Thursday, November 05, 2009

Honda's Self-balancing Unicycle Relies on Inclinometer

Honda's U3-X taken for an awkward squat (video)

The granola girls over at Autoblog Green had the rare opportunity to test out the quirky little U3-X on a visit to the Honda R&D center in Japan. You remember: the self-balancing unicycle that fits in a car door and relies on an inclinometer (not gyroscope) to know which way is up. In essence it balances the rider like a broomstick held on-end in the palm of the end. Autoblog calls it "far more intriguing than a Segway" due largely to the Honda Omni Traction (HOT) drive system that allows the personal transporter to move forward, back, and left and right on a series of small wheels. Unfortunately, Honda wouldn't let anyone peek underneath to see the magic. When turned on the U3-X stands upright making small motions to maintain balance. And as awkward as it looks, riding the U3-X "couldn't be easier" -- like a Segway you just lean ever so subtly in the direction you want to go. It will tip over if the rider leans too far or too fast but it's apparently very simple and intuitive to keep upright. The 20-pound model tested was designed for indoor use only and booked along at an overdue-toilet-break pace of 4MPH.
Check it out in the video

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Helios: An iPhone/iPod Touch App Sun Position Calculator

Wow this is a cool iPhone application!

Introducing Helios - An iPhone/iPod Touch application that graphically predicts the path of the sun from dusk to dawn, on any given day, in any given place.

Designed as an aid to Cinematographers and Stills Photographers working in natural light, Helios is essential to anyone who needs to plan a day around the constantly changing character of sunlight. Gaffers, Grips, Location Managers, Production Designers and First Assistant Directors will already be aware of the value of this information. Other professionals, from Architects and Surveyors to Electricians and Landscape Gardeners can now predict sun exposure in the field, without the need for complex tables or graphs.

Iphone Version of video

Helios operates in 3 modes:

HelioMeter is a graphical representation of the sun's position on a compass dial (azimuth) for any time of day, showing the sun's elevation and proportional length of shadow an object would cast.

SkyView is an overall view of the sun's path in the sky through the day

Inclinometer View predicts the sun's height at any given time in the day. Essentially an electronic inclinometer that reads in both time and angle.

Raw Data view provides numerical information where figures are preferable.

Helios has an internal database of over 30,000 locations around the world, providing longitude, latitude, timezone and daylight savings information. There is an ability to save favorite locations and add the current location from GPS data (where a signal is available). Core functionality is not reliant on cellphone reception. Likewise Helios will work on the iPod Touch though you have to select a nearest location from the database or manually enter the GPS coordinates.

Utilizing algorithms created by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and The National Geophysical Data Center to predict the sun's movement (including nutation offsets) and magnetic declination, Helios is accurate to a tiny fraction of a degree.

If you have any questions, notice any bugs, or have any feature requests, please don't hesitate to email us. If you find a good bug we'll credit you and if it's a really good suggestion we'll refund the cost of your app. Can't say fairer than that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Digital Boom Angle Indicator

Rieker's Digital Boom Angle Indicator Remote Inclinometer Package (model RDSR3-BA-09) is an extension of the RDI series of digital inclinometers. The RDSR3 is supplied as a calibrated set featuring an environmentally sealed measurement sensor package and a separate LCD display box (connected by an interface available in various lengths). All of the standard RDI features have been incorporated into this remote sensing package, modified specifically to comply with OSHA and other safety regulatory agencies specifications for Boom Angle Indicators.

  • Nema 4 rugged Aluminum housing, remote box NEMA 4.
  • Industrial Temperature Compensation for accuracy over -20/+70ºC;

  • Angle range from -10 to +90º
  • Backlit LCD Display Resolution of 0.1º

  • Adjustable LED trip settings.

  • Accommodating 8-30VDC non-regulated power supply

  • Military Style Amphenol Circular Connectors for interface cable
  • Rieker Boom Angle and Tilt / Level Indicators Comply with Current OSHA Standard 1926.550

The LCD displays angle in degrees with 0.1° resolution. The display model comes standard with green, yellow, and red LEDs (fully adjustable trip setting) provide the operator a bright fast visual warning of safe and unsafe operating conditions. The green light indicates safe operating zone, yellow as the early warning zone, and red as the danger zone. An optional audible alarm model is also available - the red LED on the front panel display is tied directly to the buzzer.

The digital display model also provides relative zero and min/max functions. The relative zero allows the operator to temporarily zero the digital readout to obtain relative slope changes. The min/max function provides the smallest and largest angle the device has sensed since the last reset.

The remote box has built in mounting feet for easy field installation and zero calibration.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Accuracy vs. Resolution

the often confusing but important difference with digital display inclinometers

In mechanical testing and measurement, it is often important to understand how an object reacts to various forces. An inclinometer is commonly used to measure tilt, or the amount of inclination of an object in relation to gravity. When using an inclinometer, you mount the sensor to the device, apply tilt, and measure the incline by detecting changes in a certain output.

One type of output, via LCD digital display, provides an interpretation of angle based on the sensor output being sampled by a microprocessor - which in turn calculates an angle and presents it (typically) by a series of numbers (00.00º). With digital displays, these numbers are what is considered the resolution or number of decimal places the angle is represented. If the LCD is displaying 25.1º, this indicates an angle resolution in tenths of a degree (25.01º represents an angle resolution in the hundredths of a degree). This is not what determines the accuracy specification of the device.

Ideally, we would like the output of the inclinometer to change only in response to the tilting action. However, the sensor also responds to changes in temperature. Temperature related effects are the most common causes of error.

Accuracy depends on the expected temperature range of the installation. It is a combination of initial sets of sensor zero offset and sensitivity, sensor linearity, hysteresis, repeatability, and the temperature drifts of zero and sensitivity. Typically in room ambient conditions the accuracy is limited to the sensor linearity spec. So a digital inclinometer with LCD display indicating 0.1º resolution does not equate to a 0.1º of accuracy (a very tight accuracy spec) - this should be considered a major question when looking at digital display inclinometers.

If you have any questions on this subject, feel free to contact me directly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PUMP-OFF Control, an Inclinometer Application for Oil Field Industry


The level of technology offered by Pump-Off Controllers has reached a point of maturity that justifies application in most areas implementing artificial lift with beam pumps. The Cost savings offered by POCs is thoroughly proven, and economic analysis usually indicates system pay out within one to two years. In addition, equipment has been operating in a number of environments worldwide for over a decade.

Pump-off Controllers are micro-processor-based devices capable of autonomous operation, and are primarily applied in conjunction with sucker rod pumps. Controllers monitor for pump down conditions, defined as the state when fluid in a reservoir is insufficient to warrant continued pumping. When fluid falls below a certain level, pumps are shut down until those levels are restored. Allowing pumps to run only when sufficient fluid is available for lift provides clear advantages, including efficient use of Energy, minimal maintenance costs and optimum production.

The methods used by pump-off controller to attain those advantages vary, and most units use one or a combination of a number of system variables. Units can be configured to monitor:

  • Production flow;
  • Motor amperage draw;
  • Well load only, which is detected by using strain gauges; and
  • Load versus position, which combines strain gauge sensors with beam position monitoring devices to allow traditional dynagraph card creation.

Figure A illustrates typical techniques used to monitor these variables. Advanced POCs support provisions for telemetry to a master computer station, enabling all well parameters and control functions to be handled remotely. Furthermore, a single controller can be employed to control one or a number of wells at any one time.

One major oil company has been involved with computerized pump off control work since the late 1970's. Employing a variety of methods in the Permian Basin in West Texas through the years, fields have realized noticeable success utilizing a system based solely on load and position. Both single and multiple-well devices using a combination of radio and hard-wired cable communications have been installed. Figure B depicts a composite field application.

Load Monitoring

Load can be derived by two types of strain gauge transducers (or Load Cells) mounted either on beams or polish rods. Load Cells mounted on walking beam indirectly determine load through beam stress, while polish rod version measure the weight of the rod strings and fluid columns. Beam-mounted cells suffer minimum damage from well workover crews, since cable can be routed out of the way and cells do not have to be removed.

The constant movement of the beam has little or no effect. On the downside, temperature effects on the walking beam can be very pronounced, placing the burden of adjustment on the electronic package. Also, because the fundamental technique is indirect, it is inherently less accurate than a direct approach.

Polish Rod-mounted cells, on one hand, have to be removed during workover, require running cables somewhat obtrusively from the frame, and are under the constant grinding, sometimes pounding, action of the girdle. On the other hand, superior accuracy permits eventual processing by sophisticated computer analysis programs. Either type of cell functions suitably for simple pump-off control activity.

The position of the beam can be derived by using a proximity switch to monitor counterweights, a resistive pot mounted underneath the I beam, or an inclinometer mounted directly to the walking beam. Proximity switches are sufficient for low cost controllers, although POC systems based on proximity switches tend to assume that upstrokes and downstrokes are of equal duration. Of course, that is rarely the case.

Resistive pots have limited lifetimes, frequently rated at 1,000,000 rotations. For a rod pump running at six strokes a minute, resistive pot failure can occur in as little as four months. Inclinometers, while costing slightly more, have a virtually unlimited lifetime, which generally justifies the added expense.

<ready more>

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tilt Indicators Beyond the Great Wall of China!

Rieker Incorporated, Aston, PA, USA: As part of our continued world wide growth strategy, we have recently provided representation directly in China and the Far East.

The Rieker Far East Office will now be able to facilitate direct contract negotiations and handling all dealings involving China's rapidly growing industrial market places. "These markets," said Skip Gosnell, Rieker's Marketing Director, "include but limited to those that utilize rugged accurate inclinometers - electronic and mechanical for construction and lift equipment, OEMs and end users, Government agencies and contractors."

Rieker Inc is a leading manufacturer and distributor of rugged accurate inclinometers - electronic and mechanical - world wide. Established in 1917, Rieker continues to introduce tilt indicating instruments that are considered "standards" in the industry.

For additional information please contact the marketing department at or call 610-500-2000.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Dual Axis MEMs Based Inclinometer

Rieker Incorporated Introduces the New Dual Axis MEMs based inclinometer to the H4 Series

The H4PD sensor provides dual axis inclination sensing in a rugged environmentally protected housing. This unit incorporates a MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) sensing element referenced to gravity with integrated temperature compensation over the industrial operating range of –40º to +85ºC. The PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) output is linear with respect to the input angle directly.

Small dimensions and common footprint make it easy for field replacement.

The housing footprint is designed for retrofitting in the field without re-drilling mounting holes (common placement of center and slider flanges).


  • Dual Axis Angle Measurement
  • Digital Pulse Width Modulated Output

  • Range: ±22º
  • Temperature Compensated Output
  • Operating Temperature -40/+85ºC (-40/+185ºF)
  • Vibration and shock resistant
  • Environmentally sealed to IP66
  • Rugged die-cast zinc housing
  • EMC protected
  • Mechanical Zero adjustment


  • Leveling and Tilt/Slope Monitoring
  • Platform Leveling


  • Material Handling/Process Control Equipment
  • Aerial Lifts
  • Scissor Lifts
  • Boom Lifts

  • Cranes and Derricks
  • Lift Equipment/Vehicles

OEM Ready

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Determination of P-Y Curves Using Inclinometer Data

Abstract: Derivation of p-y curves from lateral load tests on deep foundations is a tedious and expensive task, requiring large numbers of strain gages along the length of the pile to develop bending moment versus depth relationships. A method is proposed which allows derivation of p-y curves from simple inclinometer data using a least-squares regression technique. Inclinometer measurements can and have been routinely made on lateral load tests of piles and drilled shafts. The method outlined in this paper provides a means of “calibrating” p-y curves using data from tests where only inclinometer data are available and promises to allow a substantial improvement in the database of load tests from which the empirical p-y curves used in design are based.

Keywords: piles, lateral loads, load tests, p-y curves, instrumentation

Determination of P-Y Curves Using Inclinometer Data
Brown, DA
Assistant professor, Auburn University, AL

Hidden, SA
Project engineer, Ground Engineering and Testing Service, Inc., AL

Zhang, S
Graduate student, Auburn University, AL

Paper ID: GTJ10087J
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ10087J
ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Inclinometer: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An inclinometer or clinometer is an instrument for measuring angles of slope (or tilt), elevation or inclination of an object with respect to gravity. It is also known as a tilt meter, tilt indicator, slope alert, slope gauge, gradient meter, gradiometer, level gauge, level meter, declinometer, and pitch & roll indicator. Clinometers measure both inclines (positive slopes, as seen by an observer looking upwards) and declines (negative slopes, as seen by an observer looking downward).


Early inclinometers include examples such as Well's inclinometer, the essential parts of which are a flat side, or base, on which it stands, and a hollow disk just half filled with some heavy liquid. The glass face of the disk is surrounded by a graduated scale that marks the angle at which the surface of the liquid stands, with reference to the flat base. The line 0.——0. being parallel to the base, when the liquid stands on that line, the flat side is horizontal; the line 90.——90. being perpendicular to the base, when the liquid stands on that line, the flat side is perpendicular or plumb. Intervening angles are marked, and, by the aid of simple conversion tables, the instrument indicates the rate of fall per set distance of horizontal measurement, and set distance of the sloping line.

The earliest electronic inclinometers used a weight, an extension, and a potentiometer. Early in the 1900's (circa 1917) precision curved glass tubes filled with a damping liquid and steel ball were introduced to provide accurate visual angle indication. Common sensor technologies for electronic tilt sensors and inclinometers are accelerometer, liquid capacitive, electrolytic, gas bubble in liquid, and pendulum. MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology is becoming the new standard due to their tiny size and low cost.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Automatic car crash call system created "SAVE"

STATESBORO, Ga., Feb. 11 (UPI) --

U.S. scientists say they are creating a Java-enabled car accident reporting system that would call for help automatically after a crash occurs.

Often in a rollover accident, the driver and passengers are unable to call for help, the researchers said. So, unless the accident occurs on a busy road, rescue is unlikely to arrive quickly.

Now Debopam Acharya and colleagues at Georgia Southern University are developing a system that will determine the nature of an accident and automatically call emergency medical services for possible action.

Prompt communication is crucial during life-threatening events, such as fire, floods, explosions and traffic accidents, and is especially true for vehicle rollovers and crashes, Acharya said, noting such situations can be even more dangerous for military personnel during training or maneuvers off-road and in remote locations.

The system called SAVE uses inexpensive sensor technology, including an inclinometer to detect rollover, and powerful wireless technology to assess vehicle conditions. The researchers said it can monitor vehicle incline, temperature, deceleration and airbag deployment. SAVE is also coupled to a global positioning system device so emergency services can locate the accident quickly.

The research is detailed in the International Journal of Intelligent Defense Support Systems.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International
All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Apple iPhone is the coolest, and keeps getting cooler

Apple is highlighting some of the apps on its App Store via video ads posted to the Apple Web site.

The App Store has become a place of innovation for developers who want to showcase their work while making money, a place to find amusing apps -- and a place that just might make your life easier.

This one is especially cool!

For those iPhone owners who want to measure and find just the right level, Apple has introduced the MultiLevel application, which turns an iPhone into a level with three choices of levels: A surface level, a bubble level, and an inclinometer.

for the entire article>>>

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Golf Range Finder with built-in Inclinometer

Bushnell Outdoor Products has introduced the Tour V2 with Slope, a laser rangefinder that delivers performance for players seeking the exact distance to uphill or downhill targets. Bushnell says the Tour V2 with Slope is accurate within a yard. The original Tour V2, introduced early in 2008, is a vertically configured version of Bushnell's line of laser rangefinders that boasts golf-grip touch points for enhanced feel and stability. Similar to the PinSeeker 1500 Slope Edition, the Tour V2 features a built-in inclinometer to provide the player with a compensated distance based upon the degree of incline or decline. It is capable of ranging up to 300 yards to the flagstick and 700 to trees without the need for reflectors. Other product features include: five-times magnification, SCAN mode, in-view LCD display, adjustable eyepiece, multi-coated optics, built-in tripod mount, three-volt battery included. Call 913-752-6105 or visit

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Students Calculate Heights Using an Inclinometer

Math students calculate heights of buildings

Hendersonville Elementary School students Ronnie Monroe, 10, left, Branden Edney, 11, and Martin Zambrano, 10, use an inclinometer to measure the height of buildings on Main Street Hendersonville on Friday. They and other students were working on a math project for school.

By John Harbin
Times-News Staff Writer
Published: Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 4:30 a.m.

If you were walking around downtown on Friday afternoon, you may have noticed children in red shirts measuring the ground and peering into paper tubes, then frantically writing down calculations.

Students from Kerry Stewart’s class spent the afternoon along Main Street figuring out how tall the buildings were. “The children are measuring buildings to see what the height of the building is,” said teaching assistant Rebecca Dinsmore. “Each student is using an inclinometer they made.”

With their inclinometer — a paper tube with a protractor attached and a piece of string — the students peer at the top of the building and use the measurements to determine its height.

“They measure the distance from where they are standing, and they can determine the height of the building without having to climb the building,” Dinsmore said. Eleven-year-old Frances Coss said she had fun measuring with her friend, Folline. “We learned that the city has a height limit of 80 feet,” she said. “We were trying to see if that was true.”

Coss’ friend, Folline Williford, 11, said the project was fun. “Except when we had to stand in the middle of the road,” she said. Williford explained that the students measured 500 centimeters from the building, then used their inclinometers to determine the height. Adam Dunaway, 10, said he thought it was cool learning the heights of the buildings.

All of the students’ hard work will be compiled and entered into the school’s upcoming math fair in February.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

3-Axis Level Bubble for Cameras

...a random flash of genius from Brando


I don't really know the inner workings of renowned crapgadget manufacturer Brando. I assume, much like Family Guy episodes, their products are composed by a tank full of playful manatees, dunking balls featuring random gadget features through hoops according to their strange under-seacow whims. Most of the time what they come up with is crap, but every so often, they come up with a good one.

And this is that good one: a three-axis bubble mount that fits into the flash bulb socket of your camera. Sure, for most shots outside of wedding and school pictures, mathematically perfect levelness isn't terribly important if you've got the other fundamentals right. But for $11, this could go into your camera bag without a single wince of regret, just in case.

3-Axis Bubble Level [Brando via Oh Gizmo]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Industrial Product Profiles - Boom Angle Indicators

Boom Angle Indicators - as listed on The Portal of Industrial Products Finder web site, India,, a nice industry product finder search

Indicating and Recording Instruments

Rieker's popular 4120 Model "ball in tube" style boom angle indicators (or inclinometer) are now available in a highly visible backlit model for increased visibility (Model 4120wwl-12v available in right and left hand versions)!
These units are not effected by outdoor elements. These are made tough (100% Polycarbonate) and will not rust, freeze, or otherwise "hang up" like old-fashioned pendulum styles. Like all of Rieker's instruments, each indicator is properly dampened for smooth reliable readings. These are designed to be easily mounted with two screws, which allows for quick and efficient retrofitting in the field. The unique design allows viewing from the operator cab (below), spotter (on side), and above.
Commonly used on cranes, derricks, fire trucks with boom ladders, off-road lift or fork vehicles, or any equipment where boom angle indication is a must! Boom angle indicators are used in tandem with the manufactures load chart to provide a guide for safe operating conditions.

Rieker, Inc.
34, Mount Pleasant Road
City: Aston, PA 19014, USA
Phone: +610- 500-2000, +800-497-4523
Fax: +610- 500-2002