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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cell Phone App Calls Muslims to Prayer

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new cell phone application that lets Muslims know when it's time for one of their five daily prayers. It's called Sun Dial, and unlike other commercial "call to prayer" applications, it uses images and audio rather than text.
On the screen, the sun moves through the sky toward green circles, each representing a prayer time. When the sun and a circle overlap, it's time to pray.
"Users drove this choice by telling us that tracking the sun was the most religiously valued method to determine prayer times,” says Susan Wyche, a doctoral candidate at Georgia Tech who studies how religious groups adopt and use technology. In a focus group, many Muslims said that things like smog, bad weather, tall buildings, and working in windowless rooms often restrict their view of the real sun.
Another interesting finding: Testing showed that “Sun Dial provided more than functionality or a prompt to the prayer times; it also contributed to users’ religious experience by reminding them they were part of a larger community," according to Wyche.
The researchers are now working to make the application available for download on the Internet. —Heather Wax


Bretislav said...

Sounds like a very interesting app for the iPhone. For BlackBerry users, I highly recommend Salat, which integrated to the on-board GPS to provide accurate prayer times based on your exact location. It's really amazing!

You can find out more at http://www.salatapp.com