AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 88. Undergraduate Astronomy Instruction, Labs and Research
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[88.13] Programming Wireless Handheld Devices for Applications in Teaching Astronomy

R. Budiardja (Dept. Physics and Astronomy, U. Tennessee), V. Saranathan (Dept. Physics and Astronomy, U. Tennessee, Dept. Physics, Ohio Wesleyan U.), M. Guidry (Dept. Physics and Astronomy, U. Tennessee)

Wireless technology implemented with handheld devices has attractive features because of the potential to access large amounts of data and the prospect of on-the-fly computational analysis from a device that can be carried in a shirt pocket. We shall describe applications of such technology to the general paradigm of making digital wireless connections from the field to upload information and queries to network servers, executing (potentially complex) data analysis and/or database operations on fast network computers, and returning real-time information from this analysis to the handheld device in the field. As illustration, we shall describe several client/server programs that we have written for applications in teaching introductory astronomy. For example, one program allows static and dynamic properties of astronomical objects to be accessed in a remote observation laboratory setting using a digital cell phone or PDA. Another implements interactive quizzing over a cell phone or PDA using a 700-question introductory astronomy quiz database, thus permitting students to study for astronomy quizzes in any environment in which they have a few free minutes and a digital cell phone or wireless PDA. The presentation will include hands-on demonstrations with real devices.

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