Creating Activity for Visualizing Recorded Sensor Data from List Items

In previous blog Using RealmRecyclerView Adapter to Show Recorded Sensor Experiments[2], I  have created a DataLoggerActivity in PSLab Android app containing RecyclerView showing a list having all the recorded experiments where every list item shows the date, time and the sensor instrument used for recording the data, but there arises below questions:-

  • What if the user wants to see the actual recorded data in form of a graph?
  • How the user can see the location recorded along with the data on the map?
  • How can the user export that data?

There is no way I could show all of that information just on a list item so I created another activity called “SensorGraphViewActivity” the layout of that activity is shown in the figure below:

Figure 1 shows the layout of the Activity as produced in Android editor

The layout contains three views:-

  1. At the top there is graph view which I created using Android MP chart which will show the recorded data plotted on it forming the exact same curve that was created while recording it, this way it is useful to visualize the data and also there is also a play button on the top which simulates the data as it was being plotted on the graph in real time.
  2. In the middle, there is a Card view containing two rows which will simply show the date and time of recording.
  3. At the bottom, there is a Map view which shows the location of the user which would be fetched when the user recorded the data.

This is the gist of the layout file created for the activity.

But now the question arises:-

How to show the data in the activity for the item that the user wanted?

For that, I implemented click listener on every list item by simply adding it inside the onBindViewHolder() method

@Override
public void onBindViewHolder(@NonNull final ViewHolder holder, int position) {
   SensorLogged temp = getItem(position);
   holder.sensor.setText(temp.getSensor());
   Date date = new Date(temp.getDateTimeStart());
   holder.dateTime.setText(String.valueOf(sdf.format(date)));
   holder.cardView.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
       @Override
       public void onClick(View view) {
                    ...
       });
}

and inside the click listener I performed following three steps:-

  1. First I stored the position of the item clicked inside a variable.

    int positionVar = holder.getAdapterPosition();
  2. Then I used that position from the variable to fetch related data from the Realm database by simply using getItem() method which returns the SensorLogged[1] RealmObject at that position as I used a special type of RecyclerView Adapter called as RealmRecyclerViewAdapter[2].

    int positionVar = holder.getAdapterPosition();
  3. Then I created an Intent to open the SensorGraphViewActivity and passed the related data (i.e., sensortype, foreignkey, latitude, longitude, timezone, date, time) from SensorLogged[1] object to activity in form of extras.
    Intent intent = new Intent(context, SensorGraphViewActivity.class);
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.TYPE_SENSOR, item.getSensor());
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.DATA_FOREIGN_KEY, item.getUniqueRef());
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.DATE_TIME_START,item.getDateTimeStart());
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.DATE_TIME_END,item.getDateTimeEnd());
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.TIME_ZONE,item.getTimeZone());
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.LATITUDE,item.getLatitude());
    intent.putExtra(SensorGraphViewActivity.LONGITUDE,item.getLongitude());
    
    context.startActivity(intent);
    

And, in the SensorGraphViewActivity, I used getIntent() method to fetch all those extra data in the form of Bundle.
For showing the data in the graph I used the foreign key fetched from the intent and queried all the LuxData[1] RealmObject containing that foreignkey in the form of RealmResult<LuxData>[2] ArrayList and used that list to populate the graph.

Long foreignKey = intent.getLongExtra(DATA_FOREIGN_KEY, -1);
Realm realm = Realm.getDefaultInstance();
entries = new ArrayList<>();
RealmResults<LuxData> results = realm.where(LuxData.class).equalTo(DATA_FOREIGN_KEY, foreignKey).findAll();
for (LuxData item : results) {
   entries.add(new Entry((float) item.getTimeElapsed(), item.getLux()));
}

For the map, I fetched the latitude and longitude again from the intent and used the coordinates to show the location on the open street view map.

Thread thread = new Thread(new Runnable() {
   @Override
   public void run() {
       IMapController mapController = map.getController();
       mapController.setZoom((double) 9);
       GeoPoint startPoint = new GeoPoint(latitude, latitude);
       mapController.setCenter(startPoint);
   }
});

For map purposes, of course, I used a separate thread as it is a heavy and time-consuming process and it could lead the app to lag for a long time which could hamper the User Experience.

Thus after the data being plotted on the map and coordinated being plotted on the map, we can see the layout of the activity as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 shows the layout of the activity after being populated with data.

I also created the export button in the toolbar that will use the CSVLogger[3] class implemented inside the PSLab android app to export the data in the form of CSV file and save it in the external storage directory.

Resources

  1. Storing Recorded Sensor Data in Realm Database – My blog where I created the Realm Model classes to store recorded data.
  2. Using RealmRecyclerView Adapter to Show Recorded Sensor Experiments – My previous blog where I created the RecyclerView.
  3. Saving Sensor Data in CSV format – Blog by Padmal storing the data in CSV format.

How to pass data between fragments of an Activity in Android app

This blog demonstrates how to pass values of a variable between two fragments of a single activity. The blog will mainly include the demonstration of passing values between fragments while using BottomSheet Navigation as done in PSLab Android application.

This blog contains the work done by me in the Lux Meter instrument of the PSLab Android app of passing data from LuxMeterConfiguration fragment to LuxMeterData fragment as shown in the featured image to set the high limit for the pointer and to set the update period of the Lux Sensor. The blog will solve the difficult task of communication between two fragments of a single activity. For passing data between multiple fragments of different activities, refer to [1].

How to pass data between fragments?

In this blog, I will pass data from Fragment 2 to Fragment 1 only. But vice versa or passing data from both the fragments can also be made using the same given approach.

  • First, make a static method in Fragment 1 which can set the parameters i.e. the value of the variables as soon as the fragment is inflated as follow
public static void setParameters(int one, int two, int three) {
        Fragment1.firstValue = one;
        Fragment1.secondValue = two;
        Fragment1.thirdValue = three;
    }
  • Now, there is one point to mark that Fragment 1 will be inflated only when Fragment 2 gets destroyed. Else, other than default inflation of Fragment 1, there is no way Fragment 1 can be inflated after navigating to Fragment 2.
  • So, override the OnDestroy() method of Fragment 2 and use the setParameters() method to set the value of variables from Fragment 2 to be used in Fragment 1.
@Override
    public void onDestroyView() {
        super.onDestroyView();
        highValue = getValueFromText(highLimit, 0, highLimitMax);
        updatePeriodValue = getValueFromText(updatePeriod, updatePeriodMin, updatePeriodMax + 100);
        Fragment1.setParameters(selectedSensor, highValue, updatePeriodValue);
    }

Here, the highValue, updatePeriodValue and selectedSensor are the variables being used in the Lux Meter fragment in PSLab Android app. But they can be replaced by the necessary variables as per the app.

So, in this way, we can pass data between the fragments of the same Activity in an Android application. Above demonstration can be extended in passing values between multiple fragments of the same Activity by creating different methods in different fragments.

Resources

  1. Blog on how to pass data between fragments of different/same activities: https://www.journaldev.com/14207/android-passing-data-between-fragments

Prevent Android Activity from Operating while using Bottom Sheet in PSLab App

This blog demonstrates how to prevent the Android Activity in the background from operating while the Bottom Sheet is up in the foreground. The demonstration will be purely from the work I have done under PR #1355 in PSLab Android repository.

Why prevent the Activity from operating?

When using Bottom Sheet in Android, it is preferable to dim the screen behind the Bottom Sheet to provide a good user experience. But the dimming of the screen is itself an indication that the screen won’t work. Also, if the Bottom Sheet is open and while sliding it, if, by mistake, any button in the background of the bottom sheet gets pressed, then if the function related to that button starts executing then it can create a bad user experience.

For example, in PSLab Android app, in Accelerometer instrument, there are record/pause and delete buttons in the toolbar as shown in figure 1. Now, if the bottom sheet is opened and while closing it if the delete button is by mistake pressed by the user, then whole recorded data gets deleted. Thus, it’s a good practice to prevent the background Activity from operating while Bottom Sheet is opened.

Figure 1. Accelerometer Instrument in PSLab Android app

How to prevent the Activity from operating?

In this demonstration, I will use the method followed by PSLab Android app in creating a Bottom Sheet and making the background dim using a View widget. A step by step guide on how to make a Bottom Sheet as in PSLab Android app can be found in [1] and [2].

Strategy

The strategy used in solving this problem is setting an OnClickListener to the View that is used to dim the background and close the Bottom Sheet (if open) and hide the View as soon as the method is called. The View is again made visible when an upward slide gesture is made to open the Bottom Sheet.

Follow the below steps to get the desired results:

  • First, in OnCreate() method, set the OnTouchListener to the view.
view.setOnClickListener(new View.OnClickListener() {
@Override
public void onClick(View v) {
                              if(bottomSheetBehavior.getState()==BottomSheetBehavior.STATE_EXPANDED)
                    bottomSheetBehavior.setState(BottomSheetBehavior.STATE_HIDDEN);
tvShadow.setVisibility(View.GONE);
      }
});
  • Now, override the OnSlide() method of the GestureDetector class and add the following code to it.
@Override
public void onSlide(@NonNull View bottomSheet, float slideOffset) {
    Float value = (float) MathUtils.map((double) slideOffset, 0.0, 1.0, 0.0, 0.8);
    view.setVisibility(View.VISIBLE);
    view.setAlpha(value);
   }

So, now test the Bottom Sheet and you will find that the Bottom Sheet will get closed as soon as the click is made outside it if it is opened. The demonstration of the working of the above code is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2. Demonstration of preventing the background Activity from operating while Bottom Sheet is up

Resources

  1. http://thetechnocafe.com/make-bottom-sheet-android/: Blog on how to make a Bottom Sheet in Android

How to use Mobile Sensors as Instruments in PSLab Android App

This blog demonstrates how to use built-in mobile sensors in an Android application. This blog will mainly feature my work done in PSLab Android repository of making a Compass and Accelerometer instrument using built-in mobile sensors.

How to access built-in mobile sensors?

Android provides an abstract class called SensorManager which is able to communicate with the hardware i.e. here the sensors in the mobile. But the SensorManager can’t provide continuous data fetched by the sensor. For this, Android provides an interface known as SensorEventListener which receives notifications from SensorManager whenever there is a new sensor data.

How to implement the functionality of sensors in Android app?

Following is a step by step process on how to add support for different sensors in an Android app

  • First, make a new class which extends SensorEventListener and override the default methods.
public class SensorActivity extends Activity implements SensorEventListener {

     public SensorActivity() {
        // Default Constructor      
     }

     @Override
     public void onAccuracyChanged(Sensor sensor, int accuracy) {
     }

     @Override
     public void onSensorChanged(SensorEvent event) {
     }
 }

Here, the SensorActivity() is the default constructor of the class and the onAccuracyChanged() and onSensorChanged() methods will be explained soon.

  • Now declare the SensorManager and use the sensor needed in the app.
private final SensorManager mSensorManager;
private final Sensor mAccelerometer;

     public SensorActivity() {
         mSensorManager = (SensorManager)getSystemService(SENSOR_SERVICE);
         mAccelerometer =        mSensorManager.getDefaultSensor(Sensor.TYPE_ACCELEROMETER);
     }

Here, I have used Sensor.TYPE_ACCELEROMETER to use the built-in Accelerometer in the device. Some of the other options available are:

  1. TYPE_LIGHT – To measure ambient light
  2. TYPE_MAGNETOMETER – To measure magnetic field along different axis
  3. TYPE_GYROSCOPE – To measure movements (sudden changes) in any particular direction

The list of all available sensors in Android can be found in [1].

  • It is necessary to disable the sensors especially when the activity is paused. Failing to do so can drain the battery in just a few hours.

NOTE: The system will not disable sensors automatically when the screen turns off.

So, to save the battery and make the app efficient, we can use the registerListener method to notify the SensorManager to start fetching data from sensor and unregisterListener to notify it to stop.

@Override
protected void onResume() {
         super.onResume();
         mSensorManager.registerListener(this, mAccelerometer, SensorManager.SENSOR_DELAY_NORMAL);
     }

@Override
     protected void onPause() {
         super.onPause();
         mSensorManager.unregisterListener(this);
     }


The onResume() method activates when the app is resumed from a paused state and the onPause() method is called when the app is paused i.e. some other app draws over the current app.

  • Now coming back to onAccuracyChanged() and onSensorChanged() methods, the onAccuracyChanged() method is used to set the accuracy of a sensor. For example, while using GeoLocation sensor, sometimes the position of the mobile isn’t very accurate and so we can define the accuracy level in this method so that the fetched data is used for calculations only if it is in the provided range. And the onSensorChanged() method is the main method where all the data is processed as soon as the new data is notified.

To get the latest value from the sensor, we can use

@Override
public void onSensorChanged(SensorEvent event) {
   data = Float.valueOf(event.values[0]);
   unRegisterListener();
}

Here, the event is an instance of the SensorEvent class which provides the updated data fetched from the sensor. Event.values is used to get the values for any of the three axis including the bias in their values. Following is the list of the index for which we can get a necessary value

values[0] = x_uncalib without bias compensation
values[1] = y_uncalib without bias compensation
values[2] = z_uncalib without bias compensation
values[3] = estimated x_bias
values[4] = estimated y_bias 
values[5] = estimated z_bias

So, in this way, we can add support for any built-in mobile sensor in our Android application.

Resources

How to Add Icons or Menus into the PSLab Android App Toolbar

This blog demonstrates how to add different icons like help, play, pause, etc. and/or menu bar in the toolbar of an Android app along with setting their visibilities on the toolbar i.e. to display the icons only when space is available else to add them in the menu. The topic will be mainly explained by taking the example of menus and icons added to the PSLab app.

How to add a menu in a toolbar?

Following are the steps to add a menu or an icon in the toolbar widget of the Android app

  • First, add toolbar widget to the main layout file as follows
<android.support.v7.widget.Toolbar
   android:id="@+id/compass_toolbar"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="?attr/actionBarSize"
   android:background="?attr/colorPrimary"
   app:popupTheme="@style/AppTheme.PopupOverlay"
   app:title="@string/compass" />

Here, popupTheme is the theme that activates when inflating the toolbar. Usually, it is kept similar to the default theme of the toolbar.

  • Now as the toolbar is ready, we can make the menu that needs to be inflated on the toolbar. For making a menu, make a folder named menu in the resources folder. Now, add a menu resource file in it by giving a proper name and then add the following code
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
   xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">
   <item
       android:id="@+id/compass_help_icon"
       android:icon="@drawable/compass_help_icon"
       android:title="@string/show_axis_help"
       app:showAsAction="always" />
</menu>

A detailed explanation of the above code is as follows:

  1. The <menu>…</menu> covers all the items in the menu. There can be sub-menu and also sub-sub-menu too. To make a sub-menu, use <menu>…</menu> inside the main menu.
  2. The <item> tag inside the menu defines a specific item to be included in the menu. The icon attribute of an item is used to show the icon on the toolbar. The title attribute of an item is used to show the text inside the menu if space isn’t available to show the icon on the toolbar. The showAsAction attribute is used to define the method of an item i.e. how the item should be visible to the user. Following are some of the values that showAsAction attribute can take:
    • always – It is used to show the icon of the item on the toolbar everytime
    • never – It is used to show the item as a text in the menu everytime the activity is opened
    • ifRoom – It is used to show the icon on the toolbar if there is enough space else the item is included in the menu

NOTE: Always give IDs to menu items as they are used to distinctly identify the item in the java code.

Figure 1. Example of menu and icons in toolbar in PSLab app

As shown in figure 1, the first two icons have always value in their showAsAction attribute whereas other items have never values in their showAsAction attribute.

  • Now the layout and the menu are ready to be inflated from the Java code. First, the toolbar needs to be set up from the Java code. So find the toolbar with its id and then write the following line in the code.
setSupportActionBar(mToolbar);
  • Now the toolbar is ready and so the menu can be inflated on it. So, override the following method to inflate the menu
@Override
public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
   MenuInflater inflater = getMenuInflater();
   inflater.inflate(R.menu.activity_compass_help_menu, menu);
   return true;
}

Here, the getMenuInflater() method is used to inflate the menu on the toolbar.

  • Now override the onCreateOptionsMenu() method to do the predefined task of selecting the icon or the item from the menu.
@Override
public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
   switch (item.getItemId()) {
       case R.id.compass_help_icon:
           // Do something
           break;
       default:
           break;
   }
   return true;
}

So, in this way a menu can be made so that the number of items delivered to the user can be increased by using the minimum space possible.

Resources

  1. https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/ui/menus – Android Developers guide on how to make a menu in Android

Detecting Barometer sensor in PSLab Android App

The Pocket Science Lab Android app has Barometer Instrument implemented in it. Although the instrument  is currently working through the mobile sensors and not the PSLab i2c library as there were some issues in the i2c communication with PSLab device.

Thus as the barometer was completely working on through the mobile sensors, there was a major problem coming up. Majority of the mobiles don’t have the barometer sensor which was required, only a  few of the latest devices have the sensors in them.

This issues created problem as now anyone who would have used the barometer instrument would have made an impression that the App was itself not working.

Figure(1) : Showing the stagnant barometer Instrument

Thus this created a bad impression for both the app and it’s developers.

Solving the issue

To solve this major bug, it required to first detect the barometer instrument and then implementing an alert dialog-box showing that barometer sensor is not present in his device.

  • Detecting the Barometer Sensor[2]

The barometer sensor was detected using the sensorManager class of Java

sensorManager = (SensorManager) getSystemService(SENSOR_SERVICE);
sensor = sensorManager != null ? sensorManager.getDefaultSensor(Sensor.TYPE_PRESSURE) : null;

Thus using this code the barometer sensor is detected, if sensor was not present the  sensorManger would be null.

  • Implementing the alert-box[1]

Thus if the sensorManger variable was null it notified that the sensor was not present in           the device and corresponding to which an alert-box was implemeneted

if (sensor == null) {
    runOnUiThread(new Runnable() {
        @Override
        public void run() {
            if (!isFinishing()) {
                new AlertDialog.Builder(BarometerActivity.this)
                    .setTitle(R.string.barometer_alert_title)
                    .setMessage(R.string.barometer_alert_description)
                    .setCancelable(false)
                    .setPositiveButton("ok", new DialogInterface.OnClickListener() {
                        @Override
                        public void onClick(DialogInterface dialog, int which) {
                            dialog.dismiss();
                        }
                    }).show();
            }
        }
    });

Thus as we can see in the code snippet the alert dialog-box will appear if  sensor is not present as shown in figure (2).

Figure(2) : Screenshot showing alert-box

Resources

  1. Android Alert-box Example, Mkyong.com:
    https://www.mkyong.com/android/android-alert-dialog-example/
  2. Creating a Barometer Application for Android, medium.com:
    https://medium.com/@ssaurel/creating-a-barometer-application-for-android-1c0a5c10b20e

Implementing Toolbar and Exporting Data in CSV format in Multimeter

The latest feature which was implemented in the  Pocket Science Lab Android app is the data exporting feature which was implemented in almost each and every sensor. Now in addition to sensors now the data saving functionality is also implemented in Multimeter and this blog is regarding how the data exporting functionality was implemented for multimeter.

For implementing the data exporting feature first the Toolbar was implemented in the PSLab Android App.

Implementing the Toolbar[1]

For implementing the firstly the front-end of multimeter was changed and the Toolbar was added to it.

<android.support.design.widget.AppBarLayout
  android:id="@+id/top_app_bar_layout"
  android:layout_width="match_parent"
  android:layout_height="wrap_content"
  android:theme="@style/AppTheme.AppBarOverlay">

  <android.support.v7.widget.Toolbar
      android:id="@+id/multimeter_toolbar"
      android:layout_width="match_parent"
      android:layout_height="?attr/actionBarSize"
      android:background="?attr/colorPrimary"
      app:popupTheme="@style/AppTheme.PopupOverlay"
      app:title="Multimeter" />

The above xml codes shows the implementation of toolbar.

Figure (1): Showing the implementation of multimeter toolbar

  • Backend

For implementing the toolbar the onCreatemenu  was implemented for multimeter

@Override
public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
MenuInflater inflater = getMenuInflater();
inflater.inflate(R.menu.multimeter_log_menu, menu);
this.menu = menu;
return true;
}

For the same a separate menu was created for multimeter

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">
<item
android:id="@+id/record_pause_data"
android:icon="@drawable/record_icon"
android:title="@string/record_csv_data"
app:showAsAction="always" />
<item
android:id="@+id/delete_csv_data"
android:icon="@drawable/delete_icon"
android:title="@string/delete_csv_data"
app:showAsAction="ifRoom" />
<item
android:id="@+id/record_csv_data"
android:icon="@drawable/menu_icon_save"
android:title="@string/save_csv_data"
app:showAsAction="never" />
<item
android:id="@+id/settings"
android:title="@string/nav_settings"
app:showAsAction="never" />
</menu>

Figure(2): Showing Toolbar of Multimeter

Thus through this the basic UI of the toolbar was implemented.

Implementing the Data Export Feature[2]

After implementing the toolbar for multimeter the multimeter the data exporting feature was implemented through the toolbar. The data export feature was implemented in such a manner that the user can start data recording by clicking on the record button after which the recording starts.

Figure(3):Showing snackbar after the data recording is started

and then when the user wants to end the experiment he may click on the pause button after which he gets an option either to export the data in csv format or either to delete the data.

Figure(4):Showing the menu bar for exporting data in csv

After clicking on the export data button the snacker appears which finally tells the user that the data is exported in this particular location (mentioned in the snackbar)

Figure(5):Showing the snackbar for showing location of the CSV folder

Further going to the csv folder we get the excel sheet in which the data is exported

Figure(6):Showing the excel sheet of data recorded

And this is how the data exporting feature was implemented in the PSLab android app. The users can use this functionality to perform experiments using multimeter in PSLab.

Resources

  1. Medium, Android Toolbar for AppCompatActivity:
    https://medium.com/@101/android-toolbar-for-appcompatactivity-671b1d10f354
  2. Code Project, Exporting data in CSV format:
    https://www.codeproject.com/questions/491823/read-fwritepluscsvplusinplusplusandroid

 

Measuring Current in PSLab Android App

The Pocket Science Lab Android app has got various functionality such as voltmeter, resistance measurement, capacitance measurement, frequency measurement as well as Count pulse measurement , one of the missing functionality among these is the Ammeter, currently in PSLab there is no direct way of measuring current. In this blog I will be discussing an indirect method of measuring current in PSLab.

Basics of measuring current

Generally in all multimeters , current is measured using  an Ammeter which uses the property of galvanometer to measure to measure current in PSLab. But as the PSLab doesn’t has any such embedded Galvanometer we cannot have a seperate Ammeter in it, but there is another method to measure the current, which is using the famous OHm’s law i.e V/I = R

In PSLab we can measure the voltage across any elements, plus we can also measure  the resistance of any circuit element in PSLab, the theory used for measuring current is stated as follows.

  1. We connect the current-source to any known resistant(or any resistance) and then measure the voltage across the resistor.
  2. Finally using ohm’s law the current will be voltage / resistance.[2]

Step-by-step guide on measuring the current

Here is the step by step guide on how to measure the current in PSLab:-

  1. Take any arbitrary resistor and measure it’s resistance. To measure the resistance follow these steps :-
    1. Take a resistance and connect it to any two pins of breadboard
    2. Connect one end to the sen pin and the other end to the GND pin of PSLab device.
    3. Now go to the Android app and select multimeter instrument.
    4. Now in the multimeter instrument set the knob to resistance, in the measure section
    5. Now click on the read button and then it will show the resistance of the resistor
  2. Now that you have measured the resistance of the resistor, now connect the current source across the resistors.
  3. Now finally measure the voltage across the resistor. To measure the voltage follow these steps.
    1. Take two male to male wires and connect it’s two individual ends to the two ends of the resistor.
    2. Now connect one of the other two ends of the wire to the any one of the CH1, CH2 or CH3 and the other end to GND respectively.
    3. Now go to the Android app and select multimeter instrument.
    4. Now in the multimeter instrument set the knob to the channel which you have selected i.e CH1, CH2 or CH3 , in the voltage section.
    5. Now click on the read button and then it will show the voltage across the resistor.
  4. Now using the using ohm’s law the current will be voltage / resistance.

Thus using these steps one can find the current in PSLab Android App.

Images for the Experiment

Figure (1): Showing resistance measurement

Figure(2) Showing voltage measurement

Resources

  1. Using-a-Multimeter, dengarden.com:
    https://dengarden.com/home-improvement/Using-a-Multimeter
  2. Wikipedia, Ohm’s Law:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm%27s_law

Implementing Layouts for Different Screens in Android PSLab App

The Pocket Science Lab Android app has various functionalities implemented in it, one of the major implemented functionalities is the knob in the multimeter, In my previous blog I have mentioned about the knobs and how exactly it has been implemented, one the major problems in the knob is that it doesn’t fits correctly in all layouts, even though constraint layout is used , as it has different text-views positioned in a circular constraint in which exact circular radius has to be mentioned (which cannot be constrained), mentioned in my previous-blog there comes the idea of creating different layouts for different-screens in android.

Need to create multiple layouts for different screen

There arises this question of the use of creating multiple layouts for different screens when you can create a flexible layout using tools such as constraint layout. The answer to this question is that in some cases such as as the case of circular constraint or using a linear-layout  one has to use use hard-coded dimensions which thus makes difference in various screens on, there comes the need of using size and orientation quantifiers i.e making layout according to screen sizes. Als

Figure 1:Screenshot

Figure 1 shows how different layouts are made for multimeter according to the screen-size.

Size quantifiers in android

Size quantifier is a name that specifies an individual configuration (in this case size) corresponding to which resources can be used.

For example, here are some default and alternative resources:

res/
   drawable/
       icon.png
       background.png
   drawable-hdpi/
       icon.png
       background.png

In this case -hdpi is a size quantifier, there are default size quantifiers at the drawable folder.

Making different layouts according to size-quantifiers[1][2]

This blog will give a step by step guide on how to make layouts using size quantifiers.

  1. Right click the res folder in android studio and select New-> Android Resource directory.
  2. A screen like below will appear
  3. Change the resource type to layout.
  4. From the available quantifiers select the quantifier which you would require, (in our case it is size).
  5. After selecting the quantifier click the >> button after which the following screen will get displayed.
  6. Now select the screen-size and click ok to make the directory, note that only one directory can be made in a single go.
  7. After this make different layouts according to the screen-sizes and then save the respective alternative resources in this new directory. The resource files must be named exactly the same as the default resource files.

Thus by following these steps one can make different layouts according to screen-sizes in android.

Resources

  1. Support different screen sizes, Android developers https://developer.android.com/training/multiscreen/screensizes#TaskUseSizeQuali (Link to repo)
  2. App resources overview, Android developers https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/resources/providing-resources#ScreenSizeQualifier

Implementing Custom Rotary Knobs and Circular Positioning in the Multimeter in the PSLab Android App

In my previous blog [2I have discussed about how to implement  normal rotary knob using an open source library, this blog will be about the new user interface (UI) of multimeter in the PSLab Android app, how a custom rotary knob is implemented in it and how how the text views are positioned circular in them.

Implementation of Custom Rotary Knob

In the PSLab device  the rotary knob is implemented using the BeppiMenozzi Knob library[1] as by doing this we don’t have to manually create the extra class for the knob and we don’t have to write the code from scratch.

Figure 1: A basic rotary knob

Figure 1 shows a basic knob implemented using the BeppiMenozzi library whereas figure 2 shows the implementation of a custom knob using the basic knob.

Figure 2: A custom Knob

Steps of making a Custom-Knob using a simple Knob

  1. Implement the the basic knob using the steps given in my previous knobs explained in my previous blogs.
  2. Download the images of the knob which has to be implemented.
android:layout_weight="1"
android:rotation="15"
app:kDefaultState="2"
app:kIndicatorWidth="@dimen/multimeter_length_0"
app:kKnobCenterColor="@color/colorPrimaryDark"
app:kKnobColor="@color/white"
app:kKnobDrawable="@drawable/knob"
  1. Using the above code amend the knob as per the requirement. The advantage of using the beppiMonzi library is that the knob is fully amenable  , we can even define the minimum and maximum angle and many more stuffs can be done using the library.

                 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3: Showing the implementation of other custom knobs

The above figure shows the example of custom knobs implemented using the simple knob and by following the steps.

Implementation Circular positioning

One of the other major issues while making the new UI of the multimeter is the positioning of text-view around the circular knob. The issue was made overcome by implementing a circular positioning constraints in the text-views.

Steps of implementing circular positioning

  1. Use the constraint layout version 1.1.0 or above as the previous versions do not support the circular positioning feature.
  2. Add the circular constraint individually to every text-view.
app:layout_constraintCircle="@id/knobs"
app:layout_constraintCircleAngle="105"
app:layout_constraintCircleRadius="@dimen/multimeter_knobcircle_radius_1"

The above code snippets shows the addition od circular constraints added to a text-view. Using these constraint it decides positions the views relative to another views at a particular angle which thus makes up circular positioning.

Thus, this is how we can implement circular positioning in the views.

Resources

  1. BeppiMenozzi Knob Library
    https://github.com/BeppiMenozzi/Knob
  2. Rotary knob Blog
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IU_lpdt4sHI4euM543bBlHwYpv8vwwjxoB76sW1i5HA/edit?usp=sharing