The gyroscope is a rotor suspended in light supporting rings called gimbals which have nearly frictionless bearings and which isolate the central rotor from outside torques. At high speeds, the gyroscope exhibits extraordinary stability of balance and maintains the direction of the high speed rotation axis of its central rotor. The implication of the conservation of angular momentum is that the angular momentum of the rotor maintains not only its magnitude, but also its direction in space in the absence of external torque (spining Earth is a gigant gyroscope).

If a gyroscope is tipped, the gimbals will try to reorient to keep the spin axis of the rotor in the same direction. If released in this orientation, the gyroscope will experience precession movement because of the torque exerted by gravity on the gyroscope.