presents to you: Gadget: 7 Amazing things you never knew your smartphone can do

Today’s smartphones are blank canvases: manufacturers provide the hardware, and we turn them into magical machines with apps that transform them into musical instruments or game consoles, business machines, or cat video players.

But it turns out we’re only scratching the surface. Who knew that smartphones make pretty good satellites? Here are 7 Amazing things you never knew your smartphone can do.

Smartphones (gadget) powering satellites


In February, a Google Nexus One went into orbit – not in an astronaut’s pocket, but as the brains of the STRaND-1 satellite.

A joint project between the University of Surrey’s Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited, the smartphone-powered “nanosatellite” will run experimental apps to collect data from space.

Smartphones forecasting the weather


Networking expert OpenSignal has discovered something interesting: the sensors in Android phones designed to measure battery temperature, light, pressure, and so on can be used to generate surprisingly accurate weather reports.

Get enough phones involved and you’ve got a weather sensing network. Today the data just reports, but the prediction is the logical next step.

Smartphones (gadget) as mobile medical labs


There are medical applications too: “Imagine your doctor could instantly access data on which countries you’ve been in. The extremes of pressure and temperature you’d experienced, the amount of exercise you are getting, even the humidity where you live,” OpenSignal says.

See also: YouTube: 8 amazing skills you can simply learn

Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed an iPhone cradle. An app that turns the device into a fully-featured mobile medical lab. It uses the phone’s camera to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses, and other organisms.

As RedOrbit reports: “The cradle contains a series of smaller versions of the optical components found in much larger. Although the cradle only holds $200 worth of optical components. It is just as accurate as $50,000 models in the lab”.

Smartphones (gadget) driving cars

Google’s self-driving cars carry around $30,000 of high-tech hardware and sensors – but students at Australia’s Griffith University reckon they can get the job done with a single smartphone.

Instead of LIDAR sensors and stacks of cameras. He built a prototype that relies mainly on the phone’s camera and in-built GPS.

Smartphone health screening


The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) has found a way to turn smartphone screens into digital doctors. The same mechanism that detects your taps and swipes could also detect proteins and DNA molecules…

According to the study co-lead Hyun-Gyu Park, the screens “are able to recognize DNA molecules with nearly 100%. conventional medical equipment can and we believe equal results are possible for proteins.” For now, it’s a promising development rather than an imminent product, but the potential is enormous.

Read also: Avoid doing these things, it kills your phone’s battery

Smartphone (gadget) metal detectors


The magnetometers built into many Android smartphones have surprisingly beneficial applications: as Medgadget explains, “Imagine having a metal detector handy when you, as an emergency physician, have an unconscious patient come in and you need to know whether he has an implant.”

The sensors aren’t strong enough for distance work – don’t expect to find buried treasure on a beach. Yet, it’s an interesting example of useful unintended consequences of smartphone tech.

Smartphones detecting chemical warfare attacks


Never mind anti-virus software: if the US Department of Homeland Security gets its wish, smartphones will soon run anti-chemical warfare software.

Read also: Tips on how to choose a quality smartphone.

The Cell-All project aims to persuade manufacturers to equip smartphones with cheap chemical sensors – “a buck a sensor”, the DHS says – that can detect anything from chlorine leaks to sarin gas attacks. The technology is currently moving to the proof-of-principle stage to see if the idea is really practical.

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