An accelerometer is a device that measures changes in gravitational acceleration in a device it may be installed in. Accelerometers are used to measure acceleration, tilt and vibration in numerous devices.
At rest, an accelerometer measures 1g: the earth’s gravitational pull, which registers 9.81 meters per second or 32.185 feet per second. Accelerometers that use the piezoelectric effect measure a small voltage change. Others measure capactitance between two components.
To sense motion in multiple directions, an accelerometer must be designed with multi-axis sensors or multiple linear axis sensors. Three linear accelerometers are adequate to measure movement in three dimensions.
Applications for accelerometers include:
- Monitoring devices in biology, engineering cars, industry, volcanology and more.
- Guidance devices in for telemetry in rocketry.
- Image orientation in smartphones.
- Input in smartphones, tablets and game controllers.