Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Whether it’s an application that requires a gyroscope sensor, or a gadget that uses one, you’ve probably encountered a gyroscope sensor.
Gyroscopes are used to detect and measure rotation, which is a property of objects that can be used to determine the object’s orientation. In other words, a gyroscope can tell you whether or not you’re spinning.
Gyroscope sensors are a popular option for many types of applications since they are relatively inexpensive and can be used in a variety of applications.
Whether your application needs a gyroscope sensor, you’ll likely need to get familiar with the basics.
This article will find everything you need to know about gyroscope sensors, including how they work and the different types of gyroscope sensors available.
What is a gyroscope sensor?
A gyroscope sensor is a device designed to detect and measure rotation. Precisely, a gyroscope sensor measures the rate of rotation around one or more axes.
Gyroscope sensors are also known as angular rate sensors since they measure angular rates, which are the rates of change in angle or orientation. This is measured in terms of degrees per second since it is the change of the rotational angle per time.
Gyroscopes determine whether an object is moving in a straight line or spinning at a particular rate.
In addition to determining rotation, gyroscopes can also detect linear acceleration (how fast an object is moving) and gravity.
Sometimes they are also known as velocity sensors. They can sense the exact direction or velocity of an object.
Gyroscope sensor working principle
How does a typical gyroscope sensor work? This is a common question, and the answer depends on the type of gyroscope sensor being used.
Gyroscopes measure rotation by using the principle of conservation of angular momentum.
Angular momentum is a vector quantity made up of two motions: rotation around an axis and spin around a line perpendicular to that axis.
Angular momentum in 3D space is represented by an arrow drawn from the center of rotation to the point about which it rotates.
In general, an object can have angular momentum if it has both spin (angular velocity) and angular velocity (rotation) about some axis.
In order for the conservation of angular momentum to be valid, all external torques must be zero, i.e., no net force or torque should act upon the object.
The magnitude of angular momentum L is related to its linear counterpart, linear momentum, by L = mv (where m represents mass and v represents velocity). This implies that if you know an object’s linear momentum and mass, you can calculate its angular momentum.
Now let’s look at the physical aspects of things. Three different angular rate measurements guide the use of gyroscope sensors. These are :
Yaw-This is the rotation of an object about its horizontal axis.
The yaw rate is the rate of change in yaw angle with time. The yaw rate is typically measured in degrees per second (°/s).
Pitch-This is the rotation of an object about its longitudinal axis. Pitch angle is the angle between the transverse plane and the vertical axis of a body. Pitch angle may be expressed in terms of pitch, as shown below, or as an angle relative to horizontal.
Pitch rate is the rate of change in pitch angle with time. Pitch rate is typically measured in degrees per second (°/s).
Roll-This is a rotation about a lateral axis that passes through the center of gravity and perpendicular to both the longitudinal axis and transverse plane (the imaginary plane extending vertically from a vehicle’s centerline). Roll angles are typically measured using three orthogonal axes: Aileron roll, rudder roll, and elevator roll.
Also, the Coriolis force concept is used to determine the working principle of the gyroscope sensor. Under this, the sensor can measure the rotation and angular rates, all converted to electrical signals that can be easily interpreted.
Vibration gyroscopic sensor
To better understand the gyroscopic sensor, it will be easier if we briefly look at the operations of a Vibration Gyroscope sensor.
As the name suggests, this sensor comprises a crystalline vibrating element that is double T-shaped.
This element is suspended over a gimbal from the frame of the sensor by a thin wire.
There are two vibrating elements, one for sensing rotation about the X-axis and the other for sensing rotation about the Y-axis.
These elements vibrate at their resonant frequency when no external force is applied.
The resonant frequency of the X-axis element is higher than that of the Y-axis element due to its larger mass. So, when a force is applied, it will affect only one of them. According to which one gets affected, we can know what kind of external force has been applied and accordingly, we can sense it as well.
The output signal of this sensor depends on whether it has been subjected to angular acceleration or angular velocity. In case if it has been subjected to angular acceleration, then there will be no output signal. At the same time, if it has been subjected to angular velocity, then there will be an output signal that is proportional to the angular velocity.
What are the components and elements of a gyroscope sensor?
Different elements are combined to ensure that the gyroscope sensor works perfectly, as we have described. The key components include;
-A pair of angular velocity sensors
-A mounting mechanism
-Electrical connections and cables
In this gyroscope sensor, the frame acts as a support to the other components. It also provides a rigid structure to the sensor.
The angular velocity sensors are mounted on the frame, and they are made of a pair of vibrating elements. These elements are made of quartz or silicon, and they have a high resonant frequency. These elements vibrate at their resonant frequency when no external force is applied.
The housing is used to protect the other components from environmental hazards like dust or moisture, etc. The mounting mechanism is used to mount this gyroscope sensor on any structure like rotating shafts, ships, aircraft etc.
After mounting it, electrical connections and cables are used for making electrical connections between different components in this sensor.
Types of gyroscope sensors
Gyroscope sensors are grouped into different classes based on different parameters.
Based on their mode of operation
Gyroscope sensors are classified into two types based on their mode of operation: analogue and digital gyroscope. Analogue gyroscope sensors convert the angular velocity into a corresponding analogue output, while the digital gyroscope sensors convert the angular velocity into a corresponding digital output.
Based on their measurement range
Gyroscope sensors are classified into two types based on the measurement range, i.e., low range and high range gyroscopes. The low range gyroscopes have a measurement range from ±0.25 deg/s to ±1,000 deg/s while the high range gyroscopes have a measurement range from ±0.02 deg/s to±26,000 deg/s.
Based on technology
Gyroscope sensors are classified into different technologies based on their operating principle. We have a MEMS gyroscope sensor, fiber optic gyroscope sensor and fiber optic gyroscopes.
There is another classification of a gyroscope sensor based on its usage in a system. This classification is done by considering the roles of the different components of the system like signal conditioning circuits, microprocessors etc.
Based on this classification, we have single-axis and multi-axis sensors. Single-axis gyroscopes measure only one angle, while multi-axis measure three angles (pitch, roll and yaw).
Based on size
Gyroscopes are also classified into different sizes based on the size of the sensor. Here we have micro gyroscopes, mini gyroscopes, large area gyroscopes and very large area gyroscopes.
Based on orientation
Gyroscopes are also classified according to the orientation of the sensor. Here we have gyroscopes in free air and gyroscopes in a vacuum.
Based on materials
Gyroscopes are also classified based on the materials used. Here we have ceramic, glass and plastic gyroscopes.
Based on applications
Gyroscopes are also classified based on the application where they are used. We have gyroscopes for aircraft, military, industrial, naval, and space applications here.
Based on integration
Gyroscopes are also classified according to how they integrate with other system components (i.e. sensors). Here we have gyroscopes integrated into the flight control system and gyroscopes integrated into inertial platforms (such as IMU).
Other than the above classifications, there are different variations of gyroscope sensors in the market. Let’s look at some of them:
MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)
MEMS gyroscopes have the smallest dimensions and are considered the most accurate. They are used in high-precision applications, such as navigation systems.
Optical gyroscopes use light to detect angular velocity. Therefore they are considered to be the least expensive. They are used in applications where accuracy is not critical and where cost is essential.
Magnetic sensors have a sensing element that can be either permanent or electromechanical. These sensors can be integrated with other magnetic components and can be used for various applications such as navigation systems and industrial machinery control.
Magneto gyroscope with magnetoresistive sensors
Magneto gyroscope has a small, lightweight permanent magnetic sensor used to detect rotation, which allows it to be used in applications with very little gravity. They can be used in aircraft as inertial reference systems, inertial navigation systems, attitude reference systems, etc.
DTG (Dynamic tuned gyroscope)
A dynamically tuned gyroscope features a strategically suspended rotor by flexible pivots. The gyroscope is dynamically tuned to provide the required performance by adjusting the suspension points.
Spherical resonator gyroscope (SRG)
The spherical resonator gyroscope, or SRG, is a gyroscope that uses a resonant structure to measure angular rate, allowing it to be used in applications where there is very little gravity. They can be used in aircraft as inertial reference systems.
Ring laser gyroscope (RLG)
A ring laser gyroscope, or RLG, consists of a ring of semiconducting material (typically silicon) surrounded by a light-emitting diode. The ring is mounted on an inertial mount and has a small mirror attached to the outer edge.
When angular rate changes, the mirror moves and shines light through the semiconducting ring and onto a photodetector. Because the light is reflected from different locations on the ring depending on where it strikes, the photodetector detects multiple light signals that combine to measure angular rate accurately.
The output signal can perform precise rotation measurements in applications such as navigation systems and industrial machinery control.
Optical gyroscope with photo reflective sensor
An optical gyroscope uses a resonant optical cavity to detect rotation, allowing it to be used in applications with very little gravity. They can be used in aircraft as inertial reference systems and in space applications.
A gyrostat is a device consisting of two or more linear accelerometers mounted on a common axis. The accelerometers are used to detect rotation, and a microprocessor processes the output from the accelerometers to determine the rotational rate. They are mostly used in the automotive crash testing.
Applications of Gyroscope sensor
Gyroscope sensors have a wide range of applications in different industries. Let’s look at these industries and how the sensor is used.
Gyroscope sensors in aircraft and aviation
The gyroscope is used to measure the aircraft’s roll, pitch and yaw angles. The aircraft can be controlled by measuring these angles and comparing them to the desired angles.
Gyroscope sensors are also used in aviation to measure aircraft direction and speed during take-off and landing. They are also used for checking flight control systems, which are important for aviation safety.
Drones and other small UAVs also use gyroscopes as sensors to help stabilize their flight paths.
Gyroscope sensors in satellite navigation system
A gyroscope is used in satellite navigation systems to determine an object’s orientation by measuring its movement over time. A microprocessor processes the output from the gyroscope to determine the object’s orientation.
Gyroscope sensors in industrial machinery control
A gyroscope sensor is used in industrial machinery control systems to determine an object’s rotation rate by measuring its angular velocity over time. A microprocessor processes the output from the gyroscope to determine the object’s rotation rate.
Gyroscope sensors in the automobile industry
This is another field that has experienced a huge increase in the use of gyroscope sensors. Cars are required to have very accurate readings on their movement in order to avoid accidents. The gyroscope is used to measure the direction and speed of the car’s movement.
This is important, especially in race cars such as Formula1, where the data about the vehicle’s velocity is relayed in real-time.
Gyroscope sensors in the medical industry
Gyroscopes are used in medical devices like heart rate monitors and pulse oximetry devices. These devices are used for measuring heart rates and blood oxygen levels, which are considered vital signs by doctors.
In ships and motorboats
Gyroscope sensors are an important device in water navigation. This is because it is used to determine the ship’s heading and velocity. Fat-moving motorboats also tend to heavily rely on these sensors for all the vital data related to navigation.
In the robotics industry
Gyroscopes are a very important part of a robotic device. It is used as a sensor to measure rotation rate, orientation, and angular velocity to control robot movement. For example, it can be used as a sensor to help stabilize a robotic arm or other body parts such as legs or feet when they move too fast or too slow for the robot’s perception of motion.
This is among the most common application areas of gyroscope sensors. Consumer electronic goods include devices such as cameras, music players, and smartphones. Most of these devices use gyroscopes to help them sense movement or orientation.
Gyroscopes are also used in computer science to precisely measure angular velocity using the conservation of angular momentum principle (in this case, the moment of inertia) that is a constant property of rotational motion.
Mobile phones also have a gyroscope chip to help calculate acceleration and rotation rates. The gyroscope can be used in the same way as a compass to help determine direction. The gyro may also include an accelerometer for measuring gravity. The angle of inclination is also measured, which can be used to determine the phone’s orientation in space.
There are many other applications and projects that require gyroscope sensors.
Do you have a personal project that you think will require the use of a gyroscope? Just buy the right sensor and see how it will be integrated into the project.
There are many different types of gyroscopes depending on their application and purpose (such as consumer-level consumer products vs industrial level).
How do I choose a gyroscope sensor?
Here comes the biggest task; choosing a gyroscope sensor. How do I buy the right gyroscope sensor for my project?
There are different key factors to consider when choosing a gyroscope sensor.
-The application that the sensor will be used for.
-The type of sensor: As we have seen, there are many different types of gyroscopes depending on their application and purpose.
-The price of the sensor: The price of the sensor will affect how much you will spend on your project.
-The range: The range of the gyroscope is important because it will determine how far your sensor can be from the phone. If your phone is near a wall, you will have to buy a long-range gyroscope to be able to detect it.
Size- The form factor is important because if your project requires a small form factor, you may want to buy a small-sized gyroscope that can fit in the space available. If you need a larger form factor than what is available today, you may want to consider buying an industrial level type of gyroscope that includes many sensors and can be used with most smartphones.
-The accuracy: Find out the accuracy of the gyroscope that you will buy. If you are using it in a project where you will be moving around, you may want to consider purchasing a larger, more expensive version of the gyroscope.
-The wireless range: The wireless range is important because if your phone is far away from the gyroscope, you may need to buy an additional transmitter and receiver so that your phone can receive information from the gyroscope.
-The frequency: The frequency of the sensor is important because it will determine how quickly your sensor will send information to your phone. If you need real-time data, then you may want to buy a higher frequency sensor.
-The interface: For some types of sensors, there are different interfaces available such as I2C or SPI. You will want to make sure that the sensor you buy supports these interfaces so that if your project requires it, then it can be used with whatever interface is being used in your project.
-The manufacturer and brand of the gyroscope sensor. Where you buy matters. There are many different gyroscope sensors on the market, with many different features and specifications. You need to make sure you buy a gyroscope sensor from a reliable supplier or manufacturer.
-The price: The price of the gyroscope sensor is an essential factor because it will determine how much you will be able to spend on your project. If you want to buy a high-quality sensor, it may cost more money, but in the long run, you may save money because it will last longer and work better for your project.
In this definitive guide, you have learned about the gyroscope sensor and its use for different projects. If you want to buy a gyroscope sensor in China, ICRFQ can be your perfect plug. We are a reliable gyroscope sourcing agent in China.
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