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Accelerometer vs Gyroscope: What are the Main Differences?

Every year, the consumer electronics industry grows quicker. People are now more aware regarding the ways in which technology might benefit them due to this. The use of accelerometers and gyroscopes has become more widespread. MEMS, or Microelectromechanical systems, are increasingly important in these technologies. They provide the consumer a fresh method of interacting with their gadget. Additionally, they detect the motion of the device and then have interactions with them in some new ways.

Both the industrial and consumer markets can benefit from these gadgets. The aerospace and automotive sectors are among them. Here, MEMS would detect motion in different automobiles like cars, ships, and planes. These sensors can also be used to detect direction and speed. It will boost these products’ general effectiveness.

MEMS are used in seat detectors, side-impact airbags, as well as control units of airbags. Inside the automotive sector, they are also utilized in cruise controllers. Consoles for video games can also benefit from the accelerometer and a gyroscope. It is a prime illustration of consumer technology. Before transferring the data from this device into the console as well as the gaming platform, a microchip processes it. Before we go into accelerometer vs gyroscope comparison, let’s know what an accelerometer is.

What Does an Accelerometer Mean?

Accelerometer Gyroscope

A tool used to measure an object’s acceleration while it is falling freely is an accelerometer. A linkage, spring, and mass make up the mechanism. They hung the mass out from replaceable linkage from its resting position. A vertically accelerating object will cause the hanging mass to move in the opposite direction.

The amount of acceleration that this object is experiencing is determined by its mass displacement.

The accelerometer measures an object’s acceleration to perform its purpose. The uses for an accelerometer are countless. Because various species use it in detecting gravity or even the gravity of the earth, it is typically utilized by nature. They are used by some scientific institutes to measure cosmic acceleration and rotation rates. These devices operate due to certain forces. MEMS, IVI, Gyroscopes, as well as Magnetometers are a few of them.

How Does it Work?

Free-falling means that an object is descending because of gravity. Depending on the weight of the object, this object will eventually attain a specific speed. The acceleration brought on by gravity would be denoted as “g”.

The mass is subsequently subjected to a specific physical force, which causes it to slow down. The deceleration is tracked by an accelerometer. It calculates the momentum shift brought on by the force, which alters when there’s an accelerating force acting on it.

The Piezoelectric Effect

The accelerometer also functions in conjunction with this phenomenon. Whenever you compress a crystal containing bonded atoms, it develops a electrical charge. It produces a voltage when compressed. When this device is connected, it will start to function as the accelerometer.

Capacitance Change

An accelerometer functions by detecting changes in the capacitance in certain applications. Thus, whenever it is falling freely, it experiences changes in capacitance. There are two capacitive plates. They are linked via a capacitor and a coil. The system tracks the capacitance’s variation. It can be used to establish whether something is falling.

Magneto-resistive effect


The magneto-resistive effect is also a component of an accelerometer. A faint magnetic field is detected. It thus recognizes the acceleration brought on by magnetic fields.

MEMS Accelerometers

Different operating principles are required for accelerometers. They are employed in the automotive, consumer electronics, as well as aerospace sectors. The most well-known MEMS device is the accelerometer. It can be used to detect shock, vibration, and slight changes in an object’s direction.

It uses extremely little power whenever in operation, making it a highly efficient device as well. Because of this, you may decide to leave it for long without the battery of the device draining.

Accelerometers’ main component is a technology known as Microelectromechanical systems, otherwise known as MEMS. They quantify vibration, rotation, and acceleration. By tracking the movement of the proof mass, we can calculate the acceleration. In addition to the resonant structure, there is a proof mass.

The electromechanical sensor is the most used kind of accelerometer. As a result, we also call it an accelerometer. Typically, accelerometers consist of integrated circuit and sensor chip. It includes resonators, inductors, and capacitors (tuned circuits having resonant frequencies).

This sensor chip may use conventional CMOS technology, silicon-based, or alternative techniques. The acceleration measurement system makes use of piezoelectric effect. The system tracks the capacitance’s change.

What are the Applications of an Accelerometer?

Accelerometer and Gyroscope

There are several uses for accelerometers, including:

Compass/Mapping programs:

Accelerometers are used in systems for GPS navigation to determine whether the object is moving. It would also be able to determine which way it is traveling. Tablets and phones may establish their direction and orientation via axis-based sensing.

Detection of Earthquakes

The detection of earthquakes is done using accelerometers. Also, it helps in determining the movement’s magnitude.

In-car applications

The accelerometers are used in automobiles to check whether the driver is still controlling his or her vehicle. A proper safety response is then triggered.

Tilt sensing

By using the gyroscope and an accelerometer, we can determine the orientation of a device. IPhone, for instance, makes use of a gyroscope and accelerometer. When a user turns their phone from the portrait mode to the landscape mode, it first recognizes this. It then modifies the applications as necessary.

Fall Sensing

In sophisticated protection systems, accelerometers are used. They recognize a fall, then they activate life-saving features like seat belts and airbags.

Fitness monitors and wearables

Accelerometers can spot movement. This can determine whether the person is cycling, walking, or running.

Medical Devices

Medical Devices Additionally, it provides vital information regarding a patient’s condition. Accelerometers are also seen in artificial hips and heart valves. They aid in the detection of motion near the prosthesis.

Applications and games

Accelerators are useful in detecting movements when a game is on. i.e. the joystick controller’s response time.

What Does a Gyroscope Offer?

The gyroscope can be described as a tool that gauges an object’s rotation rate by using its own inherent inertia. It’s a form of mechanical effect, in our opinion. Gyroscopes are used in a variety of electronic applications as well as geophysical and space exploration.

How Does a Gyroscope Work?

The two primary components of a gyroscope are:

  • Pair of gyroscopes, which are weighted rings.
  • A magnetometer, which is a device that measures angular rate but we don’t make use of.

The precession phenomenon that occurs whenever the gyroscope rotates round one axes is how it functions. When it takes on an equilibrium state, it is unable to discern the rotation angle. But when it has rotated, it will face up toward the axis you positioned it on.

In this instance, a gyroscope-affecting inertial force is at play. A greater amount of kinetic energy would accompany this motion because its angular momentum is unchanged. The gyroscope will move backward due to this force. But since the gyroscope remains stationary, we refer to this as the precession. A gyroscope would reject any change coming to the angular momentum till you add torque, which is another precession phenomenon.

The rate whereby a specific object rotates inside a accelerating frame can be determined from its rotation rate in a inertial frame. It accomplishes this using either Newton’s first motion law or the equivalence principle of Einstein.

What are the Applications of Gyroscopes?

Gyroscopes are mostly used for space exploration navigation, as well as flight control. They are beneficial for medical equipment as well, though. Heart monitors as well as other medical devices are an illustration. Gyroscopes are also used by NMR spectrometers for monitoring motion.

Systems for inertial guidance

For rockets, missiles, spacecraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles, systems for inertial guiding are crucial. Orientation and position in space can be determined via the system for inertial guiding

MEMS gyroscopes are used in consumer electronics.

Consumer devices, notably tablets and smartphones are driving up MEMS demand. This is due to the majority of modern tablets and smartphones have the 3-axis gyroscope.

When a device starts moving far too much, gyroscopes can identify it. For instance, in a collision, it would activate the airbag system. It will make a GPS-based call to emergency services if it notices a significant ground fall.

Stability in ships, motorcycles, as well as vehicles

The vehicle’s longitudinal and lateral stability parameters can be ascertained using MEMS gyroscopes. It allows us to evaluate how the chassis of a car is functioning. Stability is also used in autos. It can tell, for instance, whether a car is unstable or loses balance when navigating a curve.

Airplanes via MEMS gyroscopes

One crucial component is the MEMS module. It makes the fly-by-wire flight control system’s roll axis functional. Pilots may now fly a jet using supersonic speeds thanks to this technology. Vehicle, motorcycle, and ship stability

Space stations

The speed, orientation, as well as the direction of the space station is determined in part by MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers.

Accelerometer vs Gyroscope: What are the Differences?

There are numerous commonalities between the two sensors whenever compared. You’ll discover they have comparable skills and uses. So figuring out which one functions better is extremely difficult.

You may learn more about the distinctions between accelerometer vs gyroscope in this section. It will then assist you in selecting the appropriate sensor that suits your project.


In measuring acceleration, we utilize accelerometers. A gyroscope, on the contrary, has the ability to gauge both angular velocity and angular rate. In a nutshell, accelerometers detect changes in direction and speed. A gyroscope detects rotational speed.

Rotation sensors and rate gyros are other names for gyroscopes. However, how they perform determines this. It is renowned for sensing angular acceleration and rotation as well as linear acceleration. An accelerometer as well as a gyroscope can also be combined and used to measure.

The gyroscope measures yaw axis motion to determine its angular velocity. Gyroscopes are employed by inertial navigation as well as systems for flight control to measure rotational speed.

Gyroscopes are another type of sensors that robots employ to sense their orientation as well as keep their balance.

Accelerometers can be thought of as tiny gyroscopes. That’s because they measure angular rate similarly.

Horizontal Mode

Basic rotational movement taking the west or east direction, also known as yaw, is measured by a horizontal mode. Depending on whatever axis that gyroscope detects rotation in, yaw could also employ the terms roll or pitch to describe the motion.

Angular velocity measurement

Gyroscopes are devices that measure or detect a rotating body’s rotation. You need to install this gyroscope on any fixed location to regulate the rotation’s direction in order to achieve accurate measurements.

A piece of electronics is the gyroscope. We utilize it for 3D sensing, scanning, navigation, as well as systems for position control and use it to detect angular velocity.

It is not enough to measure linear velocity for inertial navigation systems. This is possible because the spacecraft may move at very high speeds while maintaining alignment. In systems of position control, whereby the vehicle isn’t moving, we can employ it to obtain orientation information.

There are different modes in a gyroscope, including angular rate, horizontal, as well as drift of the angular rate drift.  Every mode type is necessary for various applications and circumstances.

Ratio of signal to the noise

The ratio in between the level of noise and signal level registered by the detection device is known as its ratio of signal to the noise.

The sensitivity to changes in input increases with the ratio of signal to noise. Choosing a sensor requires consideration of this ratio. This is so that it won’t be accurate or precise. For instance, a sensor having a poor SNR won’t react to minute changes in the output.

A particularly sensitive sensor having a high SNR that can detect even the tiniest changes is the gyroscope. Due to this, accelerometer values are lower, which is counterproductive.

Gyroscopes are used to create the inertial navigation system. This is because they are more sensitive to changes in angular velocity than accelerometers are. When it comes to drift, the gyroscope edges the accelerometer. This results from its continuous measuring mistake.


Hope you know the differences between accelerometer vs gyroscope. Finally, the environmental and application factors will determine which sensor is best. We must first decide which output is greater in a specific application. Getting raw data out of the sensor is possible, then you should choose accelerometer over the gyroscope. However, if what you want is high precision and accuracy, then the gyroscope is preferable over the accelerometer.




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