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Tag: pendulum

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GPS Without Satellites

Current GPS systems rely on radio signals from satellites to perform their location determining calculations. When the radio signal is not available, the system cannot work. Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS) gyroscopes work like a tiny Foucault pendulum but with a vibrating element that can detect rotational changes. These small gyroscopes and accelerometors form the core of […]

1819 – Foucault – bio

Leon Foucault was born in Paris, France in 1819 and was a physicist. He is best known for his demonstration of the rotation of Earth under a swinging pendulum (now known as Foucault pendulums). He also gave the name “gyroscope” to another device he used to investigate the motion of the planet. In 1850, Foucault […]

1629 – Huygens – bio

Christiaan Huygens was born in 1629 in The Hague, Netherlands (then known as the Dutch Republic) and was an astronomer, mathematician and physicist. He advanced the art of grinding lenses and building telescopes and in 1655 discovered that Titan was a moon of Saturn and in the next year became the first to propose that […]

Navigation: Clocks and Compasses

The history of navigation tools is about clocks, compasses and sextants. Navigating requires knowledge about where you are and where you want to go. Early navigation probably involved short, local trips, where there was no need to know your precise location and only a direction was needed to aim for some destination. This could be […]

1817 – gyroscope

A gyroscope is a device that can maintain a directional orientation because it is spinning rapidly and the axis of the spin resists being changed. A spinning top is a simple example. The first known gyroscope was documented by Johann Bohnenberger in 1817. In 1851 Leon Foucault demonstrated the Foucault pendulum and in 1852, coined […]