HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Device Orientation API
Accelerometers, gyroscopes, and compasses are now commonplace in mobile devices
and laptops. With the Device Orientation API, you can capture movements at an ex‐
tremely fine-grained level, receiving exact details on the motion and acceleration of the
Conceptually, an accelerometer behaves as a damped mass on a spring. When the ac‐
celerometer experiences an acceleration, the mass is displaced to the point that the
spring is able to accelerate the mass at the same rate as the casing. The displacement is
then measured to give the acceleration.
With applications ranging from military-based inertial guidance systems to tracking
animals to measuring earthquakes and aftershocks, orientation hardware has been in
use for quite some time. Now you have the opportunity to add this functionality to your
applications to enhance how devices are tracked and interact with your user interface.
It's time to move beyond using the Device Orientation API only for games and simple
To begin, you need to understand the basics of the API and handling the measurements
in JavaScript. The first DOM event provided by the specification, deviceorientation ,
supplies the physical orientation of the device, expressed as a series of rotations from a
local coordinate frame. Here's a simple check to see if this browser supports the Devi
ceOrientationEvent object:
supports_orientation : function () {
try {
return 'DeviceOrientationEvent' in
window && window [ 'DeviceOrientationEvent' ] !== null
} catch ( e ) {
return false ;
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