Gladiator Technologies has attempted to define terms as closely as possible to the IEEE Gyro and Accelerometer Panel Standards for Inertial Sensor Terminology. Please note that in some instances our definition of a term may vary and in those instances Gladiator Technology's definition supersedes the IEEE definition. For a complete listing of IEEE's standard for inertial sensor terminology please go to

Acceleration-insensitive drift rate (gyro): The component of environmentally sensitive drift rate not correlated with acceleration.
NOTE—Acceleration-insensitive drift rate includes the effects of temperature, magnetic, and other external influences.

Acceleration-sensitive drift rate (gyro): The components of systematic drift rate correlated with the first power of a linear acceleration component, typically expressed in (°/h)/g.

Accelerometer: An inertial sensor that measures linear or angular acceleration. Except where specifically stated, the term accelerometer refers to linear accelerometer.

AHRS: Attitude and Heading Reference System

Allan variance: A characterization of the noise and other processes in a time series of data as a function of averaging time. It is one half the mean value of the square of the difference of adjacent time averages from a time series as a function of averaging time.

Angular acceleration sensitivity: 
(accelerometer): The change of output (divided by the scale factor) of a linear accelerometer that is produced per unit of angular acceleration input about a specified axis, excluding the response that is due to linear acceleration.
(gyro): The ratio of drift rate due to angular acceleration about a gyro axis to the angular acceleration causing it.
NOTE—In single-degree-of-freedom gyros, it is nominally equal to the effective moment of inertia of the gimbal assembly divided by the angular momentum.

Bandwith: The input signal frequency range from DC (zero frequency) up to the frequency where a -90 degree phase shift (between mechanical input and rate output) is observed.  This phase shift is determined by filters within the device.

(accelerometer): The average over a specified time of accelerometer output measured at specified operating conditions that have no correlation with input acceleration or rotation. Bias is expressed in [m/s2, g].
(gyro): The average over a specified time of gyro output measured at specified operating conditions that have no correlation with input rotation or acceleration. Bias is typically expressed in degrees per hour (º/h).
NOTE—Control of operating conditions may address sensitivities such as temperature, magnetic fields, and mechanical and electrical interfaces, as necessary.

Bias Temperature Stability: The bounds within which the Rate Bias may vary as the temperature varies across the operating temperature range, included in the "Over Operating Environments" specification.

Bias Stability (Drift): The bounds within which the Rate Bias may vary over specified periods of time, typically 100 seconds at fixed conditions, including constant temperature (short term); or as long term stability, over 1 year, excluding outputs due to self-generating noise.  The GyroChip® has little if any real bias drift, though thermal stabilization at turn-on and ambient temperature changes may appear in the rate output as "drift" (see Measurement Noise).

Case (gyro, accelerometer): The housing or package that encloses the sensor, provides the mounting surface, and defines the reference axes.

Composite error (gyro, accelerometer): The maximum deviation of the output data from a specified output function. Composite error is due to the composite effects of hysteresis, resolution, nonlinearity, non-repeatability, and other uncertainties in the output data. It is generally expressed as a percentage of half the output span.

Coriolis acceleration: The acceleration of a particle in a coordinate frame rotating in inertial space, arising from its velocity with respect to that frame.

Coriolis vibratory gyro (CVG): A gyro based on the coupling of a structural, driven, vibrating mode into at least one other structural mode (pickoff) via Coriolis acceleration.
NOTE—CVGs may be designed to operate in open-loop, force-rebalance (i.e., closed-loop), and/or whole-angle modes.

Cross acceleration (accelerometer): The acceleration applied in a plane normal to an accelerometer input reference axis.

Cross-axis sensitivity (accelerometer): The proportionality constant that relates a variation of accelerometer output to cross acceleration. This sensitivity varies with the direction of cross acceleration and is primarily due to misalignment.

Cross-coupling errors (gyro): The errors in the gyro output resulting from gyro sensitivity to inputs about axes normal to an input reference axis.

CVG: Coriolis Vibratory Gyro

Degree-of-freedom (DOF) (gyro): An allowable mode of angular motion of the spin axis with respect to the case. The number of degrees-of-freedom is the number of orthogonal axes about which the spin axis is free to rotate.

Drift rate (gyro): The component of gyro output that is functionally independent of input rotation. It is expressed as an angular rate

Environmentally sensitive drift rate (gyro): The component of systematic drift rate that includes acceleration-sensitive, acceleration-squared-sensitive, and acceleration-insensitive drift rates.

ESD: Electro Static Discharge

Factory Calibration: The accuracy of the measurement of a parameter when calibrated at the factory, usually at a specified reference temperature (typically +22°C).

Factory Setting (also called Initial Offset): The maximum value, or tolerance of value, of a factory adjusted parameter, usually at a specified  temperature (typically +22°C).

Full Range Output: The nominal voltage output for the specified full range input.   The actual voltage output will be a complex compilation of several parameters including scale factor, bias, linearity and temperature characteristics.

Full-scale input (gyro, accelerometer): The maximum magnitude of the two input limits.

G: The magnitude of the local plumb bob gravity that is used as a reference value of acceleration.
NOTE 1—is a convenient reference used in inertial sensor calibration and testing. NOTE 2—In some applications, the standard value of g = 9.806 65 m/s2 may be specified.

GPS/AHRS: Inertial Measurement Unit

Gyro (gyroscope): An inertial sensor that measures angular rotation with respect to inertial space about its input axis(es).
NOTE 1—The sensing of such motion could utilize the angular momentum of a spinning rotor, the Coriolis effect on a vibrating mass, or the Sagnac effect on counter-propagating light beams in a ring laser or an optical fiber coil.

G sensitivity (gyro): the change in rate bias due to g input from any direction.

Hysteresis error (gyro, accelerometer): The maximum separation due to hysteresis between upscale-going and down-scale-going indications of the measured variable (during a full-range traverse, unless otherwise specified) after transients have decayed. It is generally expressed as an equivalent input.

IEEE: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Inertial sensor: A position, attitude, or motion sensor whose references are completely internal, except possibly for initialization.

Input angle (gyro): The angular displacement of the case about an input axis.

Input axis (IA):
(accelerometer): The axis(es) along or about which a linear or angular acceleration input causes a maximum output.
(gyro): The axis(es) about which a rotation of the case causes a maximum output.

Input-axis misalignment (gyro, accelerometer): The angle between an input axis and its associated input reference axis when the device is at a null condition.

Input limits (gyro, accelerometer): The extreme values of the input, generally plus or minus, within which performance is of the specified accuracy.

Input range (gyro, accelerometer): The region between the input limits within which a quantity is measured, expressed by stating the lower- and upper-range value. For example, a linear displacement input range of ±1.7g to ±12g.

Input rate (gyro): The angular displacement per unit time of the case about an input axis. For example, an angular displacement input range of ±150°/sec to ±300°/sec.

Input reference axis (IRA) (gyro, accelerometer): The direction of an axis (nominally parallel to an input axis) as defined by the case mounting surfaces, or external case markings, or both.

Linear accelerometer: An inertial sensor that measures the component of translational acceleration minus the component of gravitational acceleration along its input axis(es).

Linearity: Defines the upper and lower limit within which the output signal may vary or deviate from the Best-Fit-Straight-Line (BFSL) drawn through the data, expressed as a per cent (%) of the angular rate full range.

Linearity error (gyro, accelerometer): The deviation of the output from a least-squares linear fit of the input-output data. It is generally expressed as a percentage of full scale, or percent of output, or both.

Mechanical freedom (accelerometer): The maximum linear or angular displacement of the accelerometer’s proof mass, relative to its case.

MEMS: Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems

Modeling: The technique of using a mathematical model of Scale Factor and/or Rate Bias vs. temperature to correct the output data and minimize such temperature-induced errors.  Such a model may make use of power-series equations, multiple-point data with interpolation between temperatures, for example.

Natural frequency (gyro, accelerometer): The frequency at which the output lags the input by 90°. It generally applies only to inertial sensors with approximate second-order response.

NLR: No License Required

Non-gravitational acceleration (accelerometer): The component of the acceleration of a body that is caused by externally applied forces (excluding gravity) divided by the mass.

Nonlinearity (gyro, accelerometer): The systematic deviation from the straight line that defines the nominal input-output relationship.

Open-loop mode (Coriolis vibratory gyro): A mode in which the vibration amplitude of the pickoff is proportional to the rotation rate about the input axis(es).

Operating life (gyro, accelerometer): The accumulated time of operation throughout which a gyro or accelerometer exhibits specified performance when maintained and calibrated in accordance with a specified schedule.

Operating temperature (gyro, accelerometer): The temperature at one or more gyro or accelerometer elements when the device is in the specified operating environment.

Output Noise: Self-generated electrical noise is defined by its power-spectral-density (PSD) and given in volts-squared per Hz over a given range of frequency.  This defines the distribution of noise power in the output of the instrument, on a per-Hz basis.  For example, if one computes the area under the output response curve within any 1 Hz window, then take the square root of this area, one obtains a value of voltage.  Dividing this voltage by the Scale factor converts it to an equivalent rate reading.  This is the output noise of the instrument, measured in °/sec/Hz.

Output range (gyro, accelerometer): The product of input range and scale factor.

Output span (gyro, accelerometer): The algebraic difference between the upper and lower values of the output range.

Pickoff (mechanical gyro, accelerometer): A device that produces an output signal as a function of the relative linear or angular displacement between two elements.

Plumb bob gravity: The force per unit mass acting on a mass at rest at a point on the earth, not including any reaction force of the suspension. The plumb bob gravity includes the gravitational attraction of the earth, the effect of the centripetal acceleration due to the earth rotation, and tidal effects. The direction of the plumb bob gravity acceleration defines the local vertical down direction, and its magnitude defines a reference value of acceleration (g).

Power spectral density (PSD): A characterization of the noise and other processes in a time series of data as a function of frequency. It is the mean squared amplitude per unit frequency of the time series. It is usually expressed in (º/h)2/Hz for gyroscope rate data or in (m/s2)2/Hz or g2/Hz for accelerometer acceleration data

Principal axis of compliance (gyro, accelerometer): An axis along which an applied force results in a displacement along that axis only.

Proof mass (accelerometer): The effective mass whose inertia transforms an acceleration along, or about, an input axis into a force or torque. The effective mass takes into consideration rotation and contributing parts of the suspension.

Quantization (gyro, accelerometer): The analog-to-digital conversion of a gyro or accelerometer output signal that gives an output that changes in discrete steps, as the input varies continuously.

Quantization noise (gyro, accelerometer): The random variation in the digitized output signal due to sampling and quantizing a continuous signal with a finite word length conversion. The resulting incremental error sequence is a uniformly distributed random variable over the interval 1/2 least significant bit (LSB).

Random drift rate (gyro): The random time-varying component of drift rate.

Random walk: A zero-mean Gaussian stochastic process with stationary independent increments and with standard deviation that grows as the square root of time.

Angle Random walk (gyro): The angular error buildup with time that is due to white noise in angular rate. This error is typically expressed in degrees per square root of hour [º/√h].

Velocity random walk (accelerometer): The velocity error build-up with time that is due to white noise in acceleration. This error is typically expressed in meters per second per square root of hour [(m/s)/√h].

Range: The specified maximum input rate (°/sec) over which full performance will be provided.

Rate gyro: A gyro whose output is proportional to its angular velocity with respect to inertial space.

Ratiometric output: An output method where the representation of the measured output quantity
(e.g., voltage, current, pulse rate, pulse width) varies in proportion to a reference quantity.

Rectification error (accelerometer): A steady-state error in the output while vibratory disturbances are acting on an accelerometer.

Repeatability (gyro, accelerometer): The closeness of agreement among repeated measurements of the same variable under the same operating conditions when changes in conditions or non-operating periods occur between measurements.

Resolution (gyro, accelerometer): The largest value of the minimum change in input, for inputs greater than the noise level, that produces a change in output equal to some specified percentage (at least 50%) of the change in output expected using the nominal scale factor.

Scale factor (gyro, accelerometer): The ratio of a change in output to a change in the input intended to be measured. Scale factor is generally evaluated as the slope of the straight line that can be fitted by the method of least squares to input-output data. Slope=Scale Factor

Scale Factor Temperature Sensitivity: The bounds within which the Scale Factor will lie as the temperature varies across the operating temperature range, usually referenced to a room temperature calibration value (+22°C typical).  Also can be defined as a temperature coefficient, usually the best fit straight line of Scale Factor change over the operating temperature range.

Second-order nonlinearity coefficient (accelerometer): The proportionality constant that relates a variation of the output to the square of the input, applied parallel to the input reference axis.

Sensitivity (gyro, accelerometer): The ratio of a change in output to a change in an undesirable or secondary input. For example: a scale factor temperature sensitivity of a gyro or accelerometer is the ratio of change in scale factor to a change in temperature.

Shock: The limit of shock which the device will withstand without damage. Typically, the GyroChip® can withstand shocks without damage with a peak value of 200 g's lasting 2 ms.

Stability (gyro, accelerometer): A measure of the ability of a specific mechanism or performance coefficient to remain invariant when continuously exposed to a fixed operating condition.

Start Up Time: The time required for the instrument to produce a usable rate output after power application.

Storage life (gyro, accelerometer): The non-operating time interval under specified conditions, after which a device will still exhibit a specified operating life and performance.

Strapdown (gyro, accelerometer): Direct-mounting of inertial sensors (without gimbals) to a vehicle to sense the linear and angular motion of the vehicle.

Third-order nonlinearity coefficient (accelerometer): The proportionality constant that relates a variation of the output to the cube of the input, applied parallel to the input reference axis.

Threshold (gyro, accelerometer): The largest absolute value of the minimum input that produces an output equal to at least 50% of the output expected using the nominal scale factor.

Turn-on time (gyro, accelerometer): The time from the initial application of power until a sensor produces a specified useful output, though not necessarily at the accuracy of full specification performance.

Vibration - Operating: The specified limit of random vibration in g-RMS, usually across the flat 20 Hz - 2,000 Hz input spectrum range, which the device will withstand while operating within its performance specifications.

Vibration - Survival: The specified limit of random vibration in g-RMS, usually within the flat 20 Hz - 2,000 Hz range, which the device will survive for a limited period of time without damage.

Warm-up time (gyro, accelerometer): The time from the initial application of power for a sensor to reach specified performance under specified operating conditions.

Zero offset (restricted to rate gyros): The gyro output when the input rate is zero, generally expressed as an equivalent input rate. It excludes outputs due to hysteresis and acceleration.