A look at the tiny gyroscope in iPhone 4

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Just a a follow up to Mika's iPad post, this is a look at a single element in the iPhone and iPad.

It is often not difficult to come up with new concepts at the micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) level, it is far more difficult to reproducibly and reliably integrate a complex system into an every day item... here is a nicely illustrated example of an advanced system in a mass produced item... similar systems are also integrated in the iPad, and are incorporated in other manufacturers' recent products (again, reproducibility and reliability of integration are the key... and undoubtedly Apple excels at that B) )

The Gyroscope in Apple iPhone 4 > LINK <


Oh... and if you don't Apple gear, here is an alternative link to really advanced PC/Windows technologies :)

Disclamer: I do not own an iPhone nor an iPad... I have a MacBook Pro (i7), a T5500 Dell workstation (Dual Xeon 5680, 24GB ram), an old Nokia phone, and cleanroom compatible paper lab-book and pen...

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Hi Zuma

Long time no see/hear hope every thing is going well .

Great post mate this stuff is mind blowing :)

Apple does it better than most ;) ,i would move this to the iPad thread i think it belongs there ,you can bet your bottom dollar that the next model ipad will be Gyroscopically enabled :hungry:

Great post ;)

Cheers OZ B)

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Long time no see/hear hope every thing is going well .

Great post mate this stuff is mind blowing :D

Apple does it better than most ;) ,i would move this to the iPad thread i think it belongs there ,you can bet your bottom dollar that the next model ipad will be Gyroscopically enabled :yes:

Great post ;)

Cheers OZ :cigar:

All's well mate, thanx... work is a beast that can tame one's time...

Those funny engineers at Apple decided to drop the full featured gyros from the iPad, retaining instead a 3-axis accelerometer (possibly integrated with a 3-axis compass... similar to this one (yeah... really boring link :clap:), the 3-axis accelerometer chip being similar to the one in the Wii remote... given the intended use for the iPad (and apps available), this is a fine solution.

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Great post Zuma, love it!!! :D:party:

MEMS sure is a fine technology one which certainly will allow for more accurate measurements of time etc for such things as Navigation on the iPhone and iPad compared to GPS which isn't always accurate. The use for MEMS could be infinite! :cigar:

Thanks for posting, I love the pic of the Gyroscope mate. :yes:

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Some more news to Zumas Gyroscope post:

The iPhone 4 Gyroscope:

Source: Touch Reviews by Stephen Northcott.

The Gyroscope is kind of the last piece in the puzzle of the iPhone 4’s location awareness and motion tracking arsenal. I am extremely excited about it.

On the iPhone 3GS we have GPS, an accelerometer (which is gravity sensitive), and a compass. With those three functionalities it is possible to tell where the iPhone is, which way it is facing, and roughly what orientation the device is at. All iPhones up until the iPhone 4 have a fatal flaw though. Because the accelerometer is gravity driven it can not measure any rotations around the vertical axis. This means that you can use the iPhone 2G thru to the 3GS as a steering wheel, or to tilt marbles around on a simulated flat surface, but you can never accurately tell the way the device is facing in all planes.

Enter the Gyro…


Many of you may have had a gyroscope as a kid (Picture above). If you did you’ll remember that when you spun up the fly wheel it seemed able to defy gravity by standing upright on a single thin spindle. If you then picked it up and tried to rotate it you would be able to feel strong resistance to your movements as it tried to stay upright. This resistance to movement away from it’s spin axis is what a gyro uses to measure you turning your iPhone. Now, there isn’t actually a spinning thing inside your iPhone 4. Even though it’s nice to imagine one there. The gyro magic is all done electronically. But it relies on similar physics. And the truly amazing thing is that it is incredibly accurate, and works in all directions of rotation. i.e. It is not dependant on gravity like accelerometers are.

So what? Well by itself the gyro can tell us exactly how far the iPhone has been turned from an arbitrary position at any time. But that is not that useful unless we know where the iPhone was when we started. By combining GPS, the Compass and the accelerometer, already in the iPhone 4 (and previously in the 3G/3GS), with the gyro’s incredibly accurate sensing of motion in all directions, we can tell exactly where the iPhone 4 is, and which way it is facing at all times.

The gyroscope in the iPhone 4 can distinguish movement with an accuracy of up to 2,000 degrees per second – over 600 times more detailed than the movement of the second hand on a clock.

Using the CoreMotion APIs in iOS, developers can make use of the gyroscope to measure true roll, pitch, and yaw, making the iPhone sensitive to motion on six total axes.

At the moment if you want to experience the Gyro in action on the iPhone 4, and feel just how accurate it is for yourself, there is a game from ngmoco called “Eilminate:GunRange” in the iTunes App Store. That app is only for the iPhone 4, and uses the Gyro for aiming at targets in a shooting range. Strangely ngmoco are charging for it. But I guess they are trying to cash in on the iPhone 4 launch and have decided to forgo their normal Freemium model for now on that one!

Full article: (iMovie, Gyroscope, Location Awareness, Glass Case)

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