Tilt sensor

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A tilt sensor can measure the tilting in often two axes of a reference plane in two axes. In contrast, a full motion would use at least three axes and often additional sensors. One way to measure tilt angle with reference to the earth's ground plane, is to use an accelerometer. Typical applications can be found in the industry and in game controllers.


Nintendo used tilt sensor technology in five games for its Game Boy series of hand-held game systems. The tilt sensor allows players to control aspects of the game by twisting the game system. Games that use this feature:

Tilt sensors can also be found in game controllers such as the Microsoft Sidewinder Freestyle Pro and Sony's PlayStation 3 controller.

However, unlike these other controllers in which the tilt sensor serves as a supplement to normal control methods, it serves as one of the central features of Nintendo's Wii Remote and the Nunchuk attachment. Along with accelerometers, the tilt sensors are a primary method of control in most Wii games.

It is now being used in many different aspects, instead of just games like motocrossing and flight simulators. It can be used for sport gaming, first-person shooter, and other odd uses such as in WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Another example is a virtual version of a wooden maze with obstacles in which you have to maneuver a ball by tilting the maze. A homebrew tilt sensor interface was made for the Palm (PDA).

Other uses[edit]

Tilt sensors are used for:

  • Indicating pitch and roll of vehicles, sail boats, and aircraft.
  • Monitoring the boom angle of cranes and material handlers.
  • Measuring the "look angle" of a satellite antenna towards a satellite.
  • Measuring the slope angle of a tape or chain during distance measurement.
  • Estimating the height of a building, tree, or other feature using a vertical angle and a distance (determined by taping or pacing).
  • Measuring the angle of drilling in well-logging applications.
  • Measuring the height of trees or other poles
  • Measuring steepness of a ski slope. (<10° for beginners; 10–20° "green"; 15–25° "blue"; 25–35° "black"; and 35–45° "double black")
  • Used as a warning system on the external surface of dewars (to transport cryogenic liquids) to indicate tilt being too much.
  • Measuring and alignment of 2-dimensional plane tilt angles with dual-axis tilt sensors:
    2-axis tilt sensors/ inclinometers utilizing MEMS tilt sensors are capable of simultaneous 2-axis high accuracy (typically 0.001°) and wide angle measuring range (e.g., ±30.000°). The 2-axis tilt sensor technology enables simultaneous 2D (X-Y plane) tilt angles measurement which traditional single-axis tilt sensors are unable to offer. Often, precision industry applications in particular, levelling, angle measurement/ alignment and surface flatness profiling tasks essentially involve 2-dimensional planes rather than single-axis.
  • Help prevent unsafe working conditions.[1]

Tilt indicators are disposable-grade, albeit reusable sensors attached to goods as part of packaging during shipping.[2]

Factors which influence the use of inclinometers[edit]

(Overall accuracy varies depending on the type of tilt sensor (or inclinometer) and technology used)

  • Gravity
  • Temperature (drift), zero offset, linearity, vibration, shock, cross-axis sensitivity, acceleration/deceleration.
  • A clear line of sight between the user and the measured point is needed.
  • A well defined object is required to obtain the maximum precision.
  • The angle measurement precision and accuracy is limited to slightly better than one arcsec.
  • The calibration of tilt sensors in the factory may differ on the actual site.

Survey methods used for[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Tilt Sensor Helps to Prevent Unsafe Working Conditions". www.frederickscompany.com. Archived from the original on 23 September 2016. 
  2. ^ "Tilt Indicators for Fragile Goods in Transport". Shockwatch. Retrieved 6 June 2011.