Gravity is up?

What's the first thing we'll do?

Perform a sanity check!

You should already be able to write a program that continuously prints the accelerometer data on the RTT console from the I2C chapter. Do you observe something interesting even when holding the board parallel to the floor with the LED side facing down?

What you should see like this is that both the X and Y values are rather close to 0, while the Z value is at around 1000. Which is weird because the board is not moving yet its acceleration is non-zero. What's going on? This must be related to the gravity, right? Because the acceleration of gravity is 1 g (aha, 1 g = 1000 from the accelerometer). But the gravity pulls objects downwards so the acceleration along the Z axis should be negative not positive

Did the program get the Z axis backwards? Nope, you can test rotating the board to align the gravity to the X or Y axis but the acceleration measured by the accelerometer is always pointing up.

What happens here is that the accelerometer is measuring the proper acceleration of the board not the acceleration you are observing. This proper acceleration is the acceleration of the board as seen from an observer that's in free fall. An observer that's in free fall is moving toward the center of the Earth with an acceleration of 1g; from its point of view the board is actually moving upwards (away from the center of the Earth) with an acceleration of 1g. And that's why the proper acceleration is pointing up. This also means that if the board was in free fall, the accelerometer would report a proper acceleration of zero. Please, don't try that at home.

Yes, physics is hard. Let's move on.