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In this paper, an inertial sensor exploiting the effect of external stimuli on a ferrofluid spike is presented. The device consists of a glass pipe filled with water where a mass of ferrofluid is fixed to the pipe wall and spike shaped by a suitable magneticfield configuration. An external perturbation will produce a movement of the spike free end, which is sensed via an infrared readout strategy. A theoretical analysis of the sensing methodology is performed, along with experiments on a laboratory-scale prototype confirming the expected behavior of the device.