Why Gyroscopes in Smartphones Are So Cool
The iPhone 4 is the first smartphone that we’re aware of that has a built-in gyroscope. This “MEMS” gyroscope is the newest sensor in the iPhone that already includes an accelerometer, a proximity sensor, and an ambient light sensor. MEMS stands for micro-electro-mechanical-systems and consist of tiny sensors and tiny mechanical actuators. The most common use of MEMS technology is the accelerometer that triggers the airbag in automobiles. The new iPhone, 3-axis gyroscope consists of tiny vibrating elements like miniature tuning forks and sensors that detect tiny changes in vibration forces when the phone is moved. Predictions say 29 million phones with gyroscope will ship this year. When a gyroscope and accelerometer work together you get much more accurate motion sensing and more fluid responses in applications. Here’s a video from MEMS innovator InvenSense demonstrating some of the cool things you can do with gyroscope-enabled phones like shake navigation, air signatures and improved virtual navigation and augmented reality applications. We wonder what Android phone will be the first to integrate a gyroscope?

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