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I have an HP Pavilion DM3 notebook, running Debian Squeeze GNU/Linux (although I doubt that's relevant to my question). Browsing through the device manager listing, I found an entry for an "ST LIS3LV02DL Accelerometer."

What is this actually for? And can I do anything really nifty with it?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's for HDD protection I guess. If it detects high speed movement (ie: gets out of the safe zone), the HDD stops and it prevents the HDD from the damage. Pretty nice. (Like if you drop your laptop...for example, you will be able to recover all the data most likely.)

However, as far as I know it only works with Windows, since it needs a userspace application also. On Linux, only ThinkPad supports it (thinkpad-acpi comes with recent kernels). Guess on Windows you would have a driver/app for this on your notebook.

Basically now the HDD protection is off, you can play with it.. like..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIFdGQNf0-c
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NzmEkwynmo

Of course there are no limits. You only have to learn how to code and write an app which uses this accelerometer out. Just think about what kind of apps/games are avaliable for the iPhone.

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yeah when acceleration = g, the HDD is powered off –  segfault Jun 6 '10 at 13:55
    
That... is... awesome. –  detly Jun 7 '10 at 14:22
    
If anyone needs me, I'll be writing a theremin. –  detly Jun 7 '10 at 14:22
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It is indeed for protecting your hard drive. If the accelerometer detects the laptop is suddenly in free-fall, it will disengage the read head, significantly reducing the chance of your hdd being destroyed in the fall.

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Aren't read head and write head the same physical device? :) –  whitequark Jun 6 '10 at 13:03
    
@whitequark: I don't know why I've always called it the read head rather than read/write head, but yes. –  Phoshi Jun 6 '10 at 15:29
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