With technology constantly changing, many people have grown a little more than attached to their mobile devices. In an age when smart phones and tablets have become the one-stop-shop for communication and entertainment, people are also increasingly using them to accomplish work-related tasks with a simple swipe of the finger.
As the smartphone and tablet market continues to experience growth, apps also are on the rise. A few years ago, smart phone users were downloading more apps on the iPhone than on Android. The scale seems to be tipping now and as reported by Canalys, just over half of all apps downloaded in the first quarter of this year were for Android.
The Axon Calc app offers heat transfer calculators for engineers. Image: Axon Calc
"The market has changed significantly," says Shuchi Khurana, founder and CEO of Axon Calc, a company that develops mobile calculator apps for science and engineering. "When I started the company in 2010, there were fewer apps, but now there are lots of calculation, reference, and unit conversion apps on Google Play," he adds.
In Khurana's opinion, "The natural progression for apps would be mix of information with calculation and apps becoming smarter by doing complex calculations – being able to solve problems with default input and flexibility to add." He envisions a social component where sharing will grow and engineers give feedback to each other.
Regardless of the platform, the multitudes of apps being added to the App Store and Google Play every day are enabling engineers to perform simple and repetitive tasks while on the road. Here are nine useful Android apps that can be handy for mechanical engineering professionals and students.
EngCalc includes formulae and property tables for mechanical, hydraulic, structural, machine design, electrical, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, thermodynamics, HVAC, pipe flow, and automotive. It also integrates a unit convertor with units and conversions.
The CAD View 3D MFC enables the user to rotate 3-D renderings with the touch of a finger. Image: CAD View 3D MFC
Heat Transfer Calculator offers calculators related to heat transfer calculations. The calculators include a conduction and convection calculator which calculates the conduction and convection phenomenon and outputs the temperature or heat transfer rate. It also allows unit conversion of heat transfer-related units from Metric to English units.
Engineering Unit Converter is an engineering unit converter that allows engineers to choose a category such as length, energy, entropy, electric charge, etc., from a list. The available units appear in two spinning wheels and you can change the input value in the yellow field, sort units, or use the swap button.
Fluid Mechanics Converter is a conversion calculator that can translate different units of measure related to fluid mechanics. The app includes a fluid converter, flow rate (mass) converter, flow rate (volume) converter, viscosity (dynamic) converter, viscosity (oil and water) converter, and a viscosity (kinematic) converter.
Engineers are able to simulate design options during the concept phase using Autodesk’s ForceEffect Motion app. Image: Autodesk
Engineering Cookbook is a reference guide for mechanical designers. It provides access to frequently needed information, including heating and cooling load estimating; sound and vibration guidelines, ventilation rates for indoor air quality; and design formulas and conversion factors.
Mechanical Engineering 101 is an on-the-go learning app that helps you to understand the basics of "Mechanical Engineering 101." The app provides bite-sized learning through tutorials, quizzes, and flashcards.
Mechanical Engineering Magazine is the monthly flagship publication of ASME. The app delivers an interdisciplinary view of engineering trends, giving readers a roadmap to understand today's technology and tomorrow's innovations.
CAD View 3D MFC is a 3-D data file viewer designed for CAD users. It supports the most popular 3-D CAD formats including STL, DXF, and JT. With help of this app, users can take their 3-D files with them no matter where they are and view them with their phone (or tablet) directly. The app provides 3-D features including rotating model with finger movement, changing object material color or rendering background color, and changing rendering light intensity.
Autodesk ForceEffect Motion app allows engineers to develop functional moving mechanical systems right on their mobile devices. Unlike the traditional approach of using paper, pencil, and a calculator to develop equations for design options, the app does all the simulation and engineering calculations on mobile device, enabling engineers to simulate design options during the concept phase to determine the viability of a design.
The natural progression for apps would be mix of information with calculation and apps becoming smarter by doing complex calculations.
Shuchi Khurana, founder and CEO, Axon Calc
More on this topic
Author Lawrence Samuels takes us through his experience of witnessing the inventions at the 1964/65 World’s Fair.
Eric Swartz, co-owner of Elecraft, explains the evolution of ham radios and where they’re headed.