In this post we will introduce accelerometer sensors and share a few examples on how to interface them to the Arduino. The sensor we will be using is a MMA7260Q from Freescale Semiconductor, a low cost 3 axis accelerometer with temperature compensation and a g-Select feature which allows for the selection among 4 sensitivities.

Why do we use them?

This sensor measures acceleration forces, both static like the gravitational force and dynamic caused by moving the device. You can find one in your smartphone, in the wii controller, in your car or in UAV.
Typical applications are:

  • Freefall detection in laptops,
  • Image stabilization and text scrolling in cell phones,
  • Compass tilt compensation and motion sensing in robotics.
  • And Crash tests in MythBusters!

A common problem with accelerometers is filtering noise out from readings. If you are interested in detecting motion or estimating attitude you definitely need to check the related tutorials.

What you will need

To measure acceleration data the following parts are required: