How-To: Detect the Earth’s Rotation with a PlayStation Move!

Science
How-To: Detect the Earth’s Rotation with a PlayStation Move!



Gorgeously geeky and detailed how-to on homodyne measurement of the Earth’s rotation using an old turntable (remember those?) and a PS Move motion sensor:

In this project we follow in the footsteps of Léon Foucault who in 1851 produced the first convincing experimental evidence of Earth’s diurnal rotation, thus confirming a crucial element of the heliocentric model of the solar system. For lack of a 28 kg pendulum and a 70-meter-high ceiling to suspend it from, we use a table-top apparatus whose main components are a PlayStation Move motion-sensing videogame controller and a 33/45 RPM record player.

With an acquisition time of several hours, our device has little practical use, but this is an enlightening physics experiment that anyone can easily replicate. Technical details and source code are provided.

[Thanks to Jon Johns over on the O’Reilly mothership for this link.]

Homodyne measurement of Earth’s rotation with a motion-sensing videogame controller and a record player

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn

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