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Using the Accelerometer#2 Creating a Level

In this post we will extend upon the simple Accelerometer example I looked at in a previous post by actually graphically representing the Accelerometer data on the Windows Phone 7 device. One way to do this is to create a spirit-level – you know the thingy in your toolbox that you use to see if something is level or not!

Thanks to some XAML from Jeff Prosise's Blog we can easily add a spirit-level to the previous application and use it to track the movement of the device relative to one dimension. We add a simple rectangle and a bubble (an Ellipse) to represent how far out of level the device is.

<StackPanel Margin="0" Orientation="Vertical" VerticalAlignment="Top" Width="400">
    <Button Click="Button_Click" Height="78" Content="Start" />
    <TextBlock x:Name="TextBlockX" Height="50" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="TextBlock"/>
    <TextBlock x:Name="TextBlockY" Height="50" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="TextBlock"/>
    <TextBlock x:Name="TextBlockZ" Height="50" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="TextBlock"/>
    <TextBlock x:Name="TextBlockTimeStamp" Height="50" TextWrapping="Wrap" Text="TextBlock"/>
        <Rectangle x:Name="Track" 
                   RadiusY="40" />
        <Line Stroke="#FFC0C0C0" 
                X1="0" Y1="0" X2="0" Y2="120" 
                Margin="200,0,0,0" />
        <Ellipse x:Name="Ball" Width="80" Height="80" Margin="160,0,0,0">
                <RadialGradientBrush GradientOrigin="0.234,0.255">
                    <GradientStop Color="White"/>
                    <GradientStop Color="Red" Offset="0.759"/>
                <TranslateTransform x:Name="BallTransform" />

The Rectangle acts as a visual guide helping us understand which way the bubble needs to move before the device is level. 

Most real spirit-levels only show the tilt in one dimension at a time, so we’ll only be looking at moving the bubble along the X axis in the example. It is also important to note that the bubble in a spirit-level moves in the opposite direction to the current tilt of the device, so we need to move our Ellipse in a negative X direction.

To graphically display the movement of the device we will use a TranslateTransform transformation named BallTransform to move the bubble to the left or right. This transformation can then be called from the code we created to handle the ReadingChanged event in the previous post.

void MyReadingChanged(AccelerometerReadingEventArgs e)


    TextBlockX.Text = e.X.ToString();

    TextBlockY.Text = e.Y.ToString();

    TextBlockZ.Text = e.Z.ToString();

    TextBlockTimeStamp.Text = e.Timestamp.ToString();

    //New code to move the ball from left to right

    BallTransform.X = -e.X * (Track.Width - Ball.Width);


Running the app on a WP7 device will display a red ball that moves in the opposite direction to the current tilt of the device, enabling you to find the true level of any object you lay the device on. This may be handy if you need to show the boss that your desk really does lean to the right!

Posted: May 14 2011, 06:56 by CameronM | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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Filed under: Windows Phone 7 | WP7