Sep. 18, 2013 at 1:01 PM ET
We've seen people in crowds holding up their full-size iPads to take photos, a sight that's still a little odd but more familiar now. Reuters photographer Mohamed Abdullah chronicled a very different use of Apple's tablet earlier this week: its role in helping a Syrian rebel direct the fire of a homemade mortar into Jobar, a Damascus suburb.
The iPad's accelerometer — a device also built into recent iPhones and many other smartphones and tablets — can measure the force of acceleration. It senses movement and gravity, and is a staple for gamers and fitness buffs. But its use in Syria's civil war takes it to another level, one that was likely not intended during its inception.