A novel method for assessing the 3-D orientation accuracy of inertial/magnetic sensors

G.S. Faber, C.C. Chang, P. Rizun, J.T. Dennerlein

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    A novel method for assessing the accuracy of inertial/magnetic sensors is presented. The method, referred to as the "residual matrix" method, is advantageous because it decouples the sensor's error with respect to Earth's gravity vector (attitude residual error: pitch and roll) from the sensor's error with respect to magnetic north (heading residual error), while remaining insensitive to singularity problems when the second Euler rotation is close to ±90°. As a demonstration, the accuracy of an inertial/magnetic sensor mounted to a participant's forearm was evaluated during a reaching task in a laboratory. Sensor orientation was measured internally (by the inertial/magnetic sensor) and externally using an optoelectronic measurement system with a marker cluster rigidly attached to the sensor's enclosure. Roll, pitch and heading residuals were calculated using the proposed novel method, as well as using a common orientation assessment method where the residuals are defined as the difference between the Euler angles measured by the inertial sensor and those measured by the optoelectronic system. Using the proposed residual matrix method, the roll and pitch residuals remained less than 1° and, as expected, no statistically significant difference between these two measures of attitude accuracy was found; the heading residuals were significantly larger than the attitude residuals but remained below 2°. Using the direct Euler angle comparison method, the residuals were in general larger due to singularity issues, and the expected significant difference between inertial/magnetic sensor attitude and heading accuracy was not present. © 2013.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2745-2751
    JournalJournal of Biomechanics
    Issue number15
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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