[Physics] Describing a motion of gyroscope with gimbal

angular momentumgyroscopesnewtonian-mechanicsrotational-dynamics

Can you tell be how to set the equations to describe the motion of this machine
in movie "Contact":


This is gyroscope with gimbal, am I right?

Best Answer

As pointed out in the comments, the 'machine' in the movie Contact is just the gimbal part without the gyroscope. The point of this gimbal is to allow the thing being held at the center to be completely free to rotate in all directions. So, if they are working well they have no effect on the system except in the translational degrees of freedom, and they therefore don't contribute to the equations of motion in the rotational degrees of freedom while keeping the object rigidly fixed in the translational degrees of freedom.

They often have a gyroscope placed in the center which acts as an absolute reference due to conservation of angular momentum. The idea is that if you mount one to a plane, for instance, you can know which way the plane is pointing regardless of your ability to see any external references.

If you want to experience what it is like to be inside one of these gimbals, there is a carnival ride which I often see (pictured below) based on putting you inside a three axis gimbal and setting you spinning.

Gyro Ride Pic

Related Question