. Welcome to the US-of-A

    • by _avs_007 (459738)
      So complicated... Just run Android in a VM, and fake the accelerometer inputs. You can make the phone think it's doing anything.
    • Or put the phone in airplane mode and start the app on takeoff. No fancy case required =)
  • "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?"

  • ...for the next time something borks my SD card. I bet you can score really high if you aren't worried about catching it.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445)

    This wouldn't be a problem for the otterbox cased I've had. Once, several years ago while going through my divorce, I threw my (HTC HD2) phone down a flight of cement steps, impacting first at the very bottom fairly hard. The phone survived without nary a scratch, dent, or defect; I was actually still on the call when I picked it up several moments later. The case did get a bit scratched up, though.

    While that phone is sadly no longer with us (best one I've ever had - the hardware buttons have stopped workin

  • If I needed to create this app I would probably just measure the time spent in freefall/micro-g. No need to get fancy past that right?
  • The app assumes acceleration due to gravity is a constant...
    And the winner is? The International Space Station!

    So, just take it to micro gravity, tie a string on it and spin it "up". You can do the same here on Earth, but it could be trickier since they can check for a wobble due to Earth's pull.

    • Why the ISS? Voyager I is 18 billion kilometers high and still "rising" which makes it the most distant man-made object chucked towards heavens to date.

  • 1. build device to trigger parachute release on specific tone via 1/8" headphone jack
    2. write app which detects apex and triggers tonal playback on 1/8" headphone jack
    3. slingshot/water balloon launcher

    Or

    someone puts their phone in a model rocket

    • Load the app up in an Android emulator, and feed the accelerometer canned data to simulate orbiting the earth. Indefinite freefall! High score!
    • someone puts their phone in a model rocket

      You know, I thought about that, but two problems: model rocket motors are not very powerful. Your standard D12 motor is designed to output 12N of thrust. Your .25kg phone* + .25kg rocket** is being pulled to the earth with a force of (.5 * 9.8) = 4.9N. So you get a net upward thrust of 7.1N for right about 1.5s. For the hypothetical half-kilo load you get 14.2 m/s^2 for 1.5s. This gives you a max vertical distance (discounting wind resistance and suchlike) of d = 1/2(14.2)*((1.5)^2) = 7.1 * 2.25 = 15.9

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Relevant "What If" XKCD [xkcd.com]. TL;DR. The average person can throw something about 15 meters high. Someone with a good arm could throw about 25 meters. Even the best of athletes could probably only throw 80 meters high, and that's using a golf ball, which is pretty much ideal. Really people aren't good at throwing things up, and are much better at throwing things horizontally. The comic assumes a device which converts forward speed to vertical speed without causing the projectile to lose any energy.
      • The important thing to consider when throwing (or launching) a phone in the air is how are you going to save it from impact.

        Sure, you could probably thrown your phone 45 feet or more into the air - but could you catch it? Would you dare, considering how much a replacement might cost?

        But, you could launch it - and allow it to be carried down by a parachute.

        And you might use 2 or more motors. If you're going to such lengths to cheat - why not cheat it up right?

      • Thank you for the ballistics calculations. I think that the phone throwing app would register a much lower throw than your calculations predict. Presumably the app measures the time of 0g acceleration. In that case, this would start at the end of boost, ie when the rocket motor burns out and then end when the parachute opens (sudden jolt followed by constant,1g, fall to earth).

  • I'd just put it on my quadcopter drone and fly that sucker straight up to the FAA-mandated flight ceiling for such craft; 400 feet ABL like it was nothing.

  • Can't wait to see the IPhone version. That should clean up a bit.

  • This reminds me of the common 'windows' fix recommended by some on IRC a decade or so ago: 'alt +F4'

  • Here's how you win:

    Step 1: Ship via UPS with big FRAGILE label on box
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Win!!!

  • This is an innovative way to sell more devices. As it turns out, the App was written by a consortium of companies: Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola.
  • This app was written by either Apple or Oracle, right?

  • by Acapulco (1289274) on Tuesday August 06, 2013 @07:14PM (#44492789)

    THIS story and its comments is why I keep returning to /. despite having the many flaws we all know about.

    Take any random idea and code it. Post it on /. and two things happen:

    - People find prior art of it, to different degrees of precedence.
    - People start finding ways to improve/cheat the system, to different degrees of sophistication, complexity and plausibility.

    I mean, seriously. You can argue all you want about this community and its (our?) shortcomings, but you can't deny at some point just having a bunch of geeks or whatever you want to call us, discussing things like this story definitely gets interesting and fun.

    Cheers fellow /.ers!

  • 3.844 x10^8 meters, N. Armstrong

  • by tlambert (566799) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @12:22AM (#44494315)

    Electronic device IQ tests...

    I wrote a program on a similar principle in 1983. It ran on a mainframe, and was called "He-man, Dangerous-man". Here's how it worked:

    1) Draw an ASCII art carnival hammer strength meter
    2) Put up text on the terminal telling the user that it is a strength meter
    3) Tell the user "When I say 'go!', hit the return key as hard as you can!"
    4) Count down from 10, and then print "go!"
    5) When the return key is hit, make the little ASCII art "weight" go a random amount 2/3-3/4s way up the screen toward the "bell"
    6) If the key to the left of the return key is hit, make it go all the way up and print ^G so you can demonstrate superior strength

    Obviously, I was forced to remove it, the first time some idiot actually fell for it and broke the keyboard on a Televideo 912 terminal.

  • Is this high enough [bedug.com] for an Android device???

    It's a bit over 20km in altitude.

  • one "C. Hadfield" with a maximum altitude of 435 kilometers. The legitimacy of that record is disputed.

  • by RandomFactor (22447) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @08:32AM (#44496451)

    The app should snap a pic at apogee and post that with submission.

  • And a small parachute.

    Sounds like fun to me. Repeatable fun.

    Now ... how to time-delay the release of the parachute? There's probably an app for that (detect the transition from upward flight to free-fall), but is there an appropriate output? Could you do it by, say, driving a solenoid from the data line of the USB connection?

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340

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