Gyroscope Story #AToZChallenge



Our “G” invention today will be the Gyroscope. This device has a magnificent importance in many fields. Humans can’t do without it anymore. It made our lives easier. 

In early times, people discovered the spinning top, a toy with a unique ability to balance upright while rotating rapidly. Ancient Greek, Chinese and Roman societies built tops for games and entertainment.

Can you imagine it? This great invention started with the toy we all played with when we were young. A top (also called spinning top or spintop) is a toy designed to be spun rapidly on the ground, the

motion of which causes it to remain precisely balanced on its tip because of inertia. Such toys have existed since antiquity. Traditionally tops were constructed of wood, sometimes with an iron tip, and would be set in motion by aid of a string or rope coiled around its axis which, when pulled quickly, caused a rapid unwinding that would set the top in motion. Today they are often built of plastic, and modern materials and manufacturing processes allows tops to be constructed with such precise balance that they can be set in motion by a simple twirl of the wrist without need for string or rope.

The Maori in New Zealand have used humming tops, with specially-crafted holes, in mourning ceremonies. In 14th century England, some villages had a large top constructed for a warming-up exercise in cold weather. Tops were even used in place of dice, like the die in the contemporary fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons.

It was not until the late 18th and early 19th centuries that scientists and sailors began attempting to use spinning tops as a scientific tool. 

At that time, sailors relied on sextants for navigation, measuring the angle between specific stars and the horizon. This method was limited, however, if choppy seas or fog obscured the true horizon, or clouds obscured the stars.

The first known use of such a top as an instrument came in 1743, when John Serson invented the “Whirling speculum” (or Serson’s Speculum), a spinning top that was used as a level, to locate the horizon in foggy or misty conditions.

The instrument used more like an actual gyroscope was made by German Johann Bohnenberger, who first wrote about it in 1817. At first he called it the “Machine”. Bohnenberger’s machine was based on a rotating massive sphere.

Within mechanical systems or devices, a conventional gyroscope is a mechanism comprising a rotor journaled to spin about one axis, the journals of the rotor being mounted in an inner gimbal or ring; the inner gimbal is journaled for oscillation in an outer gimbal for a total of two gimbals.

In the early 20th Century, Elmer A. Sperry developed the first automatic pilot for airplanes using a gyroscope, and installed the first gyrostabilizer to reduce roll on ships.

While gyroscopes were not initially very successful at navigating ocean travel, navigation is their predominant use today. They can be found in ships, missiles, airplanes, the Space Shuttle, and satellites.

Since the gyroscope allows the calculation of orientation and rotation, designers have incorporated them into modern technology. The integration of the gyroscope has allowed for more accurate recognition of movement within a 3D space than the previous lone accelerometer within a number of smartphones. Gyroscopes in consumer electronics are frequently combined with accelerometers (acceleration sensors) for more robust direction- and motion-sensing.


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