Accelerometer, gyroscope… all the sensors that your mobile phone has and what they are for

When we talk about the specifications of a mobile, we usually focus more on components of great relevance in its performance such as the processor, RAM, ROM storage space or the type of cameras they have. However, we overlook many sensors that are common in all for years. Or practically all of them.

And it is that there are certain elements that attract less attention, but that are essential to use the mobile as we use it. In this post we review the ones that are most common to find and, beyond their name, tell you what functionality they have on the smartphone.

accelerometer

Mobile Orientation Lock

Don’t let its name fool you, this sensor will not make your phone go faster. With a reduced size and thanks to the three axes of which it is normally composed, this is a small motion sensor capable of knowing the orientation of the phone at all times.

In fact, this is the famous sensor that allows that the mobile rotates the content of the screen when we put it horizontally. Of course, when the orientation lock is activated by software, this sensor is disabled until the option is enabled again.

Barometer

Although this is not a sensor that is in all Android phones, it is not at all strange to find models that implement it. Its function, like that of a traditional barometer, is to measure atmospheric pressure. Based on this, he is able to know the altitude at which we are and thus serve as an aid in GPS navigation apps and the like. It can even be of help to test the water resistance of the mobile.

This application promises to check the water resistance of a mobile, without getting it wet

Gyroscope

Game Cars

This is a sensor closely linked to the accelerometer, since serves as an aid to detect the orientation of the mobile. For technical purposes, this measures non-gravitational acceleration. This allows it to be a key sensor in actions that require turning the screen slightly, such as car video games in which the steering wheel is controlled by rotating our mobile. Although there are many more very interesting uses of the gyroscope.

gps

We can tell you little or nothing about this sensor that you do not know at a functional level. It is already an element that is fully integrated into the mobile hardware and with a multitude of apps with which to take advantage of its usefulness. These are capable of continuously receiving signals from GPS satellites in order to know your exact position or as close as possible (it always depends on how the signal reception is in the area).

GPS

It is a useful sensor for GPS applications, as is evident, but also to carry out certain automations related to location, to be able to share our location in real time or enjoy games like Pokémon GO.

Pedometer

Although it is true that smart watches are more likely to measure health and sports, some mobiles also include pedometers that are capable of offering data on steps we have taken or number of stairs we have climbed. However, it must be said that some manufacturers are no longer implementing them in favor of measurements made with other sensors and that, although they are less precise, they help to integrate other components within the terminal board.

Magnetometer

Compass

Also known as a Hall sensor, this is an element used to act as an electronic compass on mobile. It works by means of an electronic sensor capable of measuring and quantifying the magnetic forces, thus defining the poles.

NFC

Probably one of the most important elements in our times is that the NFC functionalities are many and very useful. It is a chip that allows you to create short-range wireless communication that, among many other things, allows contactless payments and even helps in transferring some data between devices.

biometric sensors

In these times, it would be totally strange for us to find a mobile that does not have a biometric sensor that does faster recognition when unlocked or that it serves to avoid putting passwords in apps and websites.

Biometrics

The most common are fingerprint sensors, whether they are located on a physical button or under the screen. In this way, we can find capacitive, optical readers and those that work through ultrasound.

Also cataloged as biometric sensors, we find the facial and/or iris detectors. It is true that most manufacturers do not offer specific sensors for this and trust everything to software recognition thanks to the front camera. However, there are models that do incorporate infrared and 3D detection sensors capable of recognizing a face in depth.

color spectrum sensor

Closely related to the ambient light sensor that we will talk about in a later section, this is a sensor that is not always included in mobile phones, but in those where it is, it acts as camera white balance controller.

And it is that it serves to capture the color and tones of the environment and measure the luminosity, determining what the light source is and if it is natural or not. Therefore, it is a very good addition for photographysince it yields a better image quality and prevents them from being burned.

Infrared sensor

Infrared

Although it sounds a bit old to us at the time when two mobiles could exchange files by infrared, the truth is that these sensors are still present in many mobiles for other actions. Most are focused on control accessories remotely. For example, turning a smartphone into a remote control for the TV.

The infrared port is back in fashion, what is it for and in what models do we find it?

ambient light sensor

This is an essential element for actions such as change screen brightness automatically. And it is that it is capable of detecting the light that is in a room (or outdoors) and based on it send instructions to the software to increase or decrease the brightness of the panel.

Proximity sensor

Mobile Ear

Actually composed of an infrared LED that emits rays imperceptible to the human eye, it emits the beam of light constantly and when it comes across an element very close in between, it acts by turning off the screen. So you can get that the screen dims when we are on a call with the mobile to the ear or when we listen to a voice message in apps like WhatsApp or Telegram.

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