The word gyroscope was initially termed in 1852 by Mr. Foucault. Mr Foucault was a french scientist. ‘Gyroscope’ is the combination of two greek words ‘Gyro’ and ‘Scopien’. Gyro in greek means revolution and skopien means view. The Gyroscope is commonly known as Gyro also.
The existence of Gyroscope lies on this earth from the time when the first ever electron started to spin on its axis. There are many examples of a natural gyroscope in the real world. The electrons around us spin at a very high speed and possess all the properties of a Gyroscope. Our Earth, infact, is also an example of the natural gyroscope. Why ?? It is because our Earth has got a mass and it rotates at an extremely high speed (1000 miles/hour). It is this rotation which provides the stabilization to the Earth and so our Earth’s north pole always points towards the North Star.
In view of the above, we can say that any highly spinning object which has a mass is primarily a gyroscope. for example – a fast spinning wheel, a fired bullet, propeller of a plane’s thrust engine. But if we become a little bit more strict to the fundamentals, we can say that a gyroscope is a mechanism which has a quite high spinning speed, mass and three degrees of freedom. “Three degree of freedom” means that the gyroscope is free to take any position in space. However, in particular the three degrees of freedom can be listed as :–
- It should be able to rotate on its axis. As the name suggests, This axis is commonly referred as Spin axis.
- It should be able to drift on the Vertical axis.
- It should be able to tilt on the Horizontal axis.
When we discuss about the basic properties of a Gyroscope, it should follow two foremost properties:
- Rigidity in Space : The property of ‘Rigidity in space’ defines that a highly spinning body always tends to maintain its initial direction until unless an external force is applied to it.
- Rule of Precision : The property of ‘Rule of Precision’ defines that when an external force is applied to a highly spinning body, it always tends to move 90 degree towards the direction of applied force.