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Interactive Annual 14:

Get It Straight

Launch Movie

“iPhone gyro technology for your tool belt. All self-respecting, tech-geek, handymen need this widget now.” —Gabrielle Weinman

“A smart little application that perfectly positions the Bosch brand, and puts it where it can be seen and used every day.” —Toria Emery

Overview: As an innovator in electrical tools for home handymen, Bosch is always looking for new ways to bring the claim Technik fürs Leben [Technology for Life] alive. This downloadable spirit level application for Apple laptops and mobile phones gives users the opportunity to precisely align anything, anywhere. The promotional application, focused on handymen, technology freaks, engineers and do-it-yourself enthusiasts, was offered as a free download to make all iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks—and the iPhone and iPod touch—into spirit levels.

  • Development time was six months from concept to launch and programming took about a month of that time.
  • The link was passed around only by word-of-mouth; within the first two months, the application was downloaded 829 times from

Comments by Patrick Schwab:

What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
“We used Processing, an open-source programming language based on Java. The most difficult task was getting extended information about the client system (e.g., the angle of inclination of the laptop). The connection between Java and the individual platforms is provided by the Java Native Interface (JNI); by using it, the Java Virtual Machine can access platform-specific functions.

“The core feature of the application takes advantage of the built-in motion sensor—Apple’s patent-pending, motion-based hardware and data-protection system used in their notebook computer systems. Unfortunately no two products, even those using the same motion sensor, necessarily work the same every time. Eliminating mistakes was an ongoing process; problems with older models (e.g., PowerBook, MacBook) showed up again and again.

“The hardware-oriented programming on the range of Apple notebooks and the implementation of Java Web Start, a framework that allows Java-applications to be started directly from the Internet, were challenging tasks that required constant learning during the production process. Unlike Java applets, Web Start applications do not run inside browsers.

“We sometimes encountered inaccuracies in the usage of the balance, which was mostly due to the fact that we didn’t have all the model revisions of the laptops with integrated motion sensors available to test the software application. In order to avoid that problem, we integrated a calibration function into the application, enabling the user to adjust the metering precision of the computer’s spirit level.”

Matthias Kubitz/Holger Oehrlich/Michael Zoelch, creative directors
Matthias Kubitz, writer
Yael Bar-Zeev/Sean Heber/Oliver Mueller/Patrick Schwab, programmers
Patrick Schwab, graphic designer
Robert Jedam, editor
Andrea Conradt/Stefanie Daenzler/Mirja Rudau, project managers
Jung von Matt AG (Stuttgart, Germany), project design and development/ad agency
Dr. Annette Becker, Robert Bosch GmbH, client