Check out this great talk from Elecia White (of the embedded.fm podcast) about inertial sensors like accelerometers, magnetometers, and gyroscopes. This is a fantastic introduction to these sensors and how you can use them in a project to detect motion, orientation, and more. Elecia shows a great demo that lights up a cube depending on the output of each sensor so you can get an intuitive understanding of how a gyroscope output differs from an accelerometer output for example. You’ll even see some Adafruit boards like the 9-DOF IMU mentioned in the talk. Watch the full talk to learn more and find great resources for further study.
Also if you’re in the San Francisco area tonight you can catch another talk from Elecia about inertial sensors at the Supplyframe Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic meetup #7. It sounds like it will be a great event!
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