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First RS-232 to dock connector interface controls telescope

In the video on the next page you'll see a demo of the SkySafari app from Southern Stars. It's a great app for astronomy buffs, complete with gorgeous renderings of the night sky and an illustrated astronomy textbook in one neat little package. You'll also see a product called SkyFi, which is a WiFi dongle that connects to telescopes using an RS-232 port (sometimes old school is the best school, yes). Finally, you'll see a first: the very first 30-pin dock connector-to-RS-232 port cable used by SkySafari to control a telescope. It's called SkyWire and seeing an iPhone control a telescope is a treat. We're told the cable starts shipping in December and will be sold as an Apple-approved, Made For iPod product. (Editor's note: SkyWire is currently in the final stages of Apple's certification process.)

While SkySafari is awesome, I'm kind of hoping to see this cable put to more uses, like robotics or electronics hobbyist tools. The RS-232 port has been around for a long time, and while newer technologies have surpassed it in speed, it's an accessible tech for the amateur electronics buff. Check out SkySafari for iOS on the App Store or try the Lite version here. Both are on sale during the MacTech conference (ending November 5).

Please note the picture above is of a prototype unit.

TUAW is a media sponsor of the MacTech Conference 2010.

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