iPhone 4 Gyroscope Teardown

One of the new features of the iPhone 4 is the built in gyroscope that brings a new level of control to the phone. iFixit along with Chipworks have decided to open up the iPhone 4 and look at the gyroscope in detail. As the gyroscope is digital, it’s a little different than the 3-axis spinning disc that you might have seen in the past.

The gyroscope inside the iPhone 4 is described as having superb accuracy. They work by vibration and when movement is detected the vibration is translated electronically and passed to the iPhone 4.

The GK10A is comprised of a plate, called the “proof mass,” that vibrates (oscillates) when a drive signal is applied to set of drive capacitor plates.

When a user rotates the phone, the proof mass gets displaced in the X, Y, and Z directions by Coriolis forces. An ASIC processor senses the proof mass’ displacement through capacitor plates located underneath the proof mass, as well as finger capacitors at the edges of the package.

Not many games and apps are using the gyroscope at the moment, but expect to see a lot more add the extra level of control over the next few months as developers learn and realise what the gyro is capable of.

Chipworks and iFixit performed the teardown and details of the gyroscope. Check out the iFixit link to see more details along with more chip layouts and details of how they work.

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