Tag Archives: Science Journal

Open sourcing Science Journal iOS



Google’s Science Journal app enables you to use the sensors in your mobile devices to perform science experiments. We believe anyone can be a scientist anywhere. Science doesn’t just happen in the classroom or lab—tools like Science Journal let you see how the world works with just your phone. From learning about sound and motion to discovering how atmospheric pressure works, Science Journal helps you understand and measure the world around you.

We’re extremely excited to announce that we’re open sourcing this powerful science tool. We know the heart of science is not just critical thinking, but also knowledge sharing, building on discoveries, and learning about the world. Have a student with a knack for building things? Do you want to learn how mobile applications are put together? Download our source code, make changes and discoveries, and then deploy the newly-modified app to your own iOS device.

Why open source?

Inquiring minds are always asking, “How does this work?” With our open source app, there are many science and engineering topics to explore! For example, we use the Fast Fourier transform in our iOS code, but you may ask “how did you do that?” Because you can see our source code, you can discover-- not just that we used the Fast Fourier transform-- but how the algorithm works. We also make it possible to graph many sensor values in realtime and now you can see exactly how we’ve made that possible.

If you aren’t an iOS or Android engineer, don’t fret! You can even learn how apps are put together so you can build your own. Learning from, and making modifications to, open source code has helped countless Google engineers explore complicated topics and learn new skills.



Have you ever wished you could do something with Science Journal that it doesn’t currently do? Do you have an idea for building a new sensor and displaying its data in Science Journal? Maybe you’ve wanted to experiment with changing colors or fonts in the app, or even changing the Science Journal app icon to be a labrador with a lab coat? Now you can, by forking our repo, making changes, and committing them in your fork!

If you think your changes are amazing and should be included in Google’s Science Journal App, read our contribution guide. But if you want to keep your changes to yourself and your friends, well, that’s cool too! We’d love to see what you’ve built, so you can tweet at us @GScienceJournal, or just use the #myScienceJournal hashtag on Twitter.

By Joshua Liebowitz, iOS Tech Lead

Opening up Science Journal

Science Journal is an app that turns your Android phone into a mobile science tool, allowing you to use the sensors in your phone to explore the world around you. The Making & Science team launched Science Journal a few months ago at Bay Area Maker Faire 2016 and have been excited to see different projects people have done with it all over the world!

Today we are happy to announce that we are releasing Science Journal 1.1 on the Google Play Store and also publishing the core source for the app. Open source software and hardware has been hugely beneficial to the science education ecosystem. By open sourcing, we’ll be able to improve the app faster and also to provide the community with an example of a modern Android app built with Material Design principles.

One important feature in Science Journal is the ability to connect to external devices over Bluetooth LE. We have open source firmware which runs on several Arduino microcontrollers already. In the near future, we will provide alternate ways to get your sensor data into Science Journal: stay tuned (or follow along with our commits)!

We believe that anyone can be a scientist anywhere. Science doesn’t just happen in the classroom or lab. Tools like Science Journal let you see how the world works with just your phone and now you can explore how Science Journal itself works, too. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

By Justin Koh, Software Engineer

Inspiring future makers and scientists with Science Journal



We believe that anyone can be a maker. Making doesn't just mean coding or working with electronics. It can be building or cooking, fixing a broken salad spinner or re-sewing a button on a teddy bear. Making is about looking at the world around you and creating - or, you guessed it, making - ways to improve it.

Science is also fundamentally about improving the world around you. It’s not just memorizing facts, wearing a lab coat or listening to a lecture. It’s observing the world around us to figure out how it works and how we can make things better through experimentation and discovery.

To bring out that inner scientist in all of us, today we’re introducing Science Journal: a digital science notebook that helps kids (and adults!) measure and explore the world around them. With this app, you can record data from sensors on your Android phone (or connected via an Arduino), take notes, observe, interpret and predict. Fundamentally, we think this application will help you learn how to think like a scientist!
Use Science Journal and the light sensor in your Android phone to collect data and run experiments
Since we know that hands-on projects increase engagement, cultivate curiosity and spark a lifelong interest in learning, we also teamed up with the Exploratorium - a leader in science education - to develop and assemble creative hands-on learning activity kits to accompany the Science Journal app. These Science Journal kits include inexpensive sensors, microcontrollers and craft supplies that bring science to life in new ways. The kits are available for purchase in the US or can even be assembled yourself.
Build and measure your own wind spinners using Science Journal activities and kits 

See science in action as Imagination Foundation chapters around the world put these activities to use
We’re excited to nurture an open ecosystem where people everywhere can use Science Journal to create their own activities, integrate their own sensors and even build kits of their own. To that end, we have released the microcontroller firmware code on GitHub and will be open sourcing the Android app later this summer. We’re eager to work with hardware vendors, science educators and the open source community to continue improving Science Journal.
Science Journal lets you visualize and graph data from your phone's accelerometer, light sensor, microphone and more. You can record data and set up trials, experiments and projects in the app.

But our goal to inspire budding scientists and makers goes beyond Science Journal. We’ve sent over 120,000 kids to their local science museum as part of Google Field Trip Days, encouraged and supported future changemakers through Google Science Fair and sponsored organizations such as NOVA, FIRST Robotics and Lick Observatory who are pushing science forward for all of us. And to help keep our young scientists safe, we’ve also distributed over 350,000 pairs of safety glasses at schools, makerspaces and Maker Faires around the world.

Many of the Google products used today by billions of people wouldn’t exist if not for the makers, scientists and engineers who wanted to create projects that could help improve our world. If you want to join in, come meet us today through Sunday at the Bay Area Maker Faire 2016, check out the Making & Science initiative and go subscribe to our YouTube channel. Let’s all make science, together.