How Do Smartphones Know Up And Down?

If you have a smartphone or a tablet or have seen people use them, you have probably seen the neat trick where the device "knows" what way you are holding it; you hold it upright and the display is correctly orientated, then if you hold it the other way, the display flips so you can still see it properly. 

That particular piece of magic is handled by the software on the device and a hardware component known as a MEMS gyroscope (MicroElectroMechanical Systems). This is a tiny, solid state version of a combination gyroscope and accelerometer system.

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