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iPad 2 Gyroscope is Affected by Movement in a Car



The iPad 2‘s Gyroscope allows for more precise motion controlling in games like Real Racing HD, but as my son found out during a windy car ride, the gyroscope is greatly affected by real life car driving.

The game in question is Real Raching HD ($6.99), a racing sim game that uses the iPad 2 gyroscope to help make steering in the game far more accurate. The result is a game that much more playable … unless you are in a car on a windy road.

Photo Mar 18 3 10 34 PM

I was taking my son Daniel to school and he asked if he could play my new iPad. He loves Real Racing HD on it. He sat in the back seat and noticed that suddenly his in-game car would just steer off the road or into another vehicle. It was really hard for him to control it, but only on occasion. He told me about it and it hit me that the movement of our car might be affecting the movement of his in-game car. So I tested it out by taking a curve a little harder than I would and it sent his car hurdling off the road.

Photo Mar 18 3 10 43 PM

Now we are not suggesting this is a problem with the iPad 2. In fact it is evidence of just how sensitive the gyroscope is. The gyroscope makes it possible for the iPad to not only sense up/down and left/right motion as it could previously thanks to the accelerometer. What the gyroscope does is also adds the sensation of twisting on a horizontal plane – hence the movement caused by my turning the car quickly.

Our experience is that playing games that take advantage of the gyroscope are much better on the iPad 2 than they were on the original iPad. Real Racing HD is one such game.

Other games that take advantage of the feature are:

List thanks to MacLife.



  1. Josh

    03/18/2011 at 9:34 pm

    Of course. That’s “Special Relativity 101”!

  2. Frank

    03/18/2011 at 10:06 pm

    Is that a joke? What did you expect?
    And you know what? It’s not different with the accelerometer! If you accelerate or brake you can notice this on any Smartphone/tablet with an accelerometer, too. Cool, or? Maybe you can write a second post about it ^^

    • My Autism Recovery

      05/02/2011 at 1:29 pm


      The only difference between an accelerometer and a gyroscope is that a gyroscope is affected by the acceleration/deceleration of the car itself. The accelerometer is affected by not only that, but also Earth’s gravitational field.

      So, if the iPad’s accelerometer and gyroscope were accurate enough, one could, say, write an app that determined the user’s acceleration due to gravity while the user was in a car.

  3. Sam P

    03/19/2011 at 1:50 am

    Frank: It’s obvious to those who know something about the technology and/or thinks about it, but perhaps it isn’t obvious to less informed users.

  4. Anonymous

    05/17/2011 at 3:35 am

    There would still be the same problem in the car, but iBallz work well with the iPad/apps the utilize the gyroscope function. You can use the bands on the side, provided by the iBallz in order to get a more comfortable grip on the device. Also if you happen to get carried away, and the unit flies from your hands, the iBallz will protect the unit from drops. Check them out =) =) 

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