Thermoscope logo

Thermoscope for iOS

Developer's Description

With the Thermoscope you can see temperature. This microscope for temperature educational app provides a simplified visualization of particle movement that makes the temperature differences between two materials visible. Now you can explore the nature of temperature from the point of view of the particles that comprise matter!

Two sensors display the temperature as particles (dots on screen) that move within respective large circles at speeds relative to the temperatureslow for cold, fast for hotter. Learn to treat temperature as an intensive variable (motion) as opposed to an extensive variable (amount of stuff), a common misconception reinforced by the red line that increases in a conventional thermometer.

The Thermoscope can display preset material (wood and water) to show that not all material melts at the same temperature. The presets also allow users to see that particles as solids wiggle in a lattice. As the material touched by the sensor is heated, the lattice display breaks apart and particles flow around and near each other. The particles disperse to fly throughout the circle and move rapidly as the material is heated further. With two circular displays side by side users can compare the micro-world of particle speeds and observe the convergence of speeds (temperature) as hot and cold materials touch or mix.

The Thermoscope shows the particles of hotter materials moving more quickly and colliding more frequently. Warming or cooling occurs through bumping with particles that are either faster or slower. The program contains simple, but scientifically accurate computational models of matter that can be configured for solids, liquids, and gases.

The temperatures of two materials can either be simulated by slider settings or measured directly with probes connected to the app via a Web Bluetooth-enabled device. The physical Thermoscope has two fast-acting temperature probes labeled to correspond to the two displays. Instructions to build this Thermoscope kit will be part of a future version of this application.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant DRL- 1621299. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 1.2.2


Release February 18, 2020
Date Added February 18, 2020
Version 1.2.2

Operating Systems

Operating Systems iOS
Additional Requirements Requires iOS 12 or later. Compatible with iPad.


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