Difference between Accelerometer and Gyroscope

Accelerometer and gyroscope are both used to measure the motion of moving objects. However, there are many differences between the two devices. The former is used to measure the gravity and linear motion while the latter is used to measure the orientation of a moving object.

Accelerometer helps to detect electrical current which is derived from any kind of action. However, the results of the accelerometer are biased because of the gravitational force. In contrast, the measurements taken from gyroscope are not affected by gravity.

Two-time integration is needed in accelerometer whereas gyroscope can work only on one-time integration.

Accelerometer has low signal to noise ratio while Gyroscope has high signal to noise ratio.


  • 1


    It is a device which is used to measure proper acceleration of an object. It is to be noted that the proper acceleration which is measured by the accelerometer is not essentially the rate of change of velocity i.e. coordinate acceleration.

    The accelerometer just measures the acceleration that is associated with the observable weight which is experienced by test mass in the frame of reference of the device. For instance, if the accelerometer is placed on the surface of the earth, it will show the measurement of the acceleration as 35.303 km/h. On the other hand, if it is place somewhere in the space, it will show zero in its measurement.

    The accelerometer is also used to measure the g-force. There are many different accelerometers which are used by the scientists or other professionals according to their requirements. For example, a highly sensitive accelerometer is used as a component of inertial navigation system in missiles or aircrafts.

    Furthermore, accelerometers are used to detect vibrations in rotating machines. Besides that, they are also used in digital cameras and tablet computers to display the images in an upright direction.

    Image courtesy: techgon.com

  • 2


    It is a device which is used to measure or maintain orientation and works on the principles of angular momentum. It is spinning wheel in which the axle can assume any orientation. The orientation changes in a different direction because of an external torque.

    The orientation of Gyroscope remains almost fixed despite the motion of mounting platform due to a gimbal that minimises the effect of external torque.

    Image courtesy: 1800pocketpc.com

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