Gyroscopes measure how fast it is turning. Also called a Gyro, they are commonly used for navigation. By tracking how fast and which way a robot is turning, they can determine the direction your robot is facing.
The quickest way to demonstrate a Gyro is to plug one into a VEX IQ robot. The programs built-in to the Robot Brain will automatically detect the gyro and start using it. The Driver Program will remember the robot's direction when it is turned on. Drive your robot around and when you stop, the Gyro will help it turn back to it's original direction.
The best use for a gyro is to make accurate turns. If you want a robot to drive to a location then turn around and return to the same spot, you will need to move an accurate distance, turn exactly 180 degrees, then drive back the same distance. Gyro's make the turn very accurate. The encoders in the Motor Modules help by accurately moving a specific number of turns.
The VEX IQ Gyro Sensor uses a Texas Instruments MSP430 microcontroller running at 16 MHz to process requests and calculate angles. The MSP430 communicates with the latest MEMS Gyroscope across a very high speed 10 MHz SPI bus. The MEMS gyro measures rotation rate with 16 bit resolution. The data is filtered and tracked over time to determine the angle. All this technology works together to make a smart gyroscope that is simple, flexible, and powerful.