Google has developed a new app named Science Journal to bring out the hidden scientists in users. Users can record data such as speed, light and sound from the world around them and then later plot that data on graphs. They can annotate the data with notes and photos and compare it with past measurements.
No age limit
“Science Journal is a tool for doing science with your smartphone. You can use the sensors in your phone or connect to external sensors to conduct experiments on the world around you…. It’s the lab notebook you always have with you,” Google said in a press release.
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Google did not specify any age as its target audience and said anyone can be a maker or a scientist. Google says the app could seem boring to some engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in California as it’s not built for them. Engaging the curious public is the purpose of this app, the Internet firm states.
In a blog post, the Director of Google’s Making and Science Initiative, Chris DiBona, said the company believes that anyone can be a maker. He said that science is also fundamentally about improving the world around you and is not just limited to listening to lectures, memorizing facts or wearing a lab coat.
“It’s observing the world around us to figure out how it works and how we can make things better through experimentation or discovery,” DiBona said.
To promote the app, Google used the hypothesis, “How does my acceleration change as I run?” The screenshots of the app feature accelerometer data from users’ multiple trials.
Is Google Science Journal really useful?
Google’s app has won both praise and criticism from users. Supporters of the app argue that the intention behind developing the app was to facilitate interest among young scientists.
A user named Tye Aldana wrote that there are many curious people on this planet who have a lot to measure and research, and this app from serves as a tool for them to conveniently apply science and engineering, “hopefully, aiding to benefit Mankind and the Environment.” Another user, Roman Segura, notes that this app helps users investigate their surroundings further by showing them what is actually meant by noise, light and movement.
On the other hand, there were some who were not impressed at all and claim the app’s features are interesting only to young scientists. A user named Steve C found the app useless and very basic. The user notes that the app does not have the ability to download or analyze data.
It could be of use to students in the 6th or 7th grades for exploring science phenomena, but it not useful for exploration of scientific principles. Perhaps future versions will be better, a user suggested.
Nevertheless, the app is available for free onAndroid phones. As an add-on with the app, users can purchase an activity kit as well that comes inclusive of sensors and microcontrollers to complement experiments run on the app.