HowTo: Measure a Vehicle’s Performance with a USB Accelerometer

Ever wonder how to measure a vehicle’s performance using an accelerometer in a high level programming language? Well, Mike Harkabus has just put together a nice tutorial (with source) on Microsoft’s Coding4Fun Blog that explains how to do so. Called iAccelerate, “using basic physics equations, we can derive a vehicle’s current speed, distance traveled, horsepower, and other performance metrics from the acceleration of the vehicle”, all of which is written in Visual C# Express.

iAccelerate Form 1

iAccelerate Form 2

Since the Express languages are free, you can put this entire project together all for the price of the accelerometer (given that you have a vehicle to test and a laptop of course). The accelerometer used in this this tutorial is the Phidget 2-axis accelerometer, which happens to be under $70.

4 Responses to “HowTo: Measure a Vehicle’s Performance with a USB Accelerometer”

  1. Bob Mottram says:

    If it could return angular acceleration and calculate changes in orientation that would be very useful – effectively a low cost IMU.

  2. matt says:

    There are also lowcost ways to build GPS aps for vehicle tracking that many people don’t know about.

  3. GPS Guru says:

    Has anybody tried the Trackstick?

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