How do smart phones know which way is up?

I find science amazing. But sometimes it is easy to forget the incredible things that engineers are able to do using basic science discoveries. Here engineer Bill Hammack explains how accelerometers work and how the miniature ones inside these devices are made.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    Interesting. I don’t own an iPhone, but I hope they included a manual override setting somewhere in the software, in case you want to use it while on a roller coaster, or a space station.

  2. Mano Singham says

    I don’t have an iPhone either but I do have a iPad which does the same thing and it has a locking feature that prevents the orientation from shifting.

  3. stonyground says

    I used to work with pea viners in the late seventies. In order to work properly the pea shelling mechanism had to be horizontal. Each of the four wheels was supported by a huge hydraulic ram. These were controlled by a pendulum that hung in a container filled with thick oil. The pendulum was surrounded by four electronic switches attached to hydraulic spool valves which corrected any deviation from the horizontal. Thus the machine could work on the side of a hill and still be level. This made me think of pea viners for some reason.


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