“Basic Sensors in iOS” by Alasdair Allen; O’Reilly Media

Basic Sensors in iOS provides an introduction to interacting with the many hardware components included in the latest generation of iPhone and iPad. Alasdair covers how to develop applications that can interact with the video, audio, accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope. He provides detailed examples on how to interact with the API in order to get access to all of the motion information being provided by the hardware. The information provided in this book will allow anyone to enhance their existing applications or to inspire the development of new motion controlled applications.

I would recommend this book to anyone starting in developing applications that want user interaction through the movement of the device. Being able to take advantage of capturing motion information opens up the doors for what type of applications that you can create and the type of user experience that can be provided within your application. I really enjoyed all of the examples presented throughout the book and the last chapter that provided other resources for continued learning about sensor based applications. There were a couple topics that caught my eye in the final chapter when Alasdair talked about future books coming out of O’Reilly Media covering topics like voice recognition and computer vision. These are two areas that I find very interesting. I would also agree with the author when he said that if you want to get in-depth knowledge of sensors that you should look more into the API by looking at the O’Reilly book on iOS 4.

The chapters that covered interacting with the camera and audio served their purpose in providing an introduction to developing code to use those components. At the end of those chapters I wished that there would have been more. I understand that the focus of the book is on providing the basics, but I wish there was just a bit more in those areas and even the rest of the sensors. On the other hand, after ready the book my mined has not stopped thinking about how I could use these types of sensor information for applications, even none game applications. So with that in mind, I would have to say that Alasdair wrote a great book on sensors if it is that thought provoking.

Alasdair background of being a senior research fellow in Astronomy lends it self well to the topic of sensors and working with GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, etc. He provides a great explanation of why things that worked in one orientation would not be correct in another.

Again, I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a beginning understanding of working with the iPhone and iPad sensors data to either create fun interactive games or even other applications outside the game industry. If you already have a basic understanding of how to interact with sensors using the API, then I would pass on getting his book.  If you want to get your own copy of this book, you can get it at O’Reilly.


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