Difference Between Gyroscope and Accelerometer

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.

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

Gyroscope vs Accelerometer

The main difference between gyroscope and accelerometer is that accelerometer is used for measuring 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 for determining the orientation.

Gyroscope and 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 defense, and consumer electronics.

Comparison Table Between Gyroscope and Accelerometer

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 the gyroscope frame.Fixed assembly, mass, spring, and the 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 the mechanical gyroscopes, wherein it 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 for 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 gyroscope, gas-bearing gyroscope, 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 that is commonly used by several people around the world 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 simply 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 of 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 on a 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 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 the angular velocity, an accelerometer can be used for measuring it, whereas the latter cannot be used.
  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


Both the gyroscope and the accelerometer are unique in their ways and serve plenty of useful purposes. To simply put, they both are two types of measurement devices.

One of them helps in measuring the orientation, whereas the other one helps in the measurement of acceleration. Both the accelerometer and the gyroscope are used in a variety of fields.

For instance, gyroscopes are used in mobile phone gaming as they sense motion, they are used in mining industries to keep the direction on the track, and they are mainly used in compasses for the purpose of navigation.

On the other hand, the accelerometer is used in automotive and consumer electronics.


  1. https://www.aaai.org/Papers/AAAI/2005/IAAI05-013.pdf
  2. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/0960-1317/19/11/113001/meta
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