Tag Archive | microelectromechanical machines

What’s the Difference Between a Pedometer, an Accelerometer, and Zamzee?

Good question! A lot of people wonder what the difference is between a pedometer and an accelerometer. You might also be curious to know the difference between an accelerometer and Zamzee. Here’s what you need to know.

Leonardo da Vinci self portrait, Chambord Castle, Loire Valley, France - The metallic stone effect is generated by computer

CC by Mamjodh on Flickr http://ow.ly/eyTAc

What’s a pedometer?

Pedometers are a low-cost, basic device that measures how many steps you take. Pedometers have been around for a while, in fact, the technology was originally invented by Leonardo da Vinci! Signore da Vinci wanted a device that would more accurately measure distance so that he could make better maps. Hence, the birth of the pedometer. The pedometer hasn’t changed much since the Italian Renaissance. Folks today still use pedometers to count the number of steps they take.

So how does it work? Inside a pedometer is a tiny little mechanical arm that swings on one axis to detect a “step.” So when you move with the same force as a typical step, which scientists know is 1/3 G, that little arm swings once and counts one step. But because most of us don’t walk like robots, a pedometer needs to be very specifically oriented on your body in order to measure movement accurately. If you aren’t wearing your pedometer exactly on your hip in a straight upright position, don’t be surprised if your step-count is off by 30% or more. That’s why pedometers can be easily “tricked.”

What’s an accelerometer? Continue reading