Falafel just released a new mobile application that displays the magnetometer sensor of your Windows Phone 7. In addition to displaying the magnetometer, it also displays true north, and the up vector all in a “floating compass” 3D view. I’ve been playing around with the concept of using the accelerometer and magnetometer sensors and displaying them in a nice 3D format for some time now, as evidenced by my posts: Silverlight/XNA and Correcting WP7 Attitude Alignment, Showing the WP7 Magnetometer in 3D with XNA/Silverlight, WP7 Attitude and Magnetometer UPDATE with HTC Titan, Basic XNA Graphics for the WP7, and Loading Google SketchUp 3D Models into Windows Phone Applications. Wow, that’s a bunch of posts. So, it was only natural to clean up the code a bit and submit it to the marketplace.
Go here now and download!
It is a try/buy application. The trial version is fully functional, with an ad that shows in the Startup screen. After a minute of showing the magnetometer, it will switch you back to the Startup screen so you can click on an ad. The full $0.99 version will remove the ad and allow you to stare at the magnetometer screen all day long. You can turn each of the graphical elements on or off. That’s it, very basic.
One addition over anything that I blogged about was a nice looking compass that I did in SketchUp.
For all of you non-science nerds who are wondering, what can you do with a magnetometer? Actually quit a lot. The Wiki page on magnetometers is well filled. Most commonly, magnetometers read the strength and direction of the earth's magnetic field and are used to read magnetic north and function as a compass. Magnetometers can also be used to find large unseen objects that contain ferrous materials such as shipwrecks, mineral deposits, or steel structures.
In my opinion, one of the coolest potential uses for this magnetometer was inspired by the discovery of the lost Civil War iron clad USS Cairo. Historians used a pocket compass to narrow down the search area. If that shipwreck could affect a pocket compass, it would really affect a modern phone magnetometer.
So download the app and go discover something!