Six Tilt Sensors to Build Robots

A tilt sensor is used in robotics to measure tilt angle with ground plane reference. This type of sensors are used in industry, service robots, and others fields like smartphones, games, or aircrafts.
Even a robot uses legs or wheels for movement the inclination should be measured for many times every second for the robot to maintain its constant position.
A tilt sensor uses one, two, or three axes to measure the inclination, and depending on sensors uses, the accuracy may vary from sensor to sensor.
The accuracy is also influenced by many factors including the temperature, gravity, vibration, shock, acceleration/deceleration, and many others type of noise.

1. DFRobot Tilt Sensor

DFRobot Tilt Sensor

Built by DFRobot, this digital sensor is one of the most popular sensor used to measure the tilt of the robot. With a digital interface the sensor is specially designed to be integrated with Arduino platform.
The only disadvantage of this sensor is that it works with mercury. Mercury is a hazardous substance and must be treated as such. Working with the sensor can be dangerous in certain situations.
Digital output of the sensor is directly proportional with the number of mercury switches.
The price for a single sensor is approximately 3.2 EUR ($4.50).

Specifications

  • Digital mercury-based tilt switch;
  • Arduino compatible;
  • Can be used as a simple tilt sensor;
  • Comes with a digital sensor cable;

2. 4-Directional Tilt Sensor

4-Directional Tilt Sensor

4-Directional sensor is build for tilt measurement but also could be used to replace an acceleration sensor.
Used to control the robot motion, the sensor incorporates an alarm that triggers in case that some parameters are achieved.
Output is analog and the connection to a microcontroller is an easy task.
To maintain accuracy within normal parameters the sensor can work at a temperature between 0 to 50 °C(32 to 122 °F).
The price is about 3.5 EUR($4.99).

Specifications:

  • Small 6-pin DIP packaging with breadboard-friendly 0.1” pin spacing;
  • Easy communication with any microcontroller;
  • 2-pin high/low output for four sensor states;
  • Power requirements: 3 to 5.5 VDC;
  • Operating temp range: 0 to 50 °C(32 to 122 °F);

3. Zhichuan Electronics ZCT245AN-TTL Two-Axis

Zhichuan Electronics ZCT245AN-TTL Two-Axis

Created by Zhichuan Electronics, the ZCT245AN-TTL sensor can measure the tilt between -45 and +45 degrees. This measurement range can be extended up to 60 degrees.
With reduced dimensions and weight, the sensor is easy to use and integrated. The communication with a computer could be done via TTL half-duplex way.
The price for a single unit is about 57EUR ($80).

Specifications:

  • Measuring Range: ±45 degrees;
  • Resolution: 0.1 degrees;
  • Repeatability: 0.3 degrees;
  • Accuracy: (within ±45 degrees): <0.5 degrees;
  • Operating Voltage: 5V DC;
  • Operating Current: <20mA;

4. RPI-1031 Tilt-a-Whirl Breakout

RPI-1031 Tilt-a-Whirl Breakout

Created by Sparkfun, the RPI-1031 sensor can measure the tilt on the four directions. Whether the robot moves forward, back, left or right, the sensor measure tilt with a high precision.
With a price of approximately 5 EUR($6.99) RPI-1031 is one of the most powerful sensor which can be used to measure the inclination of a robot. Is flat and can be integrated easily into any robot structure.

Specifications:

  • Work at either 3.3V or 5V;
  • 4-direction Tilt Sensor;
  • Dimensions: 3.9 x 3.9 x 2.4 mm;

5. SCA100T Inclinometers


With a very small response time and a high precision, CXTILT02E can measure the tilt at a maximum angle between the horizontal from -90 and +90 degrees.
The sensor has digital output for a quick connection to a computer and can operate at a temperatures between -25 to 85°C. To measure tilt the sensor used two axes.

6. Tilt sensor for Pob robots

Tilt sensor for Pob robots

Specially designed for Pob technology robots, this sensorcan measure a tilt between -60 and +60 degrees. With a response time less than <0.5 seconds and a resolution of 0.1 degrees, makes from this sensor one of the most performing. The output is analog, and the price for a single sensor is about 41 EUR (57 USD).