Apps News

Turn Your iPhone Into A Speed Radar

Kaiser & Kaiser has announced speedClock 2.0 for iPhone 4, a significant update to their utility that uses the device’s built-in video camera to automatically measure the speed of any object, the distance to any point, and lap times of racers. Employing the device’s accelerometer or size comparisons establishes distance. Speed and laps are measured using the motion sensing of the video camera, timing the interval between the object entering and leaving the frame. The updated version features: snapshot of measurement, stadimeter distance tool, improved accuracy, and optimized detection algorithms. Because it relies for its operation on a built-in video camera, the app is presently compatible only with iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPad 2, and iPod touch 4.

speedClock makes it easy to measure the speed of cars, boats, skaters, skiers, cyclists, running dogs, model cars, footballs, etc. The user simply holds up their iPhone, and allows the app to automatically measure the speed of any object passing through the frame of the viewing screen. Sensitivity controls are included to compensate for very large or small objects, background motion, camera shake, or rapid cyclical motion. All distance measurements can be calculated and displayed in feet or meters. New in version 2.0 is the ability to take a picture and measure speed simultaneously. Along with the new auto-reset function, users can set up the iPhone to continuously measure the speed and save an image of everything that passes.

Feature Highlights:
* Accurately measure speed, distance, or lap times
* Calculate and display distances in meters or feet
* Video motion-sensing automatically measures speed
* Sensitivity controls for optimal measurement in difficult conditions
* Carry a miniature radar gun, lap timer, and range finder in your pocket

The first step in making a speed measurement is getting a good estimate of the distance between the user and the point through which the object will travel. This can be estimated and entered manually (poor accuracy), measured with a measuring tape and entered manually (excellent accuracy), or measured automatically using the app (good accuracy). The user enters their height and then tilts the device to exactly match the horizontal line on the screen with the point on the ground to be measured. The closer the point the larger the angle, as measured by the accelerometer. This is similar in operation to a navigational sextant. New in version 2.0 is an improvement to this clinometer distance tool. Now, users can use the zoom capabilities of the camera, making alignment with a horizontal line easier and more accurate.

Also new in version 2.0 is a second, complementary distance measurement tool: a stadimeter. Similar to an optical rangefinder, it uses the size of a known object (e.g. the height of a person) to calculate the distance. The user sets the size, then employs the two sliders to zoom in and adjust the two arrows so they point to the ends of the object.

The second step in making a speed measurement is to enter the direction of movement of the object, left to right, or right to left. Holding the viewer in either orientation, the user presses Reset and the app will automatically display the speed of the object that passes through its view. Speeds are displayed in large red numerals using a thematic LCD font. In addition to setting the direction of movement, the Settings panel allows adjustment of motion-sensing sensitivity. The user may also set the speed result to be displayed as: m/s, km/h, mph, ft/s, knots, or seconds (independent of the distance). Version 2.0 includes an indicator light that displays the accuracy of the measurement.

speedClock opens with five buttons displayed: Speed (of an object moving across the screen), Time (between repeated occurrences of an object moving across the screen, e.g. runners on a track, including lap number, lap time, and total time), and two buttons for the Distance (between the user and the object). The fifth button, Tips, includes complete instructions and useful tips for maximizing the accuracy of the app. For example, the user is advised to move backwards if the measuring time is to short and the indicator light shows red.

New in Version 2.0:
* Snapshot to document the measurement
* Stadimeter distance tool
* Improved accuracy
* Optimized detection algorithms to better handle small objects, especially on iPhone 4
* Auto-reset, enables user to set up the iPhone to automatically measure the speed and save an image of everything that passes
* Indicator light that shows the accuracy of the measurement
* Zooming capabilities in the clinometer distance tool

“speedClock makes it easy to accurately measure people or objects as they pass by,” stated company Owner Sten Kaiser. “Athletes, animals, vehicles, etc. can have their speed measured, and lap times recorded automatically.”

Pricing and Availability:
speedClock 2.0 is $0.99 (USD) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities category. Review copies are available upon request.

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