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Device for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A gyroscope (from Ancient Greek γῦρος gŷros, "round" and σκοπέω skopéō, "to look") is a device used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity.[1][2] It is a spinning wheel or disc in which the axis of rotation (spin axis) is free to assume any orientation by itself. When rotating, the orientation of this axis is unaffected by tilting or rotation of the mounting, according to the conservation of angular momentum.

A gyroscope
A gyroscope in operation, showing the freedom of rotation in all three axes. The rotor will maintain its spin axis direction regardless of the orientation of the outer frame.

Gyroscopes based on other operating principles also exist, such as the microchip-packaged MEMS gyroscopes found in electronic devices (sometimes called gyrometers), solid-state ring lasers, fibre optic gyroscopes, and the extremely sensitive quantum gyroscope.[3]

Applications of gyroscopes include inertial navigation systems, such as in the Hubble Space Telescope, or inside the steel hull of a submerged submarine. Due to their precision, gyroscopes are also used in gyrotheodolites to maintain direction in tunnel mining.[4] Gyroscopes can be used to construct gyrocompasses, which complement or replace magnetic compasses (in ships, aircraft and spacecraft, vehicles in general), to assist in stability (bicycles, motorcycles, and ships) or be used as part of an inertial guidance system.

MEMS gyroscopes are popular in some consumer electronics, such as smartphones.