Modern phones are quite complex devices containing many modules and sensors. An ordinary user is rarely interested in what his smartphone consists of. It is important for a person to get a high-quality device that allows you to run games, watch videos and visit websites. However, with a careful study of the information, you can find many seemingly unnecessary details installed in the phones. In this article, let's understand what a gyroscope is in a phone, and also consider what it is used for and how it is configured.
What is a gyroscope in a smartphone?
New phone models are equipped with many different options - an accelerometer, motion sensor, lighting, and others. Each of them performs a specific function and expands the capabilities of the device. Of greatest interest is the gyro sensor in a smartphone - what it is and how it works.
Gyroscope - this module is a device that responds to a change in the angle of the phone in space.
I. Benenberger, a German specialist in astronomy and mathematics, who created a gyroscope in 1817, is considered a pioneer in this matter, but the first mention of the invention appeared four years earlier (in 1813). Today, such products are used in various spheres of life - in household appliances, the aviation industry, astronautics and shipping. One area of application is telephones.
Few people know what a gyroscope is. This is a complex device, which is based on the accelerometer. In its usual form, it is a bulb with a spring attached to it and a small weight inside. A load is fixed on one side of the spring, and the other is mounted on a damper to reduce vibrations. With a sharp shaking of the product, the working mass acts on the spring. When combining three such devices at 90 degrees relative to each other, you can understand the principle of the location of the product in space.
Given the complexity of the design, the question arises of what a gyroscope sensor is in a smartphone, because so many different elements cannot be located in such a compact device. Experts have created a chip in which the principle of operation has been preserved, but all calculations are carried out by a microcircuit.
The essence of the work is as follows:
- microcontroller receives current voltage data,
- the information obtained is converted to angular velocity with high accuracy,
- instantaneous speed is multiplied by the time between two indicators that come from the sensor.
As a result, the system receives data on the position of the phone in space. To provide more accurate information, an accelerometer also works with the gyroscope, which measures linear acceleration, but does not respond to turns.
What is a gyroscope?
The gyroscope in a modern phone is a sensor that allows you to automatically change the screen orientation depending on the position of the smartphone.
For the first time, a gyroscope was installed in the iPhone 4, so that the device gained new useful functionality. With the sensor, users have the opportunity, for example, to turn pages and switch tracks in the player by shaking the smartphone.
To enable the sensor on devices running Android 4.0 KitKat and above, just roll out the notification curtain and activate the auto-rotate screen option.
What is a gyroscope for in a phone?
As mentioned above, the main purpose of the gyroscope in the phone is to determine the position of the device in space. But why should the system know how degrees the smartphone is tilted? You can find the answer to this question later by reading the following list:
- Watch a video in 360 degrees. If you have virtual reality glasses, then you can view videos and play games without tapping the screen. All turns become possible thanks to the gyroscope.
- Shaking the phone. Without the sensor in question, it would be impossible to use a function that allows you to unlock the smartphone after shaking.
- Using navigation. Without a gyroscope, it is almost impossible to use GPS and a compass. This sensor allows you to determine the horizon and the location of a person relative to the satellite.
- Character control in games. There are a huge number of mobile games where you need to turn the phone to control a car or a hero. Without a gyroscope, the system could not have understood the position of the device.
Of course, this list does not describe all situations where a gyroscope is used, but they will be enough for an initial familiarization.
Why is it needed?
Above, we considered that the sensor has a complex device and accurately determines the position of the mobile device in space. The next question arises - how can I use this function, and why do I need a gyroscope in the phone, because installing it and setting it up costs a lot of money for the developer.
- answering calls by shaking the phone
- quick photo browsing or changing music,
- simplification of work with the calculator (CoveFlow program),
- the ability to introduce more complex and functional software into the phone,
- Bluetooth device update,
- launch of special software for measuring the level and angle of inclination (useful for construction work),
- control of the speed of movement and determining the location of a person on the ground,
- management of games on a smartphone (driving a car, weapon direction, helicopter flights, etc.),
- use of the phone in helmets of virtual reality.
Developers know how the gyroscope works in a smartphone, so they squeeze the maximum benefit from the option. You can list useful features for a long time, but not all phone owners understand the benefits of the sensor.
In addition to the advantages of the sensor, a number of disadvantages stand out. In particular, the module is sensitive to the movement of the phone, which may cause inconvenience when using certain programs. So, when reading a book or watching a video, a person can move the smartphone, which immediately leads to a change in the position of the screen. You have to move the device in the right direction to return to the usual position. In addition, many manufacturers hide the presence of a gyroscope in the phone. How to determine its presence, consider below.
Gyroscope or accelerometer
A lot of users of modern devices confuse the accelerometer with a gyroscope, while these are completely different sensors that do not duplicate each other:
- The accelerometer determines apparent acceleration - the difference between true and gravitational acceleration. It is with the help of the accelerometer that the number of steps taken by the owner of the device is calculated, whether a person is moving or is in place.
- The gyroscope determines the angle of inclination (relative to the earth's surface). The scope of its use is much wider than that of the accelerometer, and the information obtained using the sensor is much more complete.
A brief excursion into history
Gyroscope is an invention of the French scientist Leon Foucault. The prototype, according to the principle of operation of which modern devices operate, was used by a physicist in order to track the features of the daily rotation of the planet.
Innovative gyroscopes are used not only to track the specifics of vibrations of various bodies. Today, the main purpose of the device is to determine the angles of deviation of objects in relation to the planes. What is a gyroscope for in a smartphone for? The combination of such a module with an accelerometer makes it possible to track the movements of the phone in three-dimensional space.
For the first time, Apple introduced the mobile communications device with such a module on board. This happened during the presentation of the iPhone 4 smartphone model. Subsequently, a variety of phone developers began to imitate the innovative solution.
What is the difference between a gyroscope and an accelerometer
Gyroscope and accelerometer - sensors designed to determine the position of the smartphone in space. The most important and only difference between them lies in the principle of reading data. The first component calculates the angle of the phone relative to the surface of the earth, and then transfers the received information to the operating system. But the accelerometer calculates the acceleration, and very accurately.
That is why it is better to use a phone with an accelerometer as a pedometer. The data obtained will be as accurate as possible, since the sensor takes into account deviations even by tenths of a millimeter. Modern manufacturers are trying to install both a gyroscope and an accelerometer in their smartphones. Such a solution is correct, which eliminates accidental rotation of the device screen when moving it.
What is a gyroscope and what is it for, principle of operation
To begin with, a gyroscope is a mechanical or electromechanical device that can determine its own angle of inclination relative to the earth's surface. If we compare it with other similar devices, it was invented relatively late, namely in 1817. The main structural element of the gyroscope is a rotor spinning top rotating around the vertical axis, and its axis can change the position in space, and the speed of rotation of the top is much higher than the speed of rotation of its rotation axis. Thanks to this, the top always maintains its position regardless of the forces acting on it from the outside, which is the whole principle of the gyroscope.
Initially, this simple device was used as a training tool. They found practical application only after 60 years, when the engineer Aubrey thought of installing it in torpedoes to stabilize their course. Today this useful invention, being repeatedly improved, is widely used in a variety of mechanisms. To accurately determine the position in space, gyroscopes are used in ships, aircraft, spacecraft, rockets, simulators, radio-controlled devices like quadrocopters and, of course, in smartphones.
The difference from the accelerometer
Many people mistakenly believe that a gyroscope and an accelerometer are the same sensor. These are different devices, as evidenced by the principle of operation of each of them:
- the gyroscope calculates the angle of inclination relative to the earth, the speed of movement and takes into account the cardinal points,
- The accelerometer takes into account its acceleration relative to the surface.
In simple words, the gyroscope is an improved version of the accelerometer that controls the movement of the phone in 3 planes. In practice, these devices can work one at a time or complement each other's functionality. That is why in many modern models both functions are provided at the same time.
Gyro features in smartphones
The gyroscope brought the gameplay to a new level. By rotating the device in space, the user can drive a car, play a game match, search for characters and much more.
If we talk about standard applications, the most revealing advantages of a gyroscope look, for example, in a calculator application. In portrait orientation, the user can use standard actions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. By turning the phone 90 degrees, you can get a wide selection of trigonometric functions for all occasions.
Of course, with the automatic operation of the sensor, it is much more convenient to watch YouTube videos and thumb through photos. You can also use the sensor to make a building level from the phone - for this you need to download a special application.
In fact, the gyro has no flaws. Of course, sometimes there is discomfort when viewing pictures or reading, when undesired changes in screen orientation are possible when changing the pose of a person and device. The solution is simple - disable auto-rotation in the settings.
Areas of use
For the first time, Apple engineers installed a gyroscope in a smartphone (iPhone). A gyroscope in a mobile device is a sensor and a chip that converts sensor readings on the position of the device in space into electrical signals. The signals are processed by the appropriate program and, based on the conclusions made, certain actions and operations are performed.
Gyroscope in a smartphone - what is it?
The gyroscope in a cell phone has nothing to do with a traditional mechanical device. Here, the module is a microscopic electronic board that is able to calculate angular velocities, transmitting the corresponding information in the form of electrical signals. As a rule, the dimensions of such a chip are only a few millimeters. If you answer in general terms to the question: “What is a gyroscope in a smartphone?”, It may seem to an ignorant person that this chip does not bring any particular benefit to the owner - the use of the device is aimed only at determining the deviation of the mobile gadget from its own axis. But is it?
How is a gyroscope in a smartphone, the difference between a gyroscope and an accelerometer
Naturally, the gyroscope in a smartphone differs significantly in terms of design from classical gyroscopes, although it serves the same purpose. The mechanical energy in it is converted into electrical energy, forming a sequence of bits - a binary code that underlies all computer software systems. Of course, there are no spinning tops in gyroscopes of electronic devices, they are too small for this. Instead, they use moving masses of matter, the displacement of which causes a change in the electric capacitance of the capacitors, recorded by the microprocessor.
Instead of capacitors, piezocrystals generating currents can be used, which are especially often found in other types of sensors determining the position in space — accelerometers. Structurally, accelerometers are very similar to gyroscopes, they also have a movable element - a special weight, the displacement of which, when the device is tilted, affects the piezocrystal. Thus, the speed and pressure are converted into an electrical signal, processed accordingly by the microprocessor. So, you hopefully got some idea of what a gyroscope is in a smartphone.
And here are a couple of points. Both gyroscopes and accelerometers are inertial MEMS sensors, differing, however, in the principle of obtaining data. If the gyroscope only determines the angle of inclination relative to the earth's surface, then the accelerometer can measure linear acceleration, that is, horizontal movement relative to the earth. In practice, in smartphones and other devices, both sensors are often installed, which perfectly complement each other. Now let's see how to find out if there is a gyroscope in the phone.
Where is the gyroscope used?
This sensor is an improved version of the accelerometer. With its help, the operating system not only in time learns about the movement and rotation of the device, but can also accurately track all of these actions. If the accelerometer is a kind of building level, then the gyroscope increases the accuracy of this sensor by several times.
If in the future you want to purchase a VR helmet for Android, then your device must have a gyroscope. This sensor will track the turns of your head, directing a virtual look exactly in the direction that your real eyes are directed. Also, the gyroscope on Android helps in viewing the starry sky. If you use the appropriate application, it will understand in which direction the camera is directed, showing the names of the currently visible constellations.
And this sensor is also used in augmented reality games.The most striking example of this is Pokemon Go. If there is no gyroscope in the smartphone, then pocket monsters will jump on the virtual grass. If the sensor is present, then the animals will move around the real world, the visible area of which falls into the eyes of the built-in camera.
How to check if there is a gyroscope in the phone
Many phone owners do not represent the capabilities of their device. There are several methods to find out if there is a gyroscope in a smartphone. Let us single out the main ways:
- Go to the official resource of the manufacturer and read the technical characteristics of the gadget. Find the list of sensors and see if there is a gyroscope or not.
- If You Tube is installed on your phone, enter it and play any video. To check if there is a gyroscope on the phone, watch the image in parallel. If it follows the movements of the case, this indicates the presence of a special sensor.
- Install the AnTuTu Benchmark program and run it. Go to the information section and read the technical specifications of the device. Here you can find out about the availability of the function. If it is absent, the system will write that the module is not supported.
- Install special Sensor Sense software. Another method for checking the gyroscope in a smartphone is to install the mentioned utility and see if there are sensors in the device. In the absence of a gyroscope, it will not be on the list. This can be said in that situation, if the report does not change when the device rotates.
- Use the AIDA 64 program. This is another useful software that reflects detailed phone configuration information. If you go to the "Sensors" section, you can see if there is a function on the "board" of the device or not.
- Or open any game, if the screen turns after your hand, then there is definitely a gyroscope.
The indicated methods are enough to determine the presence of a gyroscope in the phone. After that, you can decide whether to use the function or not.
Change screen orientation
This is how the gyroscope, first used in the "apple" smartphone. Now, on all modern smartphones, the screen flips automatically, and the image is stretched to full screen if the owner with a smartphone in his hands changes the position in space.
You no longer need to check the menu items and force images to be turned over.
The difference between a gyroscope and an accelerometer
Gyroscope in a smartphone - what is it? Such a module is capable of transmitting data to various applications about the angle of inclination of the mobile gadget in relation to the earth's surface. A similar function is also assigned to the accelerometer. However, these devices have a different principle of operation. After all, the operation of the accelerometer is based on the calculation of its own acceleration in space. In practice, the noted capabilities of both systems are interchangeable. For this reason, modern smartphones are equipped with both a gyroscope and an accelerometer.
How to check the presence of a gyroscope in the phone
We already know why a gyroscope is needed in a smartphone, but how to check its presence on a particular mobile device. The gyroscope is used by all applications that record the tilt of the device - navigation and construction programs, 3D games, 3D viewing tools, turning the screen with firmware and so on. But support for these functions does not mean that the specified sensor is in the phone, because we already noted above that the accelerometer can partially replace it.
If you want to know if the gyroscope is integrated into the gadget or not, go to the official website of the device manufacturer, find your model there and study its technical characteristics. There is a faster way to get the information you need. Install the free benchmark application on your smartphone AnTuTu Benchmark, in the "My device" section, it displays a list of all sensors, among which there will be data on the gyroscope. If opposite the item “Gyroscope” instead of its name it is indicated “Not supported”, then the sensor is absent on the device.
Alternatively, you can use another application - Sensor Sensor. Unlike AnTuTu Benchmark, in addition to the list of sensors, it still displays all their readings. We put the program and see if there is a gyroscope in the list. If not, then it is not on the device.
It is also worth paying attention to another great software tool - AIDA64, which provides a complete set of device configuration information. What sensors are on board can be viewed on the "Sensors" tab. If the gyroscope appears in the list, you can be sure that it is installed in the phone.
How to find out if there is a gyroscope in a smartphone or tablet
There are several ways to find out if a gyroscope is present in your device. The most commonplace is to go to the manufacturer’s official website to get acquainted with the technical characteristics of the gadget. Specifically, the gyroscope must be searched in the list of sensors. But we are not looking for easy ways? Therefore, he will move on to other methods.
If a YouTube client is installed on your smartphone or tablet, open it and enter the query “in the search box”360 videos". Start showing any of the returned results. If you can turn the look of a virtual camera using the turns of a smartphone, then the gyroscope is present and functions successfully. If you can turn your eyes only with your finger, then there is no sensor in the device.
Another way is to use the application AnTuTu Benchmark. You need to download, install and run it. In the tab "Infa»You will find all the technical specifications of your device. Including you will see the name of the built-in gyroscope. Or discover that he is "Not supported"(That is, it simply is not).
Instead of AnTuTu, you can install a more specialized utility. This is about Sensor sense. It displays readings from all sensors built into the smartphone. If the gyro is not in the list, then it is not built into the gadget. This can also be said if the data from this sensor does not change when the device is rotated in the hands.
How to turn on and configure the gyro on the phone?
An equally important question is how to turn on the gyro on an Android phone and use the new features. Immediately, we note that the sensor works constantly and does not require activation. When it comes to screen rotation when viewing an image or video, the accelerometer is responsible for this function. It can be deactivated. For this:
- Enter the phone settings.
- Click on the Screen link.
- Find the item Auto-rotate screen,
- Unplug it.
- Or just open the curtain and turn it on.
On some older devices (for example, tablet PCs), a separate toggle switch is provided. When it is moved to a certain position, screen movement is blocked regardless of the settings that are set. So disable the gyro on Android will not work. This sensor is provided on the phone, or the manufacturer refused to install it.
A similar approach works in the issue of setting parameters. The user can not configure the gyro on Android. The necessary calibration work is carried out by the manufacturer. Setting is only possible for the accelerometer mentioned above. At the same time, smartphone manufacturers do not provide special programs to do the work. Alternatively, use special software, for example, Accelerometer Calibration Free. To do the job, the apparatus is placed on a flat surface. The user's task is to achieve the placement of the red ball in the central part of the "sight". As soon as this happens, the Calibrate button is pressed.
The accelerometer calibrated by the above method, and the gyro setting on Android is not needed. If this sensor is installed, it always works correctly.
The gyroscope allows, simply shaking the smartphone, to use a number of functions:
- Answer an Incoming Call
- Turning pages in an e-book
- Changing the music in the player
- Using a calculator with minimal finger involvement
Turn on / off and calibrate the gyro on Android
As a rule, the gyroscope in phones is an independent sensor, unrelated to software settings. The gyroscope is either there, and it is always on, or it is not there, but then there can be no talk of turning on / off the sensor. True, users often ask how to turn on the gyro on Android, but this question comes from a misunderstanding of the principle of its interaction with the software part of the device. You can enable and disable the functions of the accelerometer, for example, auto-rotate the screen, but again, this is not directly related to the gyroscope.
The same goes for calibrating a gyroscope; only an accelerometer can be adjusted programmatically. It is hardly possible to do this using the built-in tools of the OS itself; for these purposes, you need to use special utilities like Accelerometer Calibration Free. Everything is very simple here - the mobile device is laid on a flat surface, and when the red ball showing the balance is exactly in the center of the "sight", the "Calibrate" button is pressed.
In general, if you find information on the network on the topic of how to calibrate a gyroscope on Android, be aware that this is about setting up the accelerometer.
How to turn on the gyro on Android?
This element of the smartphone works on an ongoing basis. It cannot be turned on or off. If at this moment you are thinking about the screen rotation function, then the accelerometer is responsible for it. And this function can really be turned off. To do this, follow these steps:
Step 1. Go to the system settings section.
Step 2. Go to the "Screen».
Step 3. Here you can easily find the item responsible for the actions of the device when it is rotated. Change its value to the desired one.
On smartphones with the current version Android You can control the screen auto-rotation option through the notification panel. Depending on the model of the device, this parameter may be called differently.
On the case of some old gadgets (mainly on tablet computers) you can find a separate switch. It blocks the rotation of the screen, regardless of the settings.
What to do if there is no gyro on the phone
After checking the functionality of the device, many ask what to do if there is no gyro on the phone. In this case, nothing can be done, because such a sensor is either installed by the manufacturer or not. If a person plans to play virtual reality, you will have to buy a model where this option is provided.
The question immediately arises in which phones there is a gyroscope. To purchase the device, go to any site that sells smartphones, and set the filter to have this sensor. The number of options is enough to choose a suitable model. Manufacturers are well aware of what the gyroscope is responsible for, so they are trying to add a module to the technical part of new products. In particular, such sensors are almost in phones of Apple, Asus, Samsung, Blackview and others. It makes no sense to list all models, because the number of devices with this option is in the hundreds.
For example, Apple has the iPhone 6s, 7, Xs and others. Honor has 8X, 20, 20 Pro, 10, etc. Samsung has S10, M20, Note 10 and others.
That's it. Now you know why a gyroscope is in a smartphone, what kind of device it is, and what benefit it brings to the smartphone owner. Remember that you cannot turn on and configure this sensor. It always works if the manufacturer has provided it on its device. Therefore, when choosing, be careful and check the characteristics of the device.
The maps used in navigation are rotated, thanks to the gyroscope, together with the person. In practice, this is very convenient and looks like this: for example, the user turns towards the river on the map - the map immediately turns next.
The gyroscope allows you to use a compass and a building level. There are special applications for this, preinstalled, or downloaded independently.
The gyroscope literally brought mobile games to a new level:
In races, “shooting games”, simulations and other “moving” games, the player simply turns the smartphone in the right direction, often intuitively, without even noticing it.
There is no need to press buttons or make gestures on the screen.
But the presence of a gyroscope in a smartphone can turn into a minus, so much so that some users try to immediately turn off the functional module. We are talking about the reaction of some applications to changes in the position of a cell phone in space with a significant delay.
The comparative disadvantage of having a gyroscope in a smartphone is the inconvenience that can occur when reading an e-book. If the user arbitrarily changes the position, the sensor will immediately transform the page orientation in the corresponding plane. Such moments usually cause irritation.
Where more often used
So, we figured out a little what the gyroscope is in the phone. Now we will try to give examples of its most frequent use.
According to statistics, in practice, a device equipped with a gyroscope is a must for fans to play mobile games. The gyroscope changes the principle of the game for the better. In addition to the fact that the picture is better, and the game process is interactive and exciting. If before, to change the character’s position, you had to move your fingers across the screen and click on certain zones, now you just need to rotate the gadget in space, the sensor will capture the position and interpret it in the game. Depending on the angle of rotation of the smartphone, the angle of rotation of the character is also changed. The result is almost virtual reality. In shooters, the gyroscope is very convenient for sighting. Also, the sensor is actively used in various simulators.
Another category of users that did not bypass the sensor is representatives of sophisticated professions that require accurate calculation and measurement. For example, a car mechanic can determine the location of a part by simply attaching a telephone to it. In the construction industry, load-bearing structures are monitored in the same way for evenness. At the same time, information about the degree of inclination is displayed directly on the smartphone screen and is characterized by amazing accuracy.
In conclusion, I want to note that the gyroscope is a very convenient and practical invention. Thanks to him, mobile devices have much more features available that make their use easier and easier. A phone equipped with a sensor can act as a measuring device, navigator, compass, etc. It also allows you to perform partial control of the system without touching the screen, especially last during winter, when you don’t really want to remove mittens to answer a call or change current tune. In addition, manufacturers are constantly reducing the energy consumption of the sensor, which allows you to use it without a noticeable battery consumption.
So we answered the question: gyroscope in the phone, what is it and how is it used. Is your smartphone equipped with such a sensor? How useful was he in life? Use or disable.
Can I customize the gyroscope?
As already mentioned above, the gyroscope is a completely independent sensor, the operation of which cannot be interfered with. If the accelerometer can be calibrated, then no such actions can be performed with the gyroscope. If it is completely absent, then you will have to buy a new phone for augmented or virtual reality.
How to determine if there is a gyroscope in a smartphone
There are several ways to find out about the presence of a functional module in the system of a mobile device. The simplest and most affordable option is to familiarize yourself with the description of the smartphone model on the manufacturer’s official website or to view the technical documentation attached to the gadget.
There are other solutions. For example, you can resort to installing special applications on your phone. One of those is AnTuTu Benchmark. After installing and running the application, just go to the "Information" tab. After a few moments, all the specifications of the smartphone will be displayed on the screen.
As an alternative to the above option, you can use the Sensor Sense utility. The application captures data that comes from all sensors built into the mobile device. If the gyroscope does not appear in the list of “direction-finding” modules, this will indicate its absence.
How to find out if there is a gyroscope in a smartphone
For unknown reasons, manufacturers are silent about the presence / absence of a gyroscope in a smartphone.
In order to clarify this issue, you can go in three ways:
- Look at the manufacturer’s website and carefully read the detailed characteristics of the device
- Go to the YouTube video hosting service and launch one of the videos marked “360˚”. If there is a gyroscope, it will be possible to "look around" by turning the smartphone, in its absence - a gesture on the screen.
- Download one of many special applications to determine all the characteristics, functions and parameters of the device.
Developers could not pass by such a "chip" as a gyroscope and not write applications specifically "for it":
- iBeer is a completely useless, but very funny program that allows you to drink beer "from your smartphone."
- Sky View is a beautiful and informative application that works on the basis of augmented reality and combines the stars of the real sky in the constellations on the display.
He graduated with a degree in fundamental informatics and information technology at Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov. After that, he became an expert in a well-known online publication. After a while, I decided to try to write articles myself. He has a popular blog on YouTube and shares interesting information from the world of technology.