So How Does Your Smartphone's Accelerometer Know Up From Down?

You probably take for granted the fact that turning your phone on its side automatically puts the display into landscape mode. But do you really know how the tiny accelerometer inside your device can detect those changes in orientation? After watching this video you will.


The Engineer Guy, aka Bill Hammack, aka everybody's know-it-all uncle, explains how extremely tiny silicon springs are created—barely 1/50th of an inch in size—that move in accordance with gravity when you turn your device. And as they move, those microscopic springs create a small charge which can be measured and used to determine how your device is oriented. So it turns out that tiny fairies trapped inside your handset actually have nothing to do with it. Fascinating. [YouTube]



I cringe whenever an engineer or scientist use the imperial system. 500 µm (or microns) is simply 0.5 mm and exactly the same size as the diameter as the tip for many mechanical pencils.