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You can connect an iPhone/iPad to external sensors with HiJack, techBASIC

Now there’s a way to connect external devices to the iPhone/iPad using techBASIC and HiJack.

TechBASIC is a BASIC programming language that runs right on the iPhone/iPad. It’s an A-D converter that plugs into the headphone jack on the same devices. techBASIC lets you manipulate data and plot the results from HiJack, creating a tool to collect information from almost any external device without the need to write software first on a desktop computer.

Scientists, engineers, students and hobbyists now have a way to connect the iPhone and iPad to the outside world, collect information and process it right on their iPhone or iPad. The HiJack project from the University of Michigan, with participation from the University of Utah, created a hardware and software platform to do just that.

HiJack is designed to create cubic inch peripherals that connect through the headphone jack on an iPhone or iPad. It can even use the audio output from the headphone to provide up to 7.4 mW of power to the external device. Several devices have already been built, including an EKG monitor, a soil moisture sensor, and an Oscilloscope.

Until now, though, any software developed for HiJack had to be written in Objective C, compiled on a Mac, and distributed through the Apple App Store. This process has a steep learning curve, and creates a barrier for anyone who wants to write HiJack software.

TechBASIC is designed for remove this hurdle. It’s available on the Apple App Store. While the built-in help system may be adequate for most people, there’s also a full color, 200-page reference manual and a brief Quick Start guide available for download at the Byte Works’ web site (ttp:// These are available without buying the program.

HiJack was created at the University of Michigan for creating cubic-inch sensor peripherals for mobile phones. HiJack can harvest power and use bandwidth from the headphone interface. The HiJack hardware is available from Seeed Studio. Documentation for the HiJack hardware is available from the University of Michigan web site.

TechBASIC 1.1 is US$14.99 and is available worldwide in the Apple App Store Utilities category.

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