Device Events with Javascript: Detecting a Shake

Device Events with Javascript: Detecting a Shake
Originally posted 3/27/2011

My most recent endeavours have been greatly associated with mobile web development. It’s fun stuff, especially looking at the kinds of support provided by HTML5 and a lot of the new Javascript interfaces. In an attempt to test the waters, I was trying to write a mobile Eight Ball application, and so I was looking at the Device Motion Event API supplied by W3 to give me some insight on how to detect a “shake” event.

Their API spec was useful, but I did end up running into a problem where nearly any change in acceleration would trigger my eightBall() event. I finally realised that the better way to go about it would be this:

	if (typeof window.DeviceMotionEvent != 'undefined') {
	  	// Shake sensitivity (a lower number is more)
	  	var sensitivity = 16;

	  	// Position variables
	  	var x1 = 0, y1 = 0, z1 = 0, x2 = 0, y2 = 0, z2 = 0;

	  	// Listen to motion events and update the position
	  	window.addEventListener('devicemotion', function (e) {
	  		x1 = e.accelerationIncludingGravity.x;
	  		y1 = e.accelerationIncludingGravity.y;
	  		z1 = e.accelerationIncludingGravity.z;
	  	}, false);

	  	// Periodically check the position and fire
	  	// if the change is greater than the sensitivity
	  	setInterval(function () {
	  		var change = Math.abs(x1-x2+y1-y2+z1-z2);

	  		if (change > sensitivity) {

	  		// Update new position
	  		x2 = x1;
	  		y2 = y1;
	  		z2 = z1;
	  	}, 200);

This works rather effectively in most established mobile browsers (mobile IE does not count). I find a lower sensitivity and a longer time interval to be more accurate to how vigorously and how long a human would actually shake a mobile device.

© Bhavya Kashyap. All rights reserved. Design: HTML5 UP.