Connect an iPhone/iPad to External Sensors with HiJack and techBASIC

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Now there’s an easy and powerful way to connect external devices to the iPhone/iPad using techBASIC and HiJack. techBASIC is a BASIC programming language that runs right on the iPhone/iPad. HiJack is an A-D converter that plugs into the headphone jack on the same devices. techBASIC makes it easy to manipulate data and plot the results from HiJack, creating a powerful tool to collect information from almost any external device without the need to write software first on a desktop computer.

Scientists, engineers, students and hobbyists now have a way to connect the iPhone and iPad to the outside world, collect information and process it right on their iPhone or iPad. The HiJack project from the University of Michigan, with participation from the University of Utah, created a hardware and software platform to do just that. HiJack is designed to create cubic inch peripherals that connect through the headphone jack on an iPhone or iPad. It can even use the audio output from the headphone to provide up to 7.4 mW of power to the external device. Several devices have already been built, including an EKG monitor, a soil moisture sensor, and an Oscilloscope.

Until now, though, any software developed for HiJack had to be written in Objective C, compiled on a Macintosh, and distributed through the App store. This complicated process has a steep learning curve, and creates a high entry barrier for anyone who wants to write HiJack software.

techBASIC removes this hurdle. Accessing the HiJack hardware from techBASIC is literally as simple as

value = HiJack.receive

There are other commands that provide more control, but that’s all it really takes. From there, the information can be processed in BASIC. The simple techBASIC programming language and environment were designed from the ground up to help scientists and engineers develop applications right on the iPhone, collect data from sensors, and display the data on interactive graphs. The BASIC language in techBASIC evolved from the one originally designed at Dartmouth for people without a deep background in computer science. It is similar to the popular Visual BASIC, but has matrix commands for scientific programming.

techBASIC is available on the app store. While the built-in help system may be adequate for most people, there is also a full color 200 page reference manual and a brief Quick Start guide available for download at the Byte Works’ web site. These are available without buying the program, so anyone can check out the capabilities before buying. Promotional codes are available for qualified reviewers.

HiJack was created at the University of Michigan for creating cubic-inch sensor peripherals for mobile phones. HiJack can harvest power and use bandwidth from the headphone interface. The HiJack hardware is available from Seeed Studio. Documentation for the HiJack hardware is available from the University of Michigan web site.

Device Requirements:
* iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
* Requires iOS 5.0 or later
* 3.0 MB

HiJack Requirements:
* Any iPhone, iPod touch or iPad (also supports some other smart phones)

Pricing and Availability
techBASIC 1.1 is $14.99 (USD) and is available worldwide in the App Store Utilities category.

Byte Works
techBASIC 1.2
Purchase and Download
Screenshot (iPhone and HiJack)
App Icon

The Byte Works has been creating quality “apps for people who think(TM)” since 1982. Current directions include apps for scientific programming, calculators and astronomy programs for iOS. Past efforts include developing Apple Programmers Workshop and the award winning ORCA line of compilers for the Apple IIGS, the HyperLogo(TM) scripting language for HyperStudio(TM), and MediaBlender(TM), a multimedia authoring tool for education. Copyright (C) 2011 The Byte Works. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

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