The modern smartphone is only possible because of sensors. Their svelte form factor conceals accelerometers, magnetometers, temperature sensors, a GPS unit, and gyroscopes. They all consume volume and power, meaning that each sensor, even as it makes your phone smarter, induces battery-sucking anxiety.
Which makes a report of a very tiny laser gyroscope pretty interesting, even if it still has a way to go before being found in your cellphone. Laser gyroscopes are pretty much the “if only” of tiny sensors. Essentially, they seem like they should rule the roost in terms of providing a clean and clear signal. But, so far at least, they don’t.
Good things go bad
To see why this is so, let’s take a look at how a laser gyroscope works. Essentially, light is sent into a ring; half of the light travels around the ring clockwise, and the other half counter-clockwise. The two light beams meet at the opposite side of the ring, where they exit together.