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Does Life In 2018 Live Up To What We Predicted A Century Ago?

Claudia Geib , Futurism

People in the early 20th century were hopeful about the future innovation might bring. The technology that came out of World War I, and the growing potential brought by electricity (half of all U.S. homes had electric power by 1925) had many looking ahead to the coming century. Futurists of the early 1900s predicted an incredible boom in technology that would transform human lives for the better.

In fact, many of those predictions for the future in which we live weren’t far off, from the proliferation of automobiles and airplanes to the widespread transmission of information. Of course, the specifics of how those devices would work sometimes fell broad of the mark. Yet these predictions show us just how much our technology has progressed in just a century — and just how much further more innovation could take us.

Calling the Future

On a cool February day in 1917, storied inventor Alexander Graham Bell gave the graduating class of McKinley Manual Training School a rousing speech that would later sound a bit like prophecy.

“Now, it is very interesting and instructive to look back over the various changes that have occurred and trace the evolution of the present from the past,” Bell said, after recalling the incredible transformation wrought by electricity and automobiles alone. “By projecting these lines of advance into the future, you can forecast the future, to a certain extent, and recognize some of the fields of usefulness that are opening up for you.”

In 1876, Bell himself had patented the device known as the telephone, which used wires to transmit the sound of human speech. As this device spread, its capabilities allowed voices to cross enormous distances. In 1915, one such “wireless telephony” system had allowed a Virginia man to speak to another in Paris while a man in Honolulu listened in — a distance of 4,900 miles (about 7,886 kilometers), setting the record for the longest distance communication at that time.

Bell placing the first New York to Chicago telephone call in 1892. Image Credit: Gilbert H. Grosvenor Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Bell marveled at this achievement and the change it had already created, predicting that “this achievement surely foreshadows the time when we may be able to talk with a man in any part of the world by telephone and without wires.” At the time of Bell’s speech, the U.S. had an estimated 11.7 million working telephones; by the year 2000, that number had risen to nearly 103 million.

Extrapolating forward, Bell predicted a future in which this technology allowed people to pretty much anything remotely: “We shall probably be able to perform at a distance by wireless almost any mechanical operation that can be done at hand,” he said. And he wasn’t wrong.

Transportation of the Future

People a century ago were obsessed with the travel of the future. By 1914, the Ford Motor Company had developed the first moving assembly line, allowing the company to produce 300,000 cars in a single year. With transit beginning to transform society, futurists began imagining a world in which every person from Miami to Moscow could own their very own automobile. In that regard, they weren’t too far off — 95 percent of American households own cars, according to a 2016 government report. But those imagined automobiles looked a bit different from the ones we know today.

An illustration from the 1918 Scientific American article “The Motor Car of the Future.” Image Credit: Scientific American

On January 6, 1918, the headline of an article in The Washington Times announced that the “Automobile of Tomorrow Will Be Constructed Like a Moving Drawing Room.” The author was writing about prediction in Scientific American that described the car of the future. It would be water-tight and weather-proof, with sides made entirely of glass, and seats that could be moved anywhere in the vehicle. It would be decked out with power steering, brakes, heating, and a small control board for navigation. A finger lever would replace the steering wheel. Other designs imagined that cars would roll around on just three wheels, or on air-filled spheres to remove the need for shocks.

Future-forecasters of the early 1900s were enthralled by the idea that our everyday travel would not be confined to land. Take, for example, the series of postcards produced between 1899 and 1910 by French artist Jean-Marc Côté and his collaborators, who seemed confident that by the year 2000, we would have already colonized both sky and sea — and recruited some of their residents for our transit purposes.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Air travel was foremost in people’s minds: The Wright brothers made their first successful flight of a powered airplane in 1903, spurring other inventors and engineers to test innumerable aircraft designs before World War I. As such, it’s not surprising that Côté’s minute works imagined that, by the year 2000, nearly every form of transportation would be via air. Aerial taxi servicesfloating dirigible battleshipsa flying postman, and air-based public transportation all appear in the whimsical depictions of our predicted current day.

Some craft, like an aerial rescue service or planes outfitted for warfare, are now an everyday part of military forces (though we don’t yet have the “French invisible aeroplane” that Scientific American promised was forthcoming in 1915).

Other predicted technologies, like personal flight devices that allow humans to huntor play tennis aloft, may become features of our near future once jet packs become available.

Artist Albert Robida imagines (circa 1882) a night at the opera in the year 2000, by which time we would all have personal flying cars. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Indeed, personal flying machines are a prominent feature of the 21st century as envisioned from the 19th and 20th — particularly the concept that personal flying cars would become commonplace. Forward-looking Victorians, such as artist Albert Robida in 1882, assumed the skies would be thick with flying cars by 2018.

In the May 1923 issue of Science and Invention, science fiction writer Hugo Gernsback described his vision for these flying cars, which he dubbed the “helicar,” as a solution to the automobile traffic he already saw jamming the streets of New York City:

The only practical solution is to combine the automobile with an airplane and this no doubt will happen during the next few decades. The Helicopter Automobile or, for short, the helicar, will not take up very much more room than the present large 7-passenger automobile, nor will it weigh much more than our present-day car, but instead of rolling down the avenue, you will go straight up in the air, and follow the air traffic lines, then descend at any place you wish.

We might not yet have a flying machine parked in every garage, but organizations such as Uber and NASA, the Russian defense company KalashnikovToyota for the 2020 Olympics, and numerous smaller companies are developing personal flying cars, so this too may not be far off.

Alexander Graham Bell addressed the possibility of transportation by air, noting that travel by boat was cheaper than travel by rail, because no tracks had to be laid. Bell suggested that a “possible solution of the problem over land may lie in the development of aerial locomotion.” He continued: “However much money we may invest in the construction of huge aerial machines carrying many passengers, we don’t have to build a road,” — a sentiment echoed by one of his fictional successors.

Technology Gets Personal

In 1900, Smithsonian curator and writer John Elfrith Watkins, Jr., penned an article titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years” for The Ladies’ Home Journal. Looking forward at the fresh new century, Watkins imagined a world in which technology wasn’t left in the hands of industry or the military — instead, it would be redirected to entertain and convenience everyday people.

Though he didn’t foresee television in its current form, Watkins predicted that technology would one day bring distant concerts and operas to private homes, sounding “as harmonious as though enjoyed from a theatre box,” and that “persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span.” He also predicted that color photographs would one day be quickly transmitted around the world, and that “if there be a battle in China a hundred years hence snapshots of its most striking events will be published in the newspapers an hour later.” One can only guess what he would have thought of the selfie.

Jean-Marc Côté’s 1910 imaginings of the “correspondence cinema” of the 21st century aren’t too far from today’s Skype or FaceTime. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Watkins imagined that technology would transform our homes and diets. Though the mechanically-cooled refrigerator wasn’t invented until 1925, and wouldn’t become widely used until the 1940s, Watkins correctly predicted that “refrigerators will keep great quantities of food fresh for long intervals,” and that “fast-flying refrigerators on land and sea” would deliver fruits and vegetables from around the world to provide produce out-of-season. He even called the development of fast-food delivery, anticipating “ready-cooked meals… served hot or cold to private houses.” He believed these meal deliveries would replace home-cooking entirely (for some city-dwellers with Seamless accounts, that’s not too far off), and might arrive by pneumatic tubes as well as by “automobile wagons.”

Some of Watkins’ predictions might have been close to reality, but he was pretty far off about other aspects of life in the 21st century. He thought that man would have exterminated pests like roaches, mice, and mosquitoes, as well as all wild animals, which would “exist only in menageries.” This prediction was surprisingly common in the early 1900s, and might have been a reaction to then-recent extinctions like that of the quagga (1883), the passenger pigeon (1914), and the thylacine (1934). Though we are now going through another global extinction caused by human activity, we can be grateful that we haven’t quite reached the level of extinction most Victorian futurists expected.

Watkins also thought that we would have eliminated the letters C, X or Q in the everyday alphabet, as they were “unnecessary;” that humans would essentially make ourselves a into super-species, with physical education starting in the nursery, until “a man or woman unable to walk ten miles at a stretch will be regarded as a weakling.” Unfortunately, our global obesity problem shows the reality was, in fact, quite the opposite.

Thematically, though, these predictions are sound: As the use of electricity spread, and technology like automobiles and telephones became more affordable to use, Watkins could envision an age in which technology was entirely integrated into our lives. To futurists of the early 1900s, it seemed obvious that robots and automation would be essential to 21st century people, serving as our chauffeurscleaning the housescheduling the laundry, and even electrically transmitting handshakes.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Alexander Graham Bell also predicted this trend, and he thought it heralded something particularly promising for the McKinley graduates he addressed in 1918. Foreseeing the rise of an industry centered around technology and an exploding need for scientists and engineers, he told them: “It is safe to say that scientific men and technical experts are destined in the future to occupy distinguished and honorable positions in all the countries of the world. Your future is assured.”

A Future of Clean Energy

Perhaps the most surprising predictions from the past century regard fossil fuels and the environment. Yes, today some people still resist transitioning away from fossil fuels and ignore the scientific consensus on climate change. But bright minds of the early 20th century were already theorizing that we would one day have to quit our fossil fuel habit.

The city of the future, as illustrated in a 1928 edition of Popular Mechanics, would see traffic re-routed below ground to avoid congestion. Image Credit: Popular Mechanics

As early as 1896, scientist Svante Arrhenius calculated that doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would raise Earth’s temperature between 8 and 9 degrees Celsius. Arrhenius was inspired by the startling discovery of his friend Arvid Högbom, who realized that human activities were releasing carbon dioxide at roughly the same rate as natural processes. Because of the rate at which industrial countries burned coal in 1896, Arrhenius believed human-caused warming wouldn’t reach problematic levels for thousands of years. But by the time he published his 1908 book Worlds in the Makingan attempt to explain the evolution of the universe to a popular audience, that rate had increased so much that Arrhenius was convinced that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could double within a few centuries.

Scientists as a whole wouldn’t come around to Arrhenius’ ideas, or recognize that burning carbon-based fuels had an adverse effect on our planet, for at least a century. Yet even before scientists understood the climate effects of fossil fuels, futurists were predicting that we would have to drop our use of coal and oil before long. “Coal and oil are going up [in usage] and are strictly limited in quantity,” Alexander Graham Bell said in his February 1917 speech. He continued:

We can take coal out of a mine, but we can never put it back. We can draw oil from subterranean reservoirs, but we can never refill them again. We are spendthrifts in the matter of fuel and are using our capital for our running expenses. In relation to coal and oil, the world’s annual consumption has become so enormous that we are now actually within measurable distance of the end of the supply. What shall we do when we have no more coal or oil!

He went on to note that hydropower was, at the time, limited, and implied that one day it might be possible to generate energy from the tides or waves, or “the employment of the sun’s rays directly as a source of power.”

Bell wasn’t the only one who was sure we would have to find a new source of energy in the next century. In 1917, when a severe coal shortage in the U.S. caused people to call for the resource’s conservation, one writer for the Chicago News asserted that stockpiling coal would ultimately be foolish. He insisted that worrying about the supply of coal would soon be like fretting over the supply of tallow candles: pointless.

“These gifted lunatics who are worrying about the coal supply are in the same class,” the Chicago News writer insisted. “It doesn’t occur to them that in a hundred years people will be saying, ‘Our grandfathers, the poor boobs, actually used coal for heating purposes!’”

We’re not laughing quite yet. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. still gets 17 percent of its energy from coal. Another 28 percent comes from petroleum products, and 33 percent from natural gas; we get only 12 percent of our electricity from the renewable sources that the Chicago News writer — who was sure we’d find a way “to put the sun’s energy in storage, and pump it into people’s houses thru pipes” — predicted by now. Globally, coal makes up about 27 percent of the world’s energy production, and renewable energy about 24 percent.

The good news is that this distribution is changing as renewable energy becomes cheaper than fossil fuels, edging us ever closer to the bright future that 20th century minds thought we’d be living in. Fingers crossed the whale-bus will be next.

 

Science & Technology

Should Cannabinoids be Considered Essential Nutrients?

In 1753, a Scottish surgeon by the name of James Lind proved that scurvy could be effectively cured with citrus juice. By drinking plenty of lemonade over the course of a two-week long treatment, his patients would fully recover from the fatigue, sores and bleeding typically inflicted by this malady, which was formerly thought to be caused by poor digestion and unclean water (when the real culprit was a simple deficiency in vitamin C).

Until that discovery, the debilitating and often fatal disease limited the ability of seafaring vessels to travel long distances. But after Lind’s popularization of a cure, sailors learned to effectively prevent scurvy by packing barrels of lemon juice and fresh limes for their travels. Today, the disease is so rare as to be almost unheard of, but British sailors retain the nickname limeys, which dates back to their adoption of the practice.

Meanwhile, often derided as a marketing term without scientific basis, the label “superfood” indeed has no legal definition, but according to the Macmillan Dictionary it can be applied to any food that’s “considered to be very good for your health and that may even help some medical conditions.” And so, because vitamin C is found in large quantities in citrus fruits—oranges, lemons and limes can be considered superfoods.

You are what you eat, after all, and foods like kale, sweet potatoes, blueberries and wild salmon provide essential macro- and micro-nutrients that the human body requires for health. Superfoods confer increased vitality and allow humans to fully thrive, along with preventing or treating diseases.

For example, broccoli has widely touted anti-cancer properties, while salmon provides Omega-3 fatty acids that protect your heart, and blueberries arrive packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids that prevent inflammation and can help prevent cancer and heart disease.

Now imagine that all around the world, millions of people are suffering from a modern-day version of scurvy—that is, an easily treatable condition caused by a lack of essential nutrition. Only in this case, the missing dietary element is cannabis, or more specifically cannabinoids, a set of incredibly medicinal compounds found primarily in the marijuana plant.

All humans have what’s called an endocannabinoid system, comprised of receptors that fit these cannabinoids like a lock fits a key, and this endocannabinoid system regulates many vital systems in the body—including respiratory, circulatory and neurological. Which means, if that system malfunctions and cannabinoids are not brought into the body from the outside (by smoking/vaping/eating cannabis) to return it to balance, the negative consequences can be severe, or even life-threatening.

Dr. Ethan Russo first articulated this idea of “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” (CECD) in a 2004 scientific paper, describing a condition that contributes to high levels of cancer and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and rheumatoid arthritis. With the research to back it up, he’s basically claiming that a lack of cannabis can be the underlying cause of these and many other potentially deadly conditions.

Now imagine that the preventative cure for all of these painful, heartbreaking outcomes could lie in the cannabis plant being widely used as a dietary supplement, much as lemons and limes ended scurvy over two hundred years ago.

After all, if CECD is caused when the body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids on its own, and this lack of endogenous cannabinoids can be corrected by adding cannabis from herbal sources, such a simple dietary supplement could save untold lives and relieve immeasurable suffering.

And so, much like James Lind and his studies into the effect of vitamin C on scurvy, Russo is currently pioneering research into one of the least understood, but probably most important, superfoods on the planet. One significant difference in their research? Oranges and limes aren’t a Schedule 1 narcotic that can get you thrown in jail for years.

That legal status has been a serious impediment to proper research on cannabis’s nutritional and medicinal value, but it hasn’t stopped other physicians from picking up on Russo’s lead.

An outspoken advocate for juicing raw cannabis leaves as a dietary supplement, Dr. William Courtney popularized the practice amongst growers in Northern California. Currently in the midst of setting up a juicing retreat center in the Caribbean, Courtney writes that “akin to Essential Fatty Acids and Essential Amino Acids, there needs to be Minimum Daily Requirements established to guide worldwide adoption of raw cannabis as the single most important dietary element.”

While juicing raw cannabis is not psychoactive, it does allow for much of the plant’s medicinal benefits to be absorbed by the body. However, for many patients, sourcing an adequate amount of fresh cannabis leaves for juicing purposes can be troublesome. So Courtney and a growing chorus of other activists continue to agitate for the right to use cannabis in any amount necessary, much as any other vegetable.

Because along with its botanical cousin hemp, it seems that cannabis is a superfood in its own right, conferring superb health benefits, anti-inflammatory action and the power to prevent and treat diseases, along with many relaxing and rejuvenating qualities. In this sense, we can consider cannabis as another tool in our arsenal along with blue-green algae, maca, yacon, ginseng, cacao, matcha and other health-positive superfoods that help us reach our full, vibrant, active potential.

Fortunately, while all-too-many cannabis-infused edibles manufacturers continue to flood the market with sugary sweets, an increasing number of progressive companies recognize the plant’s unique medicinal benefits and have devoted themselves to creating cannabis-infused foods that combine cannabis with other superfood ingredients for maximum healing and supreme vitality.

Heather Hoffman, co-founder and chief medical officer at Pura Vida Health, is a radiant young woman who studied holistic nutrition at the Canadian Institute of Natural Nutrition. When meeting her, it’s hard to imagine that she struggled mightily with epilepsy throughout her youth, but the condition is currently non-existent.

“Since I tried cannabis, I have not had a seizure,” Hoffman said. “It’s been five years, and I consider myself cured.”

Pura Vida creates power bars and granolas that pair ganja with other healthful ingredients, including papaya extract, oats and almonds, a blend that Hoffman believes “helps the body better utilize cannabis.” Available in over 100 California dispensaries, Pura Vida products use coconut oil, which “acts as a platform for cannabis to help the body absorb it, so people report getting higher quicker and feeling more of an impact.”

Hoffman said that while it can be tough to get healthy options on the shelves of dispensaries, if “we want cannabis to be what it truly is—a healing medicine—then we have a responsibility to actually do that,” and greater education is necessary so patients understand that nutritious cannabis-infused foods exist.

“It’s best to not give cancer patients a chocolate bar,” she explained. “Corn syrup and sugars aren’t medicine.”

When using cannabis as medicine, especially for patients fighting cancer, it’s important to remember that sugar feeds cancerous growth. Items that eschew refined sweeteners and processed ingredients in favor of combining cannabis with other nutrient-dense whole foods, additional herbs and supplements create functional edibles designed to promote specific effects like “energy boost” or “super sleep.”

It’s a viewpoint shared by Ezra Malmuth, founder of the Sababa Snacks Collective and also a graduate of the culinary nutrition program at Johnson & Wales University. While assisting a friend’s father who was suffering from stage 4 cancer, Malmuth found that a lot of the cannabis edibles he was eating “were not health conscious, had a lot of sugar and calories and didn’t taste great.” Determined to find a better way, Malmuth began combining superfood ingredients into “clusters,” small, bite-size morsels of dried fruit, nuts, spices and herbs.

“It was like an oatmeal cookie meets a granola bar,” Malmuth explained. “And it was delicious while providing the medicine that he needed.”

Sababa Snacks went on to capture a second place award for their Caramel Cashew Apricot clusters at the 2016 Nor-Cal Cannabis Cup, a win Malmuth attributes to “people who understand the value of wholesome food being attracted to this product.”

When selecting ingredients to pair with the 25 milligram dose of THC per cluster, Malmuth chose to create “an inherent offering to the body,” mixing oats and nuts to provide protein and dried fruit to provide carbohydrates, making a combination of macro-nutrients that supports the metabolic process. Favored as an athletic recovery snack, these clusters help long-distance runners “eliminate the inflammatory response to exercise,” Malmuth said, “while optimizing performance.”

Joseph Winke, founder of Jambo Superfoods, has always treated cannabis as an essential vitamin, mixing it into new versions of traditional healing foods, such as the company’s bestselling “Daily Ritual,” a unique blend of THC combined with medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and ghee from grass-fed cows. The resulting super-butter is meant to be enjoyed with morning coffee in the Bulletproof-style, or simply spread onto bread or used in cooking.

Winke champions the use of MCT oil, a type of coconut oil that is liquid at room temperature, explaining that this form of fat is especially bioavailable, so the “body is able to easily process these fats, so you get a really good uptake,” making the THC more effective.

“We use actual food that the body knows how to metabolize,” Winke explained. “Not high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring, or whey protein isolates…humans perform better when we have an abundance of cannabinoids.”

Much like how we perform better when we have vitamin C, antioxidants and essential amino acids available in our diets.

So remember, when we fight to free the cannabis plant, we’re fighting for our lives!

By Elise McDonough

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Science & Technology

Boston Dynamics video shows its humanoid robot running and jumping over obstacles

If you thought you’d be able to run away from the terrifying new breed of robots, bad news.

Boston Dynamics has revealed a video of its terrifying Atlas robot running and jumping over obstacles with ease.

‘Atlas does parkour,’ the firm says in the description for the video, which shows the robot leaping up a series of 40cm steps with ease, and over logs with a single bound.

It says the robot’s software has been updated giving it the new features.

‘The control software uses the whole body including legs, arms and torso, to marshal the energy and strength for jumping over the log and leaping up the steps without breaking its pace.

‘Atlas uses computer vision to locate itself with respect to visible markers on the approach to hit the terrain accurately. ‘

Earlier this year Boston Dynamics posted two videos showing off the new skills of two of its advanced automatons.

In one, Atlas, a humanoid robot, can be seen jogging around a grassy field, before leaping over a log that’s obstructing its path.

In the second, a SpotMini robo-dog navigates its way around an office building, climbing and descending a set of stairs with ease, all under its own direction.

The canine automatons look eerily similar to those featured in an episode of the sci-fi series, where mechanised creatures hunt humans in a post-apocalyptic future.

Boston Dynamics, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, manually steered SpotMini around its test course to prepare for the demonstration.

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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How to Easily Locate the Accelerometer in an iPhone

Everyone should probably know that I’m obsessed with both physics and smart phones. If I can use my phone for a physics experiment, I’m good to go. That’s exactly what I am going to do right now—use some physics to find the location of the accelerometer in the iPhone 7.

Your smart phone has a bunch of sensors in it. One of the most common is the accelerometer. It’s basically a super tiny mass connected with springs (not actual springs). When the phone accelerates in a particular direction, some of these springs will get compressed in order to make the tiny test mass also accelerate. The accelerometer measures this spring compression and uses that to determine the acceleration of the phone. With that, it will know if it is facing up or down. It also can estimate how far you move and use this along with the camera to find out where real world objects are, using ARKit.

So, we know there is a sensor in the phone—but where is it located? I’m not going to take apart my phone; everyone knows I’ll never get it back together after that. Instead, I will find out the location by moving the phone in a circular path. Yes, moving in a circle is a type of acceleration.

Of course you already knew that circular motion was a type of acceleration. Yes, you knew this because you have been in car (you have probably been in a car). It turns out that the human body can also feel accelerations—although we sometimes confuse these accelerations with gravitational forces, but we can still feel them. If you are sitting in a car seat and the vehicle speeds up, it accelerates and you can feel that. Now if that car is turning in a circle, you can also feel it. That turning car is accelerating—even if it travels at a constant speed.

If you want to really understand why circular motion is a type of acceleration, you need to start with the definition of acceleration.

Here the Δ means “change in”. So the acceleration is the change in velocity divided by the change in time—that is a rate. But here is the key point. Both the acceleration and velocity are vector quantities. This means that they depend on direction as well as magnitude. Since the velocity is a vector, you can have an acceleration just by changing the direction of the velocity. Moving in a circle at a constant speed means there is indeed an acceleration.

If we have an object moving in a circle, the acceleration is pointed towards the center of the circle and depends on two things: the angular velocity (ω) and the circular radius (r). If you increase either of these values, the magnitude of the acceleration will also increase according to the following:

So perhaps you can see where this is going. If I move a phone around in a circle, I can measure both the acceleration and the angular velocity. From this, I can calculate the radius of the circle—which will be the distance from the center of the circle to the accelerometer. That shouldn’t be too difficult. Actually, I have done this experiment before but it was a slightly different setup.

Actually, you can do this yourself. Really, all you need a device that rotates the phone such that it moves in a circle with a constant radius. For me, I used this nice rotating platform.

Notice the addition of the ruler so that I can accurately measure the distance from the center of the circle to the bottom of the phone. I also put a small clamp at the end to prevent the phone from flinging off the platform. That would be bad.

The other thing you need is a way to measure both the angular velocity and the acceleration. Most phones have a type of gyroscope to measure rotations so that you can get both measurements with your phone. Although there are several apps to record sensor data on your phone, but I really like PhyPhox (for both Android and iOS).

Now we are all set. Start recording data and rotate the phone. As the angular velocity changes, so does the acceleration (since the radius is fixed). Since the acceleration is proportional to the square of the angular velocity, I can plot acceleration vs. ω22. It should look something like this (hopefully).

It seems to be linear—so that’s good. The slope of this line is 0.14138 meters with an intercept of 0.093 (rad/s)2 (that’s close to zero). That slope is the important part. It’s the distance from the center of the circle to the sensor. I recorded the distance of the bottom of the phone to the center with a radius of 0.09 meters. This means that the accelerometer is 5.1 centimeters above the bottom of the phone.

But wait! What about the side-to-side location? I can repeat the experiment with the side of the phone facing the center of the circle. Here is the data for that run.

In this case, I had the screen facing down with the “sleep” button side of the phone facing the center of the circle at a radius of 15.9 cm. The slope of the line above is 17.7 cm. That means the sensor is 1.8 cm from the side. OK, this is technically wrong, but I’m going to use it anyway. The 17.7 cm is actually the radial distance to the sensor. This will only give me the distance from the side of phone if the sensor was half way from the top of the phone. Oh well, this will be close enough.

So here is a diagram of my iPhone (looking at it from the back).

Pretty sure that’s where the sensor is located. Now I just need to take apart my phone to verify this result. Oh wait. I’m not going to do that.

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