Users of Google's Android-based phones and tablets can now make use of a free new app that allows the user to see protons collide, in real time and in 3D, within the particle accelerator located on the French-Swiss border.

In addition, LHSee, a new Android app, also allows aspiring physicists to interact with real proton collisions, hunt for theoretical particles and actually even learn how the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) works!

Credit for creating the app goes to a team from Oxford University, led by Alan Barr and the app itself is endorsed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), under whose authority the LHC functions. According to rough estimates, it has already been downloaded more than 10,000 times!

It is aimed, according to the Android market, at experts and non-experts alike' and offers the chance to explore different parts of the detector and learn about the reactions the scientists there are looking for, the Daily Mail reports.

For ages, I'd been thinking that with the amazing capabilities on modern smartphones we really ought to be able to make a really great app - something that would allow everybody to access the LHC data, said Barr, on the official Oxford science blog.

 I'd sounded out a few commercial companies who said they could do the job but I found that it would be expensive, and of course I'd have to teach their designers a lot of physics. So the idea was shelved, continued Barr, Then, a few months later, I had one of those eureka moments that make Oxford so wonderful.

By leading users along the colored slides produced by the LHC, the app is reverse-engineering the imagery so that home users can understand the reactions. The LHC is predicted to either find the Higgs Boson or prove its non-existence next year.

'With the app you can understand what these strange shapes and lines actually mean - in terms of the individual particles detected. Our hope is that people can now appreciate the pictures and the science all the more - and perhaps even be a little inspired, said Barr.

LHSee has full support for English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. LHSee provides videos from CERN, an animated step-by-step walkthrough of how the LHC works and 3D simulations of real collisions. There's even a game called Hunt the Higgs Boson.