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Dealing with Magnetic Disturbances in Human Motion Capture: A Survey of Techniques

The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Piazza Martiri della Libertà 33, Pisa 56125, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Stephanus Büttgenbach
Micromachines 2016, 7(3), 43;
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Magnetic MEMS)
PDF [2831 KB, uploaded 9 March 2016]


Magnetic-Inertial Measurement Units (MIMUs) based on microelectromechanical (MEMS) technologies are widespread in contexts such as human motion tracking. Although they present several advantages (lightweight, size, cost), their orientation estimation accuracy might be poor. Indoor magnetic disturbances represent one of the limiting factors for their accuracy, and, therefore, a variety of work was done to characterize and compensate them. In this paper, the main compensation strategies included within Kalman-based orientation estimators are surveyed and classified according to which degrees of freedom are affected by the magnetic data and to the magnetic disturbance rejection methods implemented. By selecting a representative method from each category, four algorithms were obtained and compared in two different magnetic environments: (1) small workspace with an active magnetic source; (2) large workspace without active magnetic sources. A wrist-worn MIMU was used to acquire data from a healthy subject, whereas a stereophotogrammetric system was adopted to obtain ground-truth data. The results suggested that the model-based approaches represent the best compromise between the two testbeds. This is particularly true when the magnetic data are prevented to affect the estimation of the angles with respect to the vertical direction. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetic sensors; orientation estimation; indoor magnetic disturbances magnetic sensors; orientation estimation; indoor magnetic disturbances

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ligorio, G.; Sabatini, A.M. Dealing with Magnetic Disturbances in Human Motion Capture: A Survey of Techniques. Micromachines 2016, 7, 43.

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