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Gyroscope: functioning

Gyroscope: functioning


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Gyroscope, an object that defies the force of gravity with agility and lightness, it seems to make no effort to oppose this inexorable force in front of which we, and not just us, succumb. There is no magical power other than what is explained by the mathematical formulas and physical principles which, for many, remain a mystery. Whether you want to study them or not, the gyroscope remains an object that is not only fascinating but very useful.

Developed by the French physicist Jean Bernard Léon Foucault back in 1852 while studying the earth's rotation, the gyroscope was then used to make objects that we use without knowing that there is this device inside them. For example the bicycle, the planes and yes. The smartphone.

Gyroscope: functioning

At the basis of this "magic" there is a physical principle which is that of conservation of angular momentum. The angular momentum of a system remains constant unless an external force acts on it, so a body tends to maintain a fixed orientation, with the axis pointing in the direction of rotation just as we see al gyroscope.

Let's imagine one spinning top to better understand what happens: when it is stationary it usually falls on one side under the effect of the force of gravity, however, if it is rotated on its own axis, it manages to remain balanced on the support surface, even if minimal, continuing to rotate undeterred.

In truth, there is friction that slows down our top until the Force of Gravity does not "knock it down" and makes it fall but, ideally, in a world without friction, it would continue to spin around its own axis indefinitely.

Gyroscope: effect

The gyroscopic effects they are under our eyes, they are activated during braking, in the bearings of a car, or in the hard disk of a computer, on airplanes, where we find dozens of these devices inserted in the compass, in the autopilot and in various other systems. Also military ships use the gyroscope to keep the cannons launch missiles aimed at a target and the Russian space station Mir she used several to keep herself directed towards the sun.

Staying in the space sector, we also find gyroscopes in the Hubble Space Telescope to stay pointed precisely at a target, putting our feet on the ground we can experience gyroscopic effectsi in the yo-yos, in the frisbee or in the Segway, that two-wheeled vehicle often used on tourist trips.

Electronic gyroscope

The electronic gyroscope is often used to detect slight variations in angular velocity of a given object, on board a plane it helps pilots stabilize it. What happens is that even the smallest variations are converted to electrical voltages, amplified and processed by a microcontroller. It is not from an airplane but from home, this gyroscope with blue light, playful but based on the same fascinating principle, we find it on Amazon for 13 euros, with colorful LEDs and full instructions included.

Gyroscope: sensor

Among the most interesting sensors that we find in our smartphone there is also the gyroscope together with the accelerometer and other sensors such as magnetic, proximity, light, GPS and fingerprint reader. The purpose of the gyros is to detect movements that occur in the three three-dimensional axes X, Y and Z of the smartphone same. It is essential for many functions that we are now going to discover. It is by no means "optional"!

Gyroscope: smartphone

A gyroscope in the smartphone is needed to understand the movements it performs more precisely and quickly, thus making the user experience better and giving the possibility to other apps and functions to be accessible and effective.

In addition to many videogames, which use this sensor very well, there are also some operating systems that take advantage of it by allowing us to, for example turn off the ringer turning the phone upside down inside a pocket. If we then go and explore the world of apps, useful and useless, we find many that cannot do without a gyroscope, a device that is now able to understand if we are in a car, by bike, on foot or on a skate.

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