Having Fun With A Mac’s Motion Sensor 7


Having Fun With A Mac’s Motion Sensor


Every Mac laptop of the past couple of years has included a hard drive motion sensor. This motion sensor is designed to stop the drive and and store them away as you laptop vibrates around the room. It is useful for keeping a long lasting drive. But, like most things on a Mac and on this site, its boring to use them for there intended purpose. This post is designed to list some of the really cool applications that takes the motion sensor data and uses it to display funky graphics. The applications are listed in alphabetical order, expect for the first one. If you think I have missed out an application please leave a comment.


The reason this one is first is to show you what it kind of looks like when the motion sensor picks up data. Although it is not 100% accurate data wise and adds a bit flare and jazz to the numbers, it does give an indication how all the other apps work. Every time you move you Mac these applications will register a spike in the sensor numbers and then do a command. I like using SeisMac to see just how much I move when I have my laptop on my lap or on a bus. It is quite surprising how much you do actually move. SeisMac.


One of the first motion sensor visualizers. AMSVisualizer is designed to show you a rough orientation of you laptop. It is very simple, but being one of the first very innovative. Has been surpassed in usability by many other applications but useful for nostalgia reasons.


One of the first applications to use the motion sensor in a game. The game play is simple but challenging, control the balls by leaning the computer and get to the clouds before they disappear. I couldn’t really do it. I can’t wait for a super monkey ball to come out. Bubblegym.


BumpAlarm is designed to do various actions when the motion sensor is triggered. You can send emails play sounds and do a variety of other features. It has come into disuse. I would recommend downloading iAlertU which is mentioned further down this page. The link goes to MacUpdate.

Carpenter’s Level

Carpenter’s Level is actually a widget. It is designed to show you using a carpenters level how flat or how un even your desk is. When I used this it seems that my computer is ever so slightly wonky, it is backed up by AMSvisualizer which reported a similar finding. That either means my calibration in my Mac is wrong or my desktop is out by 10 degrees.


Probably the best application for keeping your Mac just that bit more safe. iAlertU is designed to take pictures and alert you to thieves taking your laptop.


Lilt is designed to use your light sensor and motion sensor to control what happens when you do various actions such as knocking your computer or reducing the amount of light to your computer. Not that useful in my opinion but some people may find it interesting. Lilt does cost $7.50.


One of may favourite applications that uses the motion sensor, LiquidMac. By rendering small blobs or balls on screen and then moving them with the data from the motion sensor it renders realistic liquid. Its not 100% realistic but it is very fun to play around with. You will have to adjust the settings depending on the speed of you laptop, is you put the settings to high the effect will look a bit sluggish.


Probably the best motion sensor application. MacSaber plays Star Wars light saber sounds every time you move your Mac. You must remember to hold onto your laptop as you make the sounds. I have dropped my laptop, twice, while playing around with this app. Thankfully no damage. Be the Jedi you were meant to be.


A simple little program where you have to move your red dot to all of the other red dots. Fun, and a little waste of time. MoveYourMac.


What is better than pong on a computer. NetPong. Done by the same people who have done LiquidMac. Netpong is designed for you to play pong be titling your computer. I enjoy playing this little game. You can also play it over a network. Multiplier motion tilting fun.


If you are a very hands on person and like hitting things, Slapbook may be a good option for you. By hitting the sides of you computer you can invoke a command to change your desktop to another virtual desktop. I’m not sure if it works with spaces or not.


Similar to the technology on the iPhone, SMSRotateD is designed to rotate your Mac every time you move you laptop from portrait to landscape. Quite fun to use. Although it probably has limited functionality. It is quite hard to use a keyboard when it is not at its normal angle.

If you know of any more application that should be included on the list please leave a comment below. I have removed a couple off the list for one reason or another.

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