Accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers all can be used to measure motion. These are packaged similarly to other integrated circuits and may provide either analog or digital outputs. They are widely used in smartphones, gaming devices, cameras, and many other applications. Panasonic, Robert Bosch GmbH, InvenSense, Seiko Epson, Sensonor, STMicroelectronics, Freescale Semiconductor, and Analog Devices are major manufacturers.

  • MEMS accelerometers use a flexible Silicon structure that works like a spring and detects the deformation to measure the magnitude of acceleration. Three separate structures are oriented at right angles to each other to detect the direction and magnitude in any direction.
  • MEMS gyroscopes use a vibrating structure to determine the rate of rotation rather than a spinning wheel of conventional rotating gyroscopes.
  • Magnetometers measure orientation by detecting the direction of the earth’s magnetic field.

The big advance for these common sensors is that they are being combined on a single chip which makes them extremely easy to use. You can now get one chip that has three accelerometers, three gyroscopes, and a magnetometer for about $5. This multi-sensor chip trend will continue and dramatically lower the cost of each individual sensor.

Recent Projects

Voler helps teams identify the right accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer for their application. Here are some recent projects that we have delivered.

Motion Control in a Wearable Device

Motion Control in a Rehabilitation Device

Complex Motion Control Software in Surgical Table

Additional resources

How gyroscopes work