Get the first iPhone application developed at Franklin & Marshall College.
The free Fractal Editor application allows users to construct interesting, amazing, beautiful designs with the touch of a finger. It will be available at the iTunes App Store after Jan. 15.
The application was developed by Michael Dejori, an exchange student from the Free University of Bolzano, Italy, studying at the College during the fall semester, under the supervision of Jay Anderson, the Richard S. & Ann B. Barshinger Emeritus Professor of Computer Science.
It’s based on the Macintosh OS X desktop/laptop version IFS Drawer developed by Rob Burkhead ’09 during his Hackman Scholars summer project with Anderson and Annalisa Crannell, professor of Mathematics and Computer Science.
One may place any number of rectangles on a field, reposition, resize, rotate or skew them, and then iterate the transformations that create the display.
“The result is a design with some fractal properties that is often quite beautiful,” Anderson said.
Crannell uses the desktop version “iterated function system” to teach a course in linear algebra and a first-year seminar in Mathematics of Art.
The handheld version offers most of the transformations used in the desktop version.
Dejori and Anderson found that they could not simply “port” the desktop version to the handheld platform, but had to rethink the user interface, as well as the graphics. The iPhone has few buttons, no mouse and no keyboard, so all the manipulations of the rectangles must be done with finger gestures.
Anderson hopes to see several other iPhone “apps” developed during the spring semester. Two more student projects are potential candidates, Anderson said, as is some of his own work.