Some ideas for the accelerometer

Ortwin Regel ortwin at
Sun Oct 14 21:57:52 CEST 2007

This doesn't work well because the screen moves with the phone. So if you
want to scroll right fast, you'll have trouble to see what's going on on the
screen. Scrolling should rather be done on the touchscreen because that
works really well. However, dragging the map/website as if it was physical
is too slow in most cases. Increasing scrolling velocity by the distance
from the initial touchpoint would probably be a good idea but adjustable
scrolling speed would be great already. Instead of scrolling one screen far
when I move my finger once across the screen, I want to scroll four screens
so that I get where I want quicker. Someone else might only want to scroll
one screen.
Kinetic scrolling can extend this and look/feel awesome but also be very
annoying so it should probably be optional.

Now what do we do with the accelerometer? I like the zooming idea. It
shouldn't require a hardware button press because those are kind of hard to
press. Touching the screen should be enough and it would mean that you can
zoom and scroll at the same time and pretty intuitively.

About the initial idea: Judging from my DS accelerometer (which is different
hardware but should be relatively similar), the sampling frequency will
probably be pretty high. I still doubt that you can reliably differentiate
between walking and hitting the phone. However, it might be possible to
shake it two or three times with a frequency faster than any form of running
and it should be possible to detect this. This probably won't help you if
the phone is hidden in a huge backpack.
It's also important to remember that the motion of picking up your phone
should not lead to denial of the call... ;)


On 10/12/07, David Pottage <david at> wrote:
> On Friday 12 October 2007, Oliver wrote:
> > I've had similar ideas, but haven't posted them yet. Here's one:
> >
> > Imagine you're surfing the internet, or checking a map, or something
> like
> > that. We don't have a multi-touch screen, so we can't zoom out with our
> > fingers like iPhone users. Zooming out, though, is something we really
> > should be able to do. So just hold a hardware button and bring the phone
> > closer to your face!
> >
> > The site/image should be shrunk in such a way that you'll think it is
> > stationary "behind" the phone, and the phone screen is a window through
> > which you can view this image/site! When you've spotted something you
> want
> > to focus on, somewhere else on the page, don't scroll, just keep holding
> > the button bringing the phone/window down to that place. If you stop
> > holding the button, the image can either stay where it is, or go to it's
> > original zoom-level.
> >
> > Just imagine, if you think of the screen as a window, what incredibly
> fun
> > games you could develop for the phone!
> I think a better idea would be to think of the screen as a mirror that you
> are
> using to view a much larger page behind you. That way you can intuitively
> scroll both vertically and horizontally a large page or map by tilting the
> screen, and without using the touchscreen. (Which can be reserved for
> other
> functions).
> A lot of UI ideas here are coppied from other touch screen devices. That's
> fine where appropriate, but the Neo 1973 is the only phone with built in
> accelerometers, and I think we should make use of them where we can. We
> should not just copy the iPhone or whatever, that only uses it's
> accelerometer as a tilt sensor to make the display image the right way up.
> --
> David Pottage
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> community at
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