Project tutorial
Getting started with IMU (6 DOF) motion sensor

Getting started with IMU (6 DOF) motion sensor © GPL3+

A step-by-step tutorial for interfacing an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) sensor with an Arduino and reading the Yaw, Pitch & Roll values.

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Components and supplies

About this project

Today we will study about the best available IMU (Inertia Measurement Unit) sensor and find out how it can be interfaced with an Arduino. Later in our next tutorial we shall try and visualise the motion sensing in 3D. 

IMU sensor module that we'll be using is centered around an MPU-6050 sensor.

The MPU-6050 devices combine a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer on the same silicon die, together with an onboard Digital Motion Processor™ (DMP™), which processes complex 6-axis MotionFusion algorithms.

These MotionTracking devices are designed for the low power, low cost, and high-performance requirements of smartphones, tablets and wearable sensors.

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Stuffs that you require:


1) Arduino UNO

2) MPU 6050 sensor

3) Connecting Wires

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Communication Protocol: This IMU sensor communicates with the Arduino using I2C Bus Protocol.

You can work on accelerometers and gyroscopes separately, but they are not as accurate as this combined module.

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Now, let's move on to the wiring diagram and the connection profile.

Refer to any of these 2 figures below for connection.

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if (typeof(lightBoxImages) == 'undefined') { lightBoxImages = {}; } lightBoxImages['ly4p'] = [{ URL: '', caption: 'Fig (5) : CONNECTION DIAGRAM (tutorial 2)', type: 'image' }];

If you are facing problems with the above figures,don't panic..... 

Go through the Connection Pin Profile below:

Connect 5V [IMU MPU-6050] to VCC [ARDUINO] 

Connect SDA [IMU MPU-6050] to Analog IN (A4) [ARDUINO] 

Connect SCL [IMU MPU-6050] to Analog IN (A5) [ARDUINO] 

Connect GND [IMU MPU-6050] to GND [ARDUINO]

Connect INTPIN [IMU MPU-6050] to  Pin 2 (Digital PWM pin) [ARDUINO]

if (typeof(lightBoxImages) == 'undefined') { lightBoxImages = {}; } lightBoxImages['WKXX'] = [{ URL: '', caption: 'Fig (6) : Zoomed view of the MPU sensor', type: 'image' }];
if (typeof(lightBoxImages) == 'undefined') { lightBoxImages = {}; } lightBoxImages['LxGE'] = [{ URL: '', caption: 'Fig (7) : Complete setup [refer Fig (4)]', type: 'image' }];

Here, if your MPU 6050 module has a 5V pin, then you can connect it to your arduino’s 5V pin. Else, you will have to connect it to the 3.3V pin in order to avoid any over-voltage issues. 

So now that we have setup the hardware, its time to program the Arduino .

Firstly, in order to test the MPU 6050,click on this link and download the arduino library for MPU 6050. There's a zip folder named "". Download the folder and extract its contents. After doing so, copy the library folder "MPU6050"  and paste it inside the library folder of Arduino. That is, you have to go to the location where the "libraries" folder of Arduino is present and then, simply paste this "MPU6050" folder inside it.

Next, you need to download another library ,named "" (if not previously installed) and paste it inside Arduino's library in the same way as the previous one.

So now, in the "libraries" folder of Arduino, we have two new entities. (Fig: 8 )

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Now, click on the arduino IDE and see if these new libraries are visible (Fig (9). 

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Before including these libraries in your sketch, you need to fetch the code for MPU6050. Refer to Fig (10)

(File > Examples > MPU6050 > Examples > MPU6050_DMP6). Click on this "MPU6050_DMP6" file.

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Next, include the libraries "I2Cdev" and "MPU6050" in this sketch [Fig (11)].

if (typeof(lightBoxImages) == 'undefined') { lightBoxImages = {}; } lightBoxImages['MLgV'] = [{ URL: '', caption: 'Fig (11) : Sketch alongwith libraries', type: 'image' }];

After having followed all steps, COMPILE the sketch [Fig (12)].

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Now, the final step remains...

If you  notice that below right-hand corner of this window, the message says "Arduino/Genuino Uno on COM1" , ensure if its correct. If not refer [Fig (14)]. Don't click on the Serial Monitor now. Only after uploading the sketch [as in Fig (13)], go to the next steps.

You must ensure that the right port is assigned every time you connect your Arduino.

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Confused with this new window?? Well, that's your output screen. Technically speaking, we call it as the Serial Monitor. That's where we read our values from different sensors.

STEP:        Tools > Serial Monitor     or,    Shortcut Key (Ctrl + Shift + M) 

if (typeof(lightBoxImages) == 'undefined') { lightBoxImages = {}; } lightBoxImages['z6Gk'] = [{ URL: '', caption: 'Fig (14) : Steps to assign the right port and board', type: 'image' }];

If you face issues with uploading the sketch, even though you selected the right-ports. Click on this link (for Windows users). For Mac users, refer to the guide. Linux users refer to this webpage for guidance.

if (typeof(lightBoxImages) == 'undefined') { lightBoxImages = {}; } lightBoxImages['rk2v'] = [{ URL: '', caption: 'Fig (15) : Select the proper baud-rate and enter any random number. Here, I\'ve entered \"2\"', type: 'image' }];

After uploading the code, open the serial-monitor and change the “baud-rate” to 115200. If you select any other baud rates then you will see garbage comments because those won’t be in sync. NOTE: 8MHz or slower host processors, like the Teensy @ 3.3v or Ardunio Pro Mini running at 3.3v, cannot handle this baud rate reliably due to the baud timing being too misaligned with processor ticks. You must use 38400 or slower in these cases, or use some kind of external separate crystal solution for the UART timer.

If you don’t see this statement “Initializing I2C devices…” on your screen,then press the RESET button. It should work now. [Fig (15)]

KNOWLEDGECORNER >>You will see a line reading “Send any character to begin DMP programming and demo:” What is DMP??

Ans: DMP stands for Digital Motion Processing. The Invense’s MPU 6050 has an inbuilt motion processor. It processes the values from the accelerometer and gyroscope to give us accurate 3D values ; i.e Yaw , Pitch and Roll. [Fig (16)]

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KNOWLEDGECORNER >> We saw that the communication between the sensor and arduino is based on I2C Bus protocol . Likewise,we also included an I2C library in this project. do you know,what I2C stands for?

Ans : The I2C bus physically consists of 2 active wires and a ground connection. The active wires, called SDA and SCL, are both bi-directional. SDA is the Serial DAta line, and SCL is the Serial CLock line. Every device hooked up to the bus has its own unique address, no matter whether it is an MCU, LCD driver, memory, or ASIC. Each of these chips can act as a receiver and/or transmitter, depending on the functionality. Obviously, an LCD driver is only a receiver, while a memory or I/O chip can be both transmitter and receiver.The I2C bus is a multi-master bus. This means that more than one IC capable of initiating a data transfer can be connected to it. The I2C protocol specification states that the IC that initiates a data transfer on the bus is considered the Bus Master. Consequently, at that time, all the other ICs are regarded to be Bus Slaves.As bus masters are generally microcontrollers, here for instance, the bus master is ArduinoUno. Likewise,the MPU sensor is the Bus Slave.

Visualise the motion in 3D in my next tutorial. Click here

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Arduino code for MPU sensorArduino

// I2Cdev and MPU6050 must be installed as libraries, or else the .cpp/.h files
// for both classes must be in the include path of your project
#include "I2Cdev.h"

#include "MPU6050_6Axis_MotionApps20.h"
//#include "MPU6050.h" // not necessary if using MotionApps include file

// Arduino Wire library is required if I2Cdev I2CDEV_ARDUINO_WIRE implementation
// is used in I2Cdev.h
    #include "Wire.h"

// class default I2C address is 0x68
// specific I2C addresses may be passed as a parameter here
// AD0 low = 0x68 (default for SparkFun breakout and InvenSense evaluation board)
// AD0 high = 0x69
MPU6050 mpu;
//MPU6050 mpu(0x69); // <-- use for AD0 high

/* =========================================================================
   NOTE: In addition to connection 3.3v, GND, SDA, and SCL, this sketch
   depends on the MPU-6050's INT pin being connected to the Arduino's
   external interrupt #0 pin. On the Arduino Uno and Mega 2560, this is
   digital I/O pin 2.
 * ========================================================================= */

/* =========================================================================
   NOTE: Arduino v1.0.1 with the Leonardo board generates a compile error
   when using Serial.write(buf, len). The Teapot output uses this method.
   The solution requires a modification to the Arduino USBAPI.h file, which
   is fortunately simple, but annoying. This will be fixed in the next IDE
   release. For more info, see these links:,109987.0.html
 * ========================================================================= */

// uncomment "OUTPUT_READABLE_QUATERNION" if you want to see the actual
// quaternion components in a [w, x, y, z] format (not best for parsing
// on a remote host such as Processing or something though)

// uncomment "OUTPUT_READABLE_EULER" if you want to see Euler angles
// (in degrees) calculated from the quaternions coming from the FIFO.
// Note that Euler angles suffer from gimbal lock (for more info, see

// uncomment "OUTPUT_READABLE_YAWPITCHROLL" if you want to see the yaw/
// pitch/roll angles (in degrees) calculated from the quaternions coming
// from the FIFO. Note this also requires gravity vector calculations.
// Also note that yaw/pitch/roll angles suffer from gimbal lock (for
// more info, see:

// uncomment "OUTPUT_READABLE_REALACCEL" if you want to see acceleration
// components with gravity removed. This acceleration reference frame is
// not compensated for orientation, so +X is always +X according to the
// sensor, just without the effects of gravity. If you want acceleration
// compensated for orientation, us OUTPUT_READABLE_WORLDACCEL instead.

// uncomment "OUTPUT_READABLE_WORLDACCEL" if you want to see acceleration
// components with gravity removed and adjusted for the world frame of
// reference (yaw is relative to initial orientation, since no magnetometer
// is present in this case). Could be quite handy in some cases.

// uncomment "OUTPUT_TEAPOT" if you want output that matches the
// format used for the InvenSense teapot demo

#define LED_PIN 13 // (Arduino is 13, Teensy is 11, Teensy++ is 6)
bool blinkState = false;

// MPU control/status vars
bool dmpReady = false;  // set true if DMP init was successful
uint8_t mpuIntStatus;   // holds actual interrupt status byte from MPU
uint8_t devStatus;      // return status after each device operation (0 = success, !0 = error)
uint16_t packetSize;    // expected DMP packet size (default is 42 bytes)
uint16_t fifoCount;     // count of all bytes currently in FIFO
uint8_t fifoBuffer[64]; // FIFO storage buffer

// orientation/motion vars
Quaternion q;           // [w, x, y, z]         quaternion container
VectorInt16 aa;         // [x, y, z]            accel sensor measurements
VectorInt16 aaReal;     // [x, y, z]            gravity-free accel sensor measurements
VectorInt16 aaWorld;    // [x, y, z]            world-frame accel sensor measurements
VectorFloat gravity;    // [x, y, z]            gravity vector
float euler[3];         // [psi, theta, phi]    Euler angle container
float ypr[3];           // [yaw, pitch, roll]   yaw/pitch/roll container and gravity vector

// packet structure for InvenSense teapot demo
uint8_t teapotPacket[14] = { '$', 0x02, 0,0, 0,0, 0,0, 0,0, 0x00, 0x00, '\r', '\n' };

// ================================================================
// ===               INTERRUPT DETECTION ROUTINE                ===
// ================================================================

volatile bool mpuInterrupt = false;     // indicates whether MPU interrupt pin has gone high
void dmpDataReady() {
    mpuInterrupt = true;

// ================================================================
// ===                      INITIAL SETUP                       ===
// ================================================================

void setup() {
    // join I2C bus (I2Cdev library doesn't do this automatically)
        TWBR = 24; // 400kHz I2C clock (200kHz if CPU is 8MHz)
        Fastwire::setup(400, true);

    // initialize serial communication
    // (115200 chosen because it is required for Teapot Demo output, but it's
    // really up to you depending on your project)
    while (!Serial); // wait for Leonardo enumeration, others continue immediately

    // NOTE: 8MHz or slower host processors, like the Teensy @ 3.3v or Ardunio
    // Pro Mini running at 3.3v, cannot handle this baud rate reliably due to
    // the baud timing being too misaligned with processor ticks. You must use
    // 38400 or slower in these cases, or use some kind of external separate
    // crystal solution for the UART timer.

    // initialize device
    Serial.println(F("Initializing I2C devices..."));

    // verify connection
    Serial.println(F("Testing device connections..."));
    Serial.println(mpu.testConnection() ? F("MPU6050 connection successful") : F("MPU6050 connection failed"));

    // wait for ready
    Serial.println(F("\nSend any character to begin DMP programming and demo: "));
    while (Serial.available() &&; // empty buffer
    while (!Serial.available());                 // wait for data
    while (Serial.available() &&; // empty buffer again

    // load and configure the DMP
    Serial.println(F("Initializing DMP..."));
    devStatus = mpu.dmpInitialize();

    // supply your own gyro offsets here, scaled for min sensitivity
    mpu.setZAccelOffset(1788); // 1688 factory default for my test chip

    // make sure it worked (returns 0 if so)
    if (devStatus == 0) {
        // turn on the DMP, now that it's ready
        Serial.println(F("Enabling DMP..."));

        // enable Arduino interrupt detection
        Serial.println(F("Enabling interrupt detection (Arduino external interrupt 0)..."));
        attachInterrupt(0, dmpDataReady, RISING);
        mpuIntStatus = mpu.getIntStatus();

        // set our DMP Ready flag so the main loop() function knows it's okay to use it
        Serial.println(F("DMP ready! Waiting for first interrupt..."));
        dmpReady = true;

        // get expected DMP packet size for later comparison
        packetSize = mpu.dmpGetFIFOPacketSize();
    } else {
        // ERROR!
        // 1 = initial memory load failed
        // 2 = DMP configuration updates failed
        // (if it's going to break, usually the code will be 1)
        Serial.print(F("DMP Initialization failed (code "));

    // configure LED for output
    pinMode(LED_PIN, OUTPUT);

// ================================================================
// ===                    MAIN PROGRAM LOOP                     ===
// ================================================================

void loop() {
    // if programming failed, don't try to do anything
    if (!dmpReady) return;

    // wait for MPU interrupt or extra packet(s) available
    while (!mpuInterrupt && fifoCount < packetSize) {
        // other program behavior stuff here
        // .
        // .
        // .
        // if you are really paranoid you can frequently test in between other
        // stuff to see if mpuInterrupt is true, and if so, "break;" from the
        // while() loop to immediately process the MPU data
        // .
        // .
        // .

    // reset interrupt flag and get INT_STATUS byte
    mpuInterrupt = false;
    mpuIntStatus = mpu.getIntStatus();

    // get current FIFO count
    fifoCount = mpu.getFIFOCount();

    // check for overflow (this should never happen unless our code is too inefficient)
    if ((mpuIntStatus & 0x10) || fifoCount == 1024) {
        // reset so we can continue cleanly
        Serial.println(F("FIFO overflow!"));

    // otherwise, check for DMP data ready interrupt (this should happen frequently)
    } else if (mpuIntStatus & 0x02) {
        // wait for correct available data length, should be a VERY short wait
        while (fifoCount < packetSize) fifoCount = mpu.getFIFOCount();

        // read a packet from FIFO
        mpu.getFIFOBytes(fifoBuffer, packetSize);
        // track FIFO count here in case there is > 1 packet available
        // (this lets us immediately read more without waiting for an interrupt)
        fifoCount -= packetSize;

            // display quaternion values in easy matrix form: w x y z
            mpu.dmpGetQuaternion(&q, fifoBuffer);

            // display Euler angles in degrees
            mpu.dmpGetQuaternion(&q, fifoBuffer);
            mpu.dmpGetEuler(euler, &q);
            Serial.print(euler[0] * 180/M_PI);
            Serial.print(euler[1] * 180/M_PI);
            Serial.println(euler[2] * 180/M_PI);

            // display Euler angles in degrees
            mpu.dmpGetQuaternion(&q, fifoBuffer);
            mpu.dmpGetGravity(&gravity, &q);
            mpu.dmpGetYawPitchRoll(ypr, &q, &gravity);
            Serial.print(ypr[0] * 180/M_PI);
            Serial.print(ypr[1] * 180/M_PI);
            Serial.println(ypr[2] * 180/M_PI);

            // display real acceleration, adjusted to remove gravity
            mpu.dmpGetQuaternion(&q, fifoBuffer);
            mpu.dmpGetAccel(&aa, fifoBuffer);
            mpu.dmpGetGravity(&gravity, &q);
            mpu.dmpGetLinearAccel(&aaReal, &aa, &gravity);

            // display initial world-frame acceleration, adjusted to remove gravity
            // and rotated based on known orientation from quaternion
            mpu.dmpGetQuaternion(&q, fifoBuffer);
            mpu.dmpGetAccel(&aa, fifoBuffer);
            mpu.dmpGetGravity(&gravity, &q);
            mpu.dmpGetLinearAccel(&aaReal, &aa, &gravity);
            mpu.dmpGetLinearAccelInWorld(&aaWorld, &aaReal, &q);
        #ifdef OUTPUT_TEAPOT
            // display quaternion values in InvenSense Teapot demo format:
            teapotPacket[2] = fifoBuffer[0];
            teapotPacket[3] = fifoBuffer[1];
            teapotPacket[4] = fifoBuffer[4];
            teapotPacket[5] = fifoBuffer[5];
            teapotPacket[6] = fifoBuffer[8];
            teapotPacket[7] = fifoBuffer[9];
            teapotPacket[8] = fifoBuffer[12];
            teapotPacket[9] = fifoBuffer[13];
            Serial.write(teapotPacket, 14);
            teapotPacket[11]++; // packetCount, loops at 0xFF on purpose

        // blink LED to indicate activity
        blinkState = !blinkState;
        digitalWrite(LED_PIN, blinkState);


Schematic Circuit Diagram


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