Accelerometer sensor basics | Accelerometer working

This page describes basic function of Accelerometer sensor. It mentions working of Accelerometer sensor and mentions Accelerometer applications.

What is Accelerometer Sensor and How it Works?

Accelerometer schematic structure

Definition: Accelerator is a sensor which works by sensing the acceleration of gravity and then it calculates in which direction the phone is facing. It is developed based on MEMS design concept. Now-a-days all the phones are equipped with accelerometer.

It is a sensor device which measures proper acceleration of device where it has been installed. It is electro-mechanical device which will measure acceleration forces. These forces can either be staic or dynamic. static refers to constant force of gravity while dynamic refers to force produced due to movement or vibration of accelerometer. Accerelation is defined as change in velocity or speed divided by time.

It measures component of acceleration due to gravity acting on each of the 3 axes. These components are trigonometrically ralated to angle of inclination.

It measures large magnitude of acceleration on the order of 1 to 2 g, it is also known as strong motion sensor. There are different types of Accelerometers. Following specifications differ with each of them. Based on this appropriate accelerometer type is selected for particular need.
• C : Number of components
• F-Range : Frequency range over which response is flat, available from DC to 800 Hz.
• Out V : Maximum output voltage
• In V : Supply voltage, 12V
• I : Current consumption (mA)
• G : Generator constant (V/ms-1 or V/g)
• W : Weight of sensor
• Dynamic Range in dB
• Resoluton : in nm/s

The company called NXP semiconductor has developed different types of accelerometers such as 3-axis, 2-axis and 1-axis. They have digital accelerometers which can easily be integrated with microcontroller and processor bus lines.

Accelerometer Sensor Applications

• Used in both Academics and consumer market.
• Accelerometers in laptops Protect harddrive from damage in the event of free fall.
• It detects car crash and deploy air begs most instantaneoulsy.
• Determines direction of tilt of the device where it is mounted or installed such as tablets, e-readers and smartphones.
• It is also used in medical and home appliances.


Also refer IoT compliant sensors which includes ambient light sensor, optical sensor, gesture sensor, proximity sensor, touch sensor, fingerprint sensor etc.

Refer Sensors and transducers article which covers types, basic functions and provide links to sensors and transducers. It include temperature sensor, humidity sensor, strain sensor, proximity or occupancy sensor, force or load sensor, voltage and current sensor, pressure sensor, speed sensor, resistance sensor, power sensor, level sensor, event or state sensor etc.

Sensors and Transducers Related Links

Proximity Sensor
Occupancy Sensor vs Motion Sensor
LVDT and RVDT sensor
Position, displacement and level sensor
force sensor and strain sensor
temperature sensor
pressure sensor
Humidity sensor
MEMS sensor
Touch sensor
Haptic sensor
Wireless sensor

RF and Wireless Terminologies