That’s How Your Smartphone Knows Up from Down

Date: 2020-07-30 11:00:14


How a smartphone knows up from down? When we turn the phone to the side to watch a video or play a game, we seamlessly change the object in the frame. A pinhead-sized chip called an accelerometer does the job. A similar system is installed in one of the most sophisticated machines we know — your own body. Your inner ear’s design is alike: it senses the acceleration when you move in an elevator or car or change your head position. That vestibular system is connected to the eyes.

When you’re filming a video and the camera, like your smartphone, moves and shakes, you see the picture as smooth and steady due to your inner accelerometer working. But try watching the same video on a motionless screen — everything gets blurry. In some situations, like on a moving ship or airplane, signals that reach your brain from the eyes and the vestibular system contradict each other and, you know, the small brown paper bag comes to stage… But how do accelerometers work? And what other cool sensors does your phone have? Let’s find out!


How do accelerometers work? 00:00
Turn your smartphone into a metal detector 1:48
GPS tools 2:11
Turn your smartphone into a computer mouse 5:55
Barometer onboard 6:31
Smombies. Who are they? 7:15
Music by Epidemic Sound

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