3 axis accelerometer vs 6 axis gyro is a choice that you might face when considering which of these technologies is the most suitable to add to a device. Learn about both sensors, which types of measurements they can support and where to use them.


What is a three-axis accelerometer?

A 3-axis accelerometer measures the accelerations that take place in relation to the 3 Cartesian coordinate axes. In other words, it can gauge the changes in the speed of a point.

This tool is present in pedometers, the videogame industry and robotics, among others, where the accelerometer data logger measures the acceleration forces – whether dynamic or static. The static forces include gravity, while the dynamic forces may include vibrations and motions.

One of the most common uses is, for example, in-car gauges. The accelerations are represented by a vector that indicates the direction of travel of the point, and its module, which indicates the intensity.

An accelerometer sensor can calculate its angle of inclination by measuring the acceleration caused by gravity. In addition, it can also detect the direction and speed of a moving object, by taking into account the dynamic acceleration.

vibration stability

What is a 6 axis gyroscope?

A gyroscope or gyro is a device that allows for measuring the changes in orientation that take place around a reference axis. This provides information that allows a device to measure its orientation, maintain it or change it.

The 6 axis gyroscope is therefore a sensor with 6 degrees of freedom, since it has three axes to measure the rate of turn and another three axes to measure the acceleration. In other words, it combines the 3 Cartesian coordinate axis accelerometer with a sensor that takes gyroscopic measurements along these three axes: pitch, roll and yaw. 

Its most widespread applications include its use in aircraft, digital cameras (for example, to take panoramic photographs or control stability) or some toys.

Its purpose is to provide stability by taking into account the movements caused by vibrations, and a number of applications allow its measurements to be read.


Discover the most used testing methods to achieve load stability during the distribution cycle


3 axis accelerometer vs 6 axis gyro: the difference

A 3 axis accelerometer vs 6 axis gyro comparison shows that there are major differences between their technologies, precisions, units, etc. But one of the main differences regarding their use is that the gyro has the ability to measure more parameters.

In the case of the accelerometer, the three axes are linked to themselves and are fixed, which means that this tool uses itself as a reference system.

This translates into two characteristics: it cannot identify changes in its position, and if the accelerometer is rotated, the orientation of the axes would change.

This being the case, if the accelerometer is placed at the center of a roulette, adjusting one of its axes to the rotation of the roulette, the accelerometer would be unable to detect changes in the speed of the roulette.

Conversely, a gyroscope is capable of measuring these changes in the orientation. In fact, since they are capable of measuring acceleration forces and speed, as well as the orientation of gravity, they are widely used in modern technology, such as in unmanned vehicles and navigation systems.


Which one is better for your products?

The criteria to opt for the use of a 3 axis accelerometer vs 6 axis gyro in any technology will entirely depend on the specific needs of a company and the products that it manufactures.

This can be analyzed by using two examples:

  • On one hand, a company wants to study a rollercoaster where the carts are secured to tracks along which they move, and where the users that ride them are, in turn, strapped in. In this case, it will be interesting to measure the accelerations, since the rotations do not affect the system. Here, both an accelerometer and a gyroscope would be suitable.

Conversely, a gyroscope would be required when it is necessary to determine which changes in orientation are taking place and how that might affect the product.

  • The best example of a gyroscope is the attitude indicator carried by aircraft, represented by a circular divided screen, with the top half being sky-blue representing the sky and the bottom half red to represent the ground. As the aircraft moves and banks to turn, the orientation of the screen will change to represent the real direction of the ground.


Applications in transport simulation

For freight companies and major multi-national companies that transport loads on a daily basis, the use of data recorders is becoming increasingly widespread, with the purpose of identifying the forces that directly affect the load being transported. The data recorder is placed inside the transport vehicle, so that it records all the events that take place during distribution. The recorded data is subsequently analyzed to perform transport simulation tests and learn, in a laboratory setting, how the load behaves and how it is affected by the forces experienced during transportation.

For example, innRecord by Safe Load Testing Technologies is an essential device when it comes to recording tri-axial vibrations, accelerations and pitch and roll movements, as well as impacts, in a truck, ship or plane during the distribution cycle, thanks to its two accelerometers and one gyroscope.

This device can record routes based on the force and frequency of the vibrations experienced during transportation (PSD) in three dimensions, plus the rotation along to axes (roll and pitch).

All the information is saved in a microSD card and, after analysis, it can be used to reproduce the real conditions under which a load is transported, with the purpose of optimizing the packaging and guaranteeing the safety of the products.   

In transport simulation, the most common tests as vibration tests, drop tests, acceleration/deceleration tests and impact tests, since these are the forces that most affect a load during transportation. 

If you want to know how your goods behave when transported, or if you are looking to perform more realistic simulations, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be thrilled to help you find the best solution for your project.

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