I found the iSeismo App for iPhone a few months ago thanks to an email on the PTNC (the Institute of Physics mailing list). It is a free App and also a brilliant one. I am developing resources for the WJEC Separate Science Specification (Physics 3) here at NGfL Cymru (National Grid for Learning Wales) and one of the topics is Seismic Waves, so I couldn’t resist the temptation to create an activity that would take advantage of such a great App!

iSeismo displays a seismograph for movements along the x, y and z axes using the inbuilt accelerometer in the iPhone and it is very realistic and quite accurate too. The needles look just like a real Seismographer writing on paper rolls, but with this electronic seismographer you can freeze the screen and pause it at a particular moment, as well as other interesting things.

I am giving you another sneak peek of what’s coming soon on the NGfL Cymru website. Below is the video that I created this morning to go with this activity in Wallwisher. The cool thing is that when the iPhone was at rest I received an email and the phone vibrated. The needles on iSeismo showed a vibration along the x and z axis, but not on the y-axis. So, the vibrator must be fixed onto a plane which is perpendicular to the y-axis. I bet you didn’t know that about the iPhone, did you? At least about the iPhone 3GS.

I created the Wallwisher wall as an example for teachers, but to use it with your classes you would need to register with Wallwisher and create your own wall by linking the video to the YouTube video in this blog.

As always I really value your feedback, so please leave a comment!

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Comments
  1. Pete Nevett says:

    Teaching Physics in rural Mexico leaves me looking for simple ways of teaching basic concepts. I would appreciate any suggestions for using iSeismo. I have just downloaded it. I can see how it might give me a small velocity/time graph but what else have you developed?

    Pete Nevett

    Tequisquiapan

    QUERETARO

    MEXICO

    • Alessio Bernardelli says:

      Hi Pete,
      I haven’t developed iSeimo, but I have used it in the way you saw in the video! I think having a tool like iSeismo, that allows you to independently show vibrations along the x, y and z axes is very powerful. I haven’t tried this yet, but maybe the iPhone could be placed in the middle of a springed system to generate an SHM graph! And by changing the conditions, say adding lengths of paper/card to the sides of the system, you could simulate and measure the effects of damping.

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