Wed 29 Dec 2010
Consumer technology is advancing at such a rate that it is becoming increasingly common for such technology to find its way into various scientific applications. One of the more obvious examples is seen in the benefits high-performance computing has received from consumer graphics cards. We have also seen laptops used to measure earthquakes, and accelerometers such as those found in the Wiimote, iPhone, and other consumer electronics used to measure the flight patterns of the Malayan colugo.
In a recent paper in Water Resources Research, a team reports on the use of the Wiimote to measure evaporation. Natural evaporation rates are an important part of the water cycle; estimates of evaporation are required for weather forecasts, flood forecasts, and water resource planning, among other things.