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Google uses accelerometer API in Jules Verne Google Doodle (googleblog.blogspot.com)
105 points by tomwans on Feb 8, 2011 | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments

FYI, the accelerometer works on a MacBook Pro with Chrome or Firefox as well. I remember when Kris showed me the demo on his Mac, I was like "Wow, you can do that on a normal laptop?"

All kinds of laptops have had accelerometers since the early 2000s or so. (IBM ran commercials for their ThinkPads with “airbag” all the time. Yep, this was already built into laptops when IBM still sold ThinkPads.) They stop the hard drive when accelerations get too extreme.

Yet having the accelerometer made usable by software is actually nice. It was (and still can be, sometimes in HD themselves) often a hardwired feature. Also, there's quite a gap in sensibility between detecting a drop and registering subtle variations of the acceleration vector.

I thought they stopped the drive when the acceleration is zero (freefall). If the acceleration is high, it's probably too late.

That makes a lot of sense. Fun fact: The astronauts on the ISS use ThinkPads [0]. They would have to disable the accelerometer if their laptops had one.

(I’m now just going to claim that zero was the extreme I was referring to.)

[0] http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Susan_Helms_...

Edit: The laptop in question — model A31p from 2003 — doesn’t have an accelerometer. http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Category:A31p

Zero acceleration only happens after an object has been falling for a long time (more then a few seconds) and the friction is in balance with gravity. Zero acceleration also happens when the laptop is just sitting on a table. Probably wouldn't be a good measure to stop the drive.

Initially, an object falling will accelerate with g=9.81m/s^2, after it reaches the ground it will de-accelerate to a speed of 0m/s in a couple of ms. You are confusing weightlessness/zero-g with no acceleration.

I'm talking about the acceleration that the sensor is measuring. If you are holding it still, it measures 1g toward the ground.

If the drive is falling, certainly it is accelerating toward the ground but the sensor measures zero acceleration. This is the relative frame of reference.

And which devices that support Firefox or Chrome actually have accelerometers? It doesn't work on my Froyo phone...

ThinkPads, Mac Laptops

Doesn't work on my new Thinkpad T510, running Ubuntu and Chromium 9.0.

I know it has an accelerometer (I've seen the bundled Windows software use it), but I don't know where the API to access that data is.

See http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/HDAPS .

I am not sure whether Firefox or Chrome/Chromium on Linux will actually read the data that is provided by hdaps.

Thank you! :)

Works on my iPhone with Safari and my MacBook with Chrome, but not on my MacBook with Safari. Go figure.

It doesn't only support Firefox and chrome, but my N900 has both and it works fine (though slowly).

the nexus 1/s, probably.

Default Nexus 1 install has a Mobile Webkit browser, which doesn't even get the interactive version.

It works - somewhat - on an iPad - but there's a problem in that tilting the iPad makes the screen rotate and locking the screen seems to disable the tilt events.

Best experience is on a MacBook with Chrome, IMHO.

Incredible that the clever google logo doesn't work on the google phone...

I just tried it with my mac. I was surprised that chrome had access to the accelerometers. I thought they were only used to make sure the hard drive doesn't die in case of dropage.

where's the one that switching workspaces when you tap the left/right side of the laptop?

Ditto default Nexus S. Dang.

Spec (for webkit based browsers): http://dev.w3.org/geo/api/spec-source-orientation.html of how to access acceleration data.

Mozilla does it somewhat differently:


You can view source on this page for the normalization code to harmonize both implementations:

http://studio.html5rocks.com/samples/orientation/index.html (see VideoPhysicsController.prototype._onTilt() )

The accelerometer interaction hooks into javascript via browser events.

Here's the basic usage for chrome: (for firefox the event is MozOrientation, and values are radians rather than degrees)

  window.addEventListener('deviceorientation', function(evt) {
    var x = evt.gamma, y = evt.beta;
  }, false);

Doesn't work on my 2010 Macbook Air. I was a little confused until it dawned on me that due to the SSD, Apple had no reason to build in an accelerometer.

I navigated through the entire doodle just to see if there was something encoded in it as well, like in the cr-48 ad.

well ?

Huzzah for Whale Sharks[1]! Funky critters. The "Google" at the bottom is a nice touch, too.

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark

It would be interesting to log this data, and try to figure out how many users are leaning back, in a car, etc. I wonder what kind of patterns you'd see.

Doesn't work on Android? Sometimes Google confuses me.

I didn't know they'd done it. I opened Firefox and grabbed my Macbook to head for the couch and was most surprised by the awesome.

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