RWTH App “phyphox” Now Supports 3D Depth Sensors




Jens Noritzsch

PR-Referent phyphox



Users can conduct even more experiments with their smartphones.


The phyphox app for smartphones and tablets uses the devices’ sensors for physical experiments. With the just released version 1.1.11, 3D depth sensors are now supported in addition to the various smartphone sensors previously accessible. 3D depth sensors were installed to supplement a camera’s pixels with spatial depth information, allowing for better photos and augmented reality applications. The technology is known as light detection and ranging (LiDAR), time of flight (ToF), and true depth. The associated distance information opens up exciting new possibilities for both physical experiments and applications in mathematics. Phyphox is the first app in the education sector to use front cameras with Face ID, which are included in almost all current iPhones, for example.

The app was initially developed at RWTH to give students a chance to get involved hands-on right from their very first experimental physics lectures. It was released six years ago, on September 12, 2016, in both major stores for Android and iOS. However, using a salad spinner to analyze circular motion or determining the speed of sound with only two smartphones also quickly made its way into schools – worldwide even. This summer, phyphox surpassed four million installations, with more than one million in volume packages to schools.

Phyphox is free and ad-free, available in 18 languages thanks to volunteer support, and has a network of ambassadors in 42 countries to date. Its development was and is supported by RWTH Aachen University, the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft), the Hans Hermann Voss Foundation, the Foundation for Innovation in Higher Education, and the Joachim Herz Foundation. Various awards have recognized the app’s great potential for innovative science education.