Friday, 21 February 2014

Accelerometer on iOS Devices

An accelerometer is a device that measures acceleration of hardware. Acceleration is the rate at which velocity of a body changes with time. It is used for detecting the changes in the position of a device in the three directions x, y and z, revealing the current position of the device relative to the ground in terms of these co-ordinates.

The accelerometer is a built-in electronic component that measures tilt and motion. It also perceives motion gestures such as rotation, swinging or shaking.

Uses of an Accelerometer on mobile devices
  • Activates auto screen rotation when the user changes the orientation from portrait to landscape or the other way round
  • Controls the mobile device music player with gestures
  • Enriches the gaming controls like navigating by tilting the device instead of by pressing keys in popular games like Temple Run and Wii to mention a few
  • Allows turn-to-mute feature in phones to mute an incoming call, silence an alarm or pause the mobile music player by turning the device face down
  • Measures the speed of an object attached to it in the Nike+ipod used in running shoes where the piezoelectric sensors reveal the speed of the shoe they are attached to

Accelerometer on iPhone and iPad
The accelerometer in iPhone and iPod touch measures the acceleration of the device relative to freefall. A value of 1 indicates that the device is experiencing 1 g of force exerted. 1 g of force is the gravitational pull of the earth, which the device experiences when it is stationary. The accelerometer measures the acceleration of the device in three different directions X, Y, and Z .

Three axes on the iPhone to measures the acceleration
Readings of an accelerator enabled device in various positions
When the device is held upright and moved to the right quickly, the value of the X-axis will increase from 0 to a positive value. If it is moved to the left quickly, the value of the X-axis will decrease from 0 to a negative value. When moved upward quickly, the value of the Y-axis will increase from -1.0 to a larger value and when moved downward quickly, the value of the Y-axis will decrease from -1.0 to a smaller value.
If the device is lying flat on a table and then dropped, the value of the Z-axis will decrease from -1.0 to a smaller number. If it is moved upward, the value of the Z-axis will increase from -1.0 to a bigger number.

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