Our smartphones come loaded with sensors for various purposes: proximity, ambient light, digital compass, barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope … These sensors are partly responsible for the intelligence of our mobiles. Without them, they would be little less than interactive displays.
The gyroscope is just one of these sensors and has been with us for years, always accompanied by his faithful friend the accelerometer. It is included in almost all mobile phones on sale today, although it is one of the pieces that could be left out in the low / mid-range terminals.
What is the gyroscope?
In the past, mobile phones simply had accelerometers. Thanks to them the mobile is able to detect the screen orientation, determine your orientation on the map with the help of GPS and offer you control options for games tilting the screen (very popular in racing games).
An accelerometer is capable of detecting that your mobile is moving in a certain direction and with how much intensity, but it is far from doing it with the precision necessary today in applications such as virtual reality. That’s where the gyroscope, which adds the record of the rotation of the device in all its axes. Android combines these and other sensors in its positioning and motion APIs to give developers more options when programming ways to interact with their applications.
Does my cell phone have a gyroscope?
If your mobile is high-end, most likely yes. The gyroscope is one of those sensors that you should investigate if they are present in a phone before buying it, well required by both virtual reality and augmented reality, that do not stop gaining importance more and more.
In the complete technical specifications of the mobiles it is indicated the sensors included and if the model has a gyroscope or not, but if you are not entirely sure you can always use an application to confirm its presence or absence, as is the case with CPU-Z.
The problem is that it can be somewhat difficult to distinguish if there is a gyroscope or not Well, what is shown is the list of installed sensors, which can be software or hardware, and the list includes terms with not too specific names, as you can see in the following screenshot.
It is easier to use other types of applications that are emerging these days: those that check the compatibility of your mobile with VR functions. This is the case of Gyroscope Test and Eze VR, which check if your mobile has a physical gyroscope and show it to you in plain words.
What is the gyroscope for
As I mentioned before, the gyroscope supposes a much more precise registration of the position and movement of the device. Merging its data with that of the accelerometer and other sensors provides highly accurate information on where the phone is and if it is moving or rotating on any axis.
Developers have been taking advantage of these sensors for years to create all kinds of games and minigames in which you have to tilt your phone this way and another to control the action. Surely you also remember that Pokemon go You need the gyroscope to be able to use the AR mode and for you to see Pikachu in your room, but there are other ways to take advantage of the gyroscope of your mobile something less known.
1. Create panoramas
Your mobile can probably create panoramic images even if it does not have a gyroscope. There are several ways to achieve the same, but when we are talking about spherical images in 360 degrees, doing it without a gyroscope would be unthinkable.
Using the Google Street View application it is impossible to create a sphere without a gyroscope, as the application prevents you from even trying. In this case, the application makes good use of the sensors to detect exactly where you are pointing when taking the photo, to later be able compose them with precision in the resulting image.
Google Street ViewVaries by device
2. Know which star is that
What is that point that shines in the sky? Will it be a star, Venus, Mars, the international space station? The only possible way to answer that question without being an expert on the subject is to take out your phone, open Sky Map and point to the sky.
Sky Map is an old acquaintance in the world of applications, but there will be those who still do not know it today. Technically it does not need a gyroscope (you can disable the gyroscope in the options, if your mobile does not have it) but works much better, more fluid and more precise, when it is present.
Sky MapVaries by device
3. Take 3D photos
In addition to creating panoramas, the gyroscope attached to the appropriate application can create curious photos “in 3D”, as is the case with Fyuse. Halfway between photos and Live Photos, Fyuse’s 3D photos come to life when you rotate the phone, displaying the image from more angles.
Taking the photos in Fyuse requires you to follow certain technique, but the end result is worth it. Of course, you will need the application itself to be able to see the final photos in all their splendor.
Fyuse – 3D Photos4.2.2
4. Add filters to the world
We already know applications that can add filters to the entire image and to your face, but there is another type of image editing in real time possible: filters to the world. Here there are not too many applications that have signed up for the idea, the best known being Snapchat and its World Lenses.
Snapchat’s World Lenses filters require a gyroscope to be able to fix the effects in a specific place of “reality”. In this way it is able to distinguish where it is above and where it is below, and precisely locate virtual objects in the image like those in the previous video.
SnapchatVaries by device
5. Decorate your house
Decorating your home can be a pleasure and a hell at the same time, requiring you to measure accurately over and over again whether the sofa will fit in the living room or not and imagining whether the color will match well with the color of the curtains. Fortunately, the gyroscope and the right apps They are here to help you out.
There are many applications to locate furniture in your home using augmented reality, such as Planner 5D or Home Design 3D, but it is of little use if you cannot buy the furniture later. For this reason, the most likely thing is that the IKEA application will be more useful to you, which also has a function of augmented reality.
IKEA CatalogVaries by device
6. Make a plan of your house
What if you are not going to change any furniture, but you need make a plan of your house? Again, you would need to take a thousand and one manual measurements and expertly put them on paper, or let the gyroscope, ARCore and Magicplan work their magic.
MagicPlan uses augmented reality to make it easy for you to measure and create a plan of your home. With a powerful mobile, ARCore and a well lit room the process is quite automated, while in the rest of the cases you can still manage to create your map marking where the corners are and calibrating the mobile first.
magicplanVaries by device.
7. Use your mobile as a flying mouse
Has your computer mouse broken and you don’t know what to do? Well use your mobile as if it were a mouse! But not an ordinary mouse (or, to be exact, a touchpad) but a flying one, of course.
To achieve this, you only need to download and install the server for Windows (also available for Mac and Linux) and the application for Android. Then you must pair both devices via Bluetooth and you are ready to start operating the PC pointer with your mobile, as if it were a Wiimote.
8. Analyze your heart rate
What if you could analyze your heart rate using your mobile’s accelerometer and gyroscope? That’s what the authors of BeatScanner and other similar apps claim. Instead of using the camera flash or a specific sensor, the measurement is done simply putting the phone on your chest.
The idea is to use these sensors on your mobile to detect the tiny vibrations of your heart rate, send the results for analysis in the cloud and give you a score of how irregular your pulse is. Of course, take this information more as a curiosity than as a medical tool, and always consult your doctor when in doubt.
9. Use a “3D” background
If you are tired of the background of your mobile always being the same, with Hologram Background you can make it have a certain depth. With this app you can add wallpapers that react to mobile rotation to give the feeling of being in 3D.
You can download the funds directly from the application itself (there are a large number available) and being Live Wallpapers, are virtually compatible with all launchers for Android. You can also create your own 3D background, adding the different layers that make up the image.
Hologram Background – HD Wallpapers in 3D1.3.0
- Developer: Vinwap
- Download it at: Google play
- Price: Free
- Category: Personalization
Updated 05/21/2018 We have added two possible uses for the gyroscope
In Engadget Android | How to calibrate the sensors of your Android smartphone