Three days ago was Jules Verne‘s birthday and Google decided to celebrate it with a very special animated doodle. When I heard that this special animation reacted to the motion of computers with accelerometers such as MacBook, I remembered that my ThinkPad also had accelerometers. I also checked and saw that Firefox, my favorite web browser, had the ability to detect accelerometer data since version 3.6 so I wanted to give it a try. But was my operating system, Ubuntu GNU/Linux, capable of using that underlying hardware? Apparently that was possible but required a few simple steps which were describe in ‘How to setup Thinkpad features on Thinkpad T500‘ and tp_smapi documentation. So I after installed hdapsd and tp-smapi-dkms and activated the modules temporarily using modprobe (both for
hdaps) I was ready to check if everything worked (if you can’t watch the video, please visit the original address at http://vimeo.com/19845161):
It was also a nice surprise to see that people programmed very interesting little things that made use of accelerometer (HDAPS actually stands for Hard Disk Active Protection System and the real motivation is to protect the hard disk if you drop your laptop but as we all know hacking is all about finding creative ways for technology). For example a very short Python program designed as Laptop Anti Theft Alarm (and here is the KDE version):
PS: The aforementioned module, tp_smapi can also help you with your ThinkPad’s battery life on GNU/Linux, see ‘HOWTO: Extend the Life of Your Thinkpad’s Battery (tp_smapi)‘ forum post for more details.