What You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Your Smartphone

Most people are on their smartphones from the moment they get up to the time they go to bed. A lot of commentators lazily refer to this state of affairs as an “addiction.” But there’s reason to believe that it may actually be a part of our evolution. Smartphones are essentially brain extenders. And anybody who has got one can quickly access all of the world’s knowledge with a few keystrokes. Thus, there’s a case to be made that digital technology is changing the very nature of our species.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk said about as much. Thanks to smartphones, we are already super-human symbiotic lifeforms he contended. But according to the billionaire entrepreneur, we are just bandwidth constrained. What he meant by that was that it takes a long time for the information on our devices to get into our heads. Our fingers and thumbs can only type so fast. And our brains can only absorb so much information in a single session.

That’s a problem. Right now, most of us are only using a fraction of our smartphone’s capabilities. We’d like to use more. But the phones themselves can do so much; it’s hard for to learn all their features.

Here’s are some of the things you didn’t know you could do with your smartphone.


Diagnose A Window Leak

Poorly sealed windows are a big problem if your home to be a warm, damp-free environment. But leaky windows can be notoriously difficult to diagnose with standard human biology, such as eyes. Here’s the good news. Smartphones can be outfitted with devices that extend the range of light waves that you can see. The FLIR One camera, for instance, plugs into your smartphone. It then interprets all the infrared radiation coming from its camera and displays it on the screen in a way that you can see. Thus, your smartphone allows you to see heat signatures as thermal images. All you then have to do is point your phone at a window of choice and look for dark purple patches. These cold areas could indicate a gap in your window, a leak, or worse.

Measure Your Health

Phones have been trying to measure your health for a while now. Back in 2013, Samsung launched its S-Health initiative, and other phone makers soon followed suit. But these technologies never really made a lasting impact. Yes, it was cool that your phone could tell you how many steps you’d taken in a day. But it wasn’t a tool for making real diagnostic measurements. Then along came the Apple watch and Fitbit. These wearable devices went one step further and could measure things like your pulse. But they still weren’t able to replace your doctor.

Now, though, a company called AliveCor has come up with a solution. They’ve made a small device, about the size of a domino, which can take accurate measurements of your heart rhythm. You put your fingers on the device, and then it connects, via Bluetooth to your phone. An app on your phone will then display your heart output in real time on the screen. The cool thing is that getting an ECG was once something that you needed a hospital and a specialist for. But with this new tech, we could be seeing the advent of home-based diagnosis. AliveCor’s app has features that allow you to interpret the ECG.


Use It In The Shower And Under Water

One of the most common reasons for people seeking phone repair in the past was that they dropped their phone in water. But new nanotechnology means that phone are now essentially waterproof. Take the Samsung S4 Active. This phone was one of the first to feature the new technology. And it proved very successful in weathering the abuse of a bunch of reviewers, keen to see if a waterproof phone was possible.

The key was the hydrophobic coating on the surface of all the internals and electronics. Special molecules were added to the PCB that actively repelled water. And that meant that the final frontier for phones, the bathroom, was no longer out of reach.

Do Math

Finally, this is one for all the kids out there who want a quick way to do their math homework. Right now, your phone has an inbuilt calculator. No surprises there. But did you know that there’s an app that lets you do calculations without having to type anything in? The developers of Photomath wanted to create an app where you could just take a picture, and the phone would work out the answer. Thanks to improvements in text recognition, the app is a reality. And it’ll do all sorts of calculations for you, on the spot.


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