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June 1, 2016 AT 2:14 pm

Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) Predicted in 1873 Reply to Charles Darwin Theory of Animal Navigation

apollo_imu

Joe Desbonnet has an interesting take on an excerpt from the book Inventing Accuracy about the future-prediction in 1873 by Joseph John Murphy of inertial measurement units (and subsequently later of MEMS gyroscopes) – components now small enough to fit inside your and my smartphones.

If a ball is freely suspended from the roof of a railway carriage it will receive a shock sufficient to move it, when the carriage is set in motion: and the magnitude and direction of the shock … will depend on the magnitude and direction of the force with which the carriage begins to move…

Read Joe’s notes here and the full Darwin letter and reply from Joseph John Murphy in this Wikipedia entry on animal navigation.


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