The Ultimate iPhone Upgrades

The iPhone is busily becoming our omniscient electronic overlord, an all-encompassing übergizmo assimilating more material than a Borg with rejection issues, and it isn’t all “give us money for fart noises” crap.  Some stride far beyond the app store, actually “doing” “things” with their hardware instead of handing over their credit card details for a few more pointless diversions.

1.  iPhone Magnifiying Glass

Instructable user t-skware is engaging in iPhone forensics, and kicking CSI’s (and the App store’s) ass while he’s at it.  Digital enhancement of images usually ends up with the most time-intensive pixels you’ll ever squint at, your computer slowing to a crawl as it turns a blurred picture into a bigger, more effectively blurred one.  You just can’t inject information into a picture that’s already taken – which is why he’s built an iPhone microscope.  Out of a pickle jar lid.



Pictured: MacGyvers iPhone

The end result sticks directly onto the Apple logo, which thanks to Apple is now the central origin reference point for all users (so it’s nice to see it used structurally instead of societally).

2.  iPhone Ocarina

The coolest ocarina since Zelda, and if you didn’t get that you’re probably not qualified to appreciate the full nerd joy of this truly incredible instrument.


The iCarina utterly explodes the idea that electronic music is lazy: this synthetic sound-maker combines three cross-connected iPhones, custom software and laser-cut perspex to create an instrument which wouldn’t look out of place in Buck Rogers.  Assuming Buck Rogers classed himself up a bit and stopped hanging out with that midget robot.  The top two iPhones present touch sensitive buttons, while the inverted under-Phone appears to sense the air blown by the user.  So as well as a web-wind instrument, it’s the first non-idiotic breath-sensing app of all time.

3.  Stellar Communications

The sort of thing you wouldn’t even make up because it sounds impossible, and an MIT artist-in-residence has already done it – that’s why he has such a cool job while you’re reading this instead of working.  Joe Davis connected his iPhone into the Arecibo radio telescope, and if you don’t know what an Arecibo is you actually already do: remember GoldenEye?  Remember the gigantic Bond-villain-lair radio dish?  That’s Arecibo, a real-life scientific installation so awesome even Hollywood and James Bond said “We can’t build anything cooler than that so let’s just use the real thing.”

Joe used the “Speak” application on his iPhone to record an encoded sequence for the RuBisCo protein (an essential component of photosynthesis and thus all life on Earth).  This was transmitted to ‘local’ stars several light-years away, making in one small step for a smartphone and acting as the apotheosis of the phrase  ”Can you hear me now?”

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