Many different sensory devices are used to determine the position and orientation of an object. The most common of these sensors are the gyroscope and the accelerometer. Though similar in purpose, they measure different things. When combined into a single device, they can create a very powerful array of information.
What is a gyroscope?
A gyroscope is a device that uses Earth’s gravity to help determine orientation. Its design consists of a freely-rotating disk called a rotor, mounted onto a spinning axis in the center of a larger and more stable wheel. As the axis turns, the rotor remains stationary to indicate the central gravitational pull, and thus which way is “down.”
What is an accelerometer?
An accelerometer is a compact device designed to measure non-gravitational acceleration. When the object it’s integrated into goes from a standstill to any velocity, the accelerometer is designed to respond to the vibrations associated with such movement. It uses microscopic crystals that go under stress when vibrations occur, and from that stress a voltage is generated to create a reading on any acceleration. Accelerometers are important components to devices that track fitness and other measurements in the quantified self movement. Continue reading