Copyright©2009 Antony Williams
A few years ago I was involved in the development of chemistry databases on both Palm and Pocket PC platforms. I wrote an article about it here: the products were named ChemPalm and ChemPocket …we even had a proof of concept 2D barcode scanner where the structures were encoded into 2D barcodes. The power of the devices we can hold in our hand now has jumped in leaps and bounds. Internet access from the phone is expected and web services integrated to phone applications can open up new avenues, especially when it comes to accessing Chemistry data.
A few months ago I heard so many people lauding the iPhone. How could it be that big a game changer. Then, on a long drive I plugged my iPod Nano in to charge on my car adapter and fried the Nano on the spot. The heat coming off was enough to bronze the stainless steel and you could smell it in the air. Turns out it was a problem for a very small % of Gen I Nanos. I looked at the price of a new iPod and was in the market for a GPS so thought I’d take a look at the iPhone which would give me both…and would be a phone replacement too. I haven’t regretted it one bit. The iPhone is one of the most useful devices I have ever owned….period. Free apps are installed in abundance and even though I don’t think of myself as a gamer I even have a couple of games to while away the hours when sitting on the runway…the long flight to Salt Lake City from North Carolina gave me a chance to get wet with this one today…watch it on YouTube here. I am the father of two 6.5 year old boys and if I let them see this their addiction to video games will begin (we don’t let them play video games at all yet).
We have been discussing putting together an application to allow browsing ChemSpider from the phone. presently I use Safari on the the iPhone to access ChemSpider as a website but with our web services putting together something a little skinnier is of course possible. Fortunately we collaborate with some very creative people and I was pinged this week by James Jack, a Symyx Consultant. I’ve been working with James to support his integration from Symyx Draw to ChemSpider and to the InChI Resolver. Actually, support is an overstatement…James is highly productive with minimum assistance and I think that gives credence to the quality of our web services too.
The screenshot below is a proof of concept only at present running on the visual studio emulator and runs on Windows Mobile 4 through 6. iPhone is next. The app is called ChemMobi and allows viewing of the structure, “suppliers” and properties. …ChemSpider will soon be in the hands of chemists…we hope it’s in their hearts too!