Turn your smartphone into a laboratory with these STEM-friendly apps

When I think of phone apps, I think of distraction. There are your social sharing apps, mobile game app, productivity apps that may or may not work… You get the gist. But what if you could harness a smartphone’s considerable power for STEM applications?

That’s the thinking behind Lab4U, a  series of phone apps that use smartphone tech as a teaching tool.

Komal Dadlani, Lab4U’s creator, came up with the idea while pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Chile. The problem is one that’s the case across the world: science teaching equipment comes at no small cost, and many schools can’t afford all that tech. But smartphones are pretty ubiquitous at this point, and even “basic” ones pack a lot of technical power.

With that in mind, Dadlani built a team to pursue a smartphone-based STEM teaching tool. The result is a series of apps targeting specific science fields: physics, chemistry soon, and biology to come. The physics app uses a phone’s speedometer and microphone to teach concepts like velocity and sonar. The chemistry app uses those high-res cameras not for great selfies but as a colorimeter. And a biology app will come with a small lens (examples are readily available) to examine substances and samples.

The app is already in use across the world, particularly in Central and South America. Dadlani recently won Toyota’s Mother of Invention innovation prize, and you can watch her talk about Lab4U’s applications below:


Here’s to bringing STEM education into classrooms around the world. And for our part, we could all stand to use our phones for educational purposes more.