If you've ever felt the need to take a photograph of yourself and your friends from an elevated position then you may have tried the "throw your camera in the air while it snaps away at you from above" method. Now there's an app titled ThrowMeApp that's designed to make this approach a little more hit and a bit less miss. Unfortunately the app can't overcome the biggest risk of employing this method: if you fail to catch your smartphone before gravity sneaks it past your outreached hand, it could wind up being a pretty expensive photo.
ThrowMeApp is available for Android for free through Google Play. It was developed by Anton Beitler, a student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and a man who now has to live with what's likely to be thousands of damaged smartphones and their heartbroken owners on his conscience.
The app works by utilizing the smartphone's accelerometer to determine when best to take the shot. The app can estimate the speed at which the phone is traveling, and automatically click the shutter button at the appropriate time. The app also adapts after repeated use, calculating the average time it took for the camera to complete its journey over its previous five throws. However it still requires some skill on the part of the user.
The instructions for how to use ThrowMeApp are very simple. You hold the camera flat in your hand, start the app, and touch the screen. You then launch the phone straight up into the air in the hopes of a positive outcome. The less spin and movement applied to the phone at the time it takes the shot the better, as a poorly pitched throw results in blurry images.
Even with that advice I can only imagine most of the images captured using ThrowMeApp will be of people looking concerned that their smartphone is, at that precise moment, flying through the air and about to smash into the ground if not successfully caught. The developer has seen fit to paste a disclaimer on Google Play about the risk of damage which reads, "YOU alone are responsible for your phone and YOU have to prevent the phone from breaking or hitting people. In short: thou shalt not hurt thy neighbor or break thy phone."
As a profile pic for use on social networking sites, an aerial shot is likely to stand out amongst the flood of outstretched arm selfies, but with the risk of smartphone damage increasing with every shot, users may want to limit their aerial photo output. Practical uses for ThrowMeApp may be limited, but as a proof-of-concept for mobile technology it's rather smart.
In the same way the developer of ThrowMeApp urges caution, so do we here at Gizmag. If you choose to download, install, and use ThrowMeApp, then you do so entirely at your own risk. At the very least try to use an old smartphone or one with a hefty protective case, and only throw it above a soft surface that won't damage the device should it slip through your fingers.