Using Sensors and Components in App Inventor and Thunkable
Using multiple sensors or components is one part of earning maximum points in the Coding Complexity line of the judging rubric. It can also help with "App Function", "User Experience and Design", and "Technical Learning".
In this lesson, you will…
- Review different components you can use in App Inventor or Thunkable
- Choose one sensor or component to add to your app
- Research a tutorial and code at least one sensor or component into your app
Smartphone Sensors and Components
Now it’s your turn to choose and code the sensors or components you want your app to use. Sensors and components will allow your app to do many different things - be sure to choose the one that’s right for you!
This lesson is a reference for you to learn about what phone sensors you can use in App Inventor or Thunkable. You don’t need all of the sensors listed, but you should look for ones that will help you build your app.
Here are some important components mobile phones have:
|Component||What it does|
|Camera, speaker, microphone||Allow you to take pictures, videos, record sounds|
|GPS||Shows the location of the phone|
|Storage on a phone||Allows you to store preferences, images, and sounds|
|Connectivity to the web||Allows you to connect the phone to information on the web|
|Accelerometer, gyroscope||Shows how fast the phone is moving|
|Phone calls, text messages, contacts lists||Allows you to make phone calls, send text messages, and connect to people|
If your app needs features related to things like photographs, audio, and video, these components will be very helpful for you.
If your app needs to gather information about the world around it or the user, here are some sensors that App Inventor and Thunkable can access.
If you need your app to make phone calls, send emails, text and share certain types of information, these social components may be helpful.
These allow your app to interact with places outside of your app, like the web and other apps.
Activity: Learn how to use your sensors and components
For this activity, you will choose at least one sensor or component to use in your app. One of the best skills you can learn as a programmer is how to find resources to help you when you are stuck or need to learn how to use something. For this activity, you will find your own tutorial or video to learn from.
Here are some good places to start looking for tutorials or instructions:
- You should start by searching online. Make sure to use keywords that include the name of your component, such as “Proximity Sensor App Inventor” or “Google Maps Thunkable”
- Search for videos on YouTube. Make sure to use keywords just like an online search.
- Try using MIT’s Component Reference and find your component
- MIT has an entire page of App Inventor Tutorials, you can even search by which component you want to use in the tutorial
This lesson is a reference for all of the components you can use in App Inventor and Thunkable. You did the hard work of finding a tutorial or video to learn how to use your component.
- How did you find the tutorial or information you needed for the activity?
- How will you use your work from this lesson in your app?
What are some other areas of your life you can use this “find your own tutorial” skill?