Scientists and hobbyists who want to use their iOS devices as tricorders now have a new tool to help them to bring that dream to life. Byte Works has released version 2.0 of techBASIC, a US$14.99 scientific and educational programming environment for iOS that can be used to pull in data from internal (accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope) and external sensors.
In case the name Byte Works sounds familiar to some of you, the company has been around for a long time. Mike and Patty Westerfield started the company in the early 1980s, developing the ORCA computer languages for the 8-bit Apple II. ORCA/M became the standard development system for the Apple IIGS under the names Cortland Programmer's Workshop (CPW) and Apple Programmer's Workshop (APW). techBASIC has its roots in another Byte Works product, GSoft Basic for the Apple IIGS.
techBASIC 2.0 is a universal app, so any program you develop on your iPhone can easily be run on your iPad or vice-versa. Launching the app on the iPhone displays a list of included example programs -- the source code for these programs is a nice place to pick up some tips on how to access and use readings from the sensors built into iOS devices. The iPad version shows the list of programs and also provides a window showing the graphical output of your programming efforts.