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Freefalling laptop

  1. May 11, 2010 #1
    An object in gravitational freefall cannot sense its own acceleration. As you know some laptops come with hard-disk protection that 'seizes up' the hard-disk when the laptop takes a tumble from your table. How do the sensors in the laptop detect it is falling?
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2010 #2


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    The accelerometer in the laptop senses the acceleration that the laptop is experiencing. When it is sitting on your desk, the accelerometer senses a constant 9.8 m/s^2 acceleration from the Earth's gravity. When it is in freefall, the accelerometer senses no acceleration, as you said. It is the sudden disappearance of the normal 9.8 m/s^2 gravitational acceleration that the laptop senses.
  4. May 11, 2010 #3
    Excellent answer! :cool:
    Last edited: May 12, 2010
  5. May 12, 2010 #4


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    Meaning that you can't use this kind of laptop on a space flight... :smile:
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