Gyroscope vs Accelerometer: Difference and Comparison

People often get confused with using terms in a conversation. This kind of problem occurs mainly because many get confused with the meanings of terms as they sound so similar.


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Gyroscope and accelerometer are two such terms. They are primarily sensory and used for measuring different things but serve a common purpose.

Key Takeaways

  1. A gyroscope measures the rate of rotation and angular orientation of an object, while an accelerometer measures the acceleration and movement of an object.
  2. Gyroscopes are used in applications that require precision orientation control, such as drones and spacecraft.
  3. Accelerometers are used in applications that require motion sensings, such as smartphones and fitness trackers.

Gyroscope vs Accelerometer

The difference between a gyroscope and an accelerometer is that an accelerometer is used for measuring the vibration or acceleration of a movement of an object. The accelerometer converts electronic signals from physical motion. They are three different types of accelerometers that are used for several unique purposes. Accelerometers are used in industries, sports, and so on. Gyroscope, on the other hand, is used to determine the orientation.

Gyroscope vs Accelerometer

A gyroscope is a type of device which is used to measure orientation. It is also used for keeping the orientation stable. They also contain three types.

They are mechanical, gas-bearing, and optical gyroscopes. Conservation of angular momentum is the principle of the gyroscope. There are four primary parts in a gyroscope.

As the name sounds, the accelerometer is used to measure acceleration. Three types of accelerometers serve a variety of purposes. The accelerometer converts electronic signals from physical motion.

They are used in a variety of fields. They are used for industrial purposes, automotive, aerospace and defence, and consumer electronics.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonGyroscopeAccelerometer
MeaningA gyroscope is a device used for measuring orientation.The accelerometer is a device used for measuring acceleration.
How it worksThey work under the principle of angular momentum.Converts electrical signals from physical energy.
PartsSpin axis, rotor, gimbal, and gyroscope frame.Fixed assembly, mass, spring, and internal movable assembly.  
Signal-to-noise ratioHigherLower
Measurement of angular velocityIt can be used.It cannot be used.

What is Gyroscope?

A gyroscope is a type of device used for the purpose of measurement of rotation. It detects the orientation and has unique features.

Basically, the gyroscope works on the principle of conservation of angular momentum. This is primarily applicable to mechanical gyroscopes, wherein they will solely depend on the ball bearing for spinning purposes.

There are also types of gyroscopes that serve a variety of purposes. The parts of a gyroscope include a spine axle, the rotor, the gimbal, the gyroscope frame, and the base.

The gyroscope can be used for measuring angular velocity. A gyroscope is a device that can be used to detect angular orientation.

 Gyroscopes are used in different fields as it serves different purposes. They are used in the mining industries to keep track of the direction.

They are used in mobile gaming as they sense motion sensing. They are mainly used in shipping industries for compasses as they help in navigation.

Interestingly, there are three types of gyroscopes. Mechanical gyroscopes, gas-bearing gyroscopes, and optical gyroscopes are the three types.

Here, the mechanical gyroscope relies on the working principle of angular momentum, whereas the optical gyroscopes rely on the rotating wheel (otherwise known as the ball bearing).


What is Accelerometer?

The accelerometer is a device commonly used by several people worldwide in their daily day-to-day lives.

As the term is self-explanatory and clear, an accelerometer is used to measure the acceleration or vibration of the movement of any particular object. Other than this, the accelerometer has several use cases too.

To explain the process of the accelerometer in simple terms, this device converts the electronic signals obtained from physical motion.

It is compiled with different appliances inside, which allows the accelerometer to transform the electronic signals. With the piezoelectric effect, the accelerometer transforms the voltage into velocity.

The capacitance sensor located within this device is used to sense or detect the capacitance changes in the accelerometer. Thus, the device transforms the changes in capacitances into electric signals.

These accelerometers are used for several purposes, like in laptops, cars, and smartphones. This device can sense if a laptop is in free fall. It quickly turns off and protects the hard drive.

It helps in cases of car crashes. The accelerometers deploy the airbags right when the sensor senses an accident is occurring. This helps in saving lives during car crashes.

The smartphones can turn to portrait and landscape mode depending on tilting the phone. The sensor adapts to the tilt and changes the screen accordingly.


Main Differences Between Gyroscope and Accelerometer

  1. An accelerometer is a device that is primarily used for detecting linear movement. On the other hand, the gyroscope is used for measuring the kinds of rotations.
  2. Speaking of measuring angular velocity, an accelerometer can be used to measure it, whereas the latter cannot.
  3. A gyroscope is a device that can be used to detect angular orientation. On the other hand, Accelerometer is used for detecting the axis orientation.
  4. Accelerometers are used to measure vibration in buildings and cars, whereas gyroscopes are primarily used in compasses for navigation.
  5. The different parts of the gyroscope include the rotor, gimbal, axle, and gyroscope frame. The parts of the accelerometer include the fixed assembly, mass, spring, and internal movable assembly.
Difference Between Gyroscope and Accelerometer


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