Instrument that measures acceleration. Because it is difficult to measure acceleration directly, the device measures the force exerted by restraints placed on a reference mass to hold its position fixed in an accelerating body. The output is usually either a varying electrical voltage or displacement of a moving pointer over a fixed scale. Specially designed accelerometers are used in varied applications: control of industrial vibration test equipment, detection of earthquakes (seismographs), and input to navigational and inertial guidance systems.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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