How does a gyroscope help indicate direction/orientation?


I know that a gyroscope would always keep spinning around its perpendicular axis no matter how the entire body orientation (gyroscope) is, whether it was vertical or 40 degrees right or left…

But I read that this property of gyroscopes help boats and planes to keep track of their orientation. How does that happen? According to what I know, rotating about that same perpendicular axis all the time wouldn’t help determine direction since that rotation axis is rotating with the gyroscope per se.

In: 0

Because the gyroscope is going to resist motion change, as the boat/plane changes direction or orientation, the gyroscope continues pointing in the same direction. That’s how gimbals work, like the artificial horizon on an aircraft.

There are other gyroscopes, like a laser-ring gyro, that simply detects inertial changes and (with the aid of a computer) can tell how far you’ve turned, whether your altitude has gone up or down and how much, etc. This is how submarines navigate.