This article discusses the revolution that smartphones, apps, and add-on devices have brought in every person’s life. Sensors and apps are turning smartphones into engineering measurement tools. Increasingly, engineers are reaching for their smartphones to test products and equipment. The latest generation of smartphones feature sensor suites and apps that have turned the smartphone into a pocket-size laboratory of engineering instruments. Smartphones and apps have matured far beyond the consumer market to become real engineering tools. In 2013 Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., added temperature and humidity sensors and pulled ahead of the market with the largest sensor suite. Many apps are available free to the user. The developers monetize their offerings by putting ads in the apps or by offering purchases to upgrade to a ‘pro’ version of the app with more functionality. The apps have also been used in industry to diagnose problems associated with vibration in mechanical systems, and by an electrical company that uses vibration to determine tension in cables. Smartphones, apps, and add-on devices are evolving rapidly, and a smart choice could make your next engineering project go mobile.

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