Inertial technology has been used in a wide range of applications such as guidance, navigation, and motion tracking. However, there are few undergraduate courses that focus on the inertial technology. Traditional inertial navigation systems (INS) and relevant testing facilities are expensive and complicated in operation, which makes it inconvenient and risky to perform teaching experiments with such systems. To solve this issue, this paper proposes the idea of using smartphones, which are ubiquitous and commonly contain off-the-shelf inertial sensors, as the experimental devices. A series of curriculum experiments are designed, including the Allan variance test, the calibration test, the initial leveling test and the drift feature test. These experiments are well-selected and can be implemented simply with the smartphones and without any other specialized tools. The curriculum syllabus was designed and tentatively carried out on 14 undergraduate students with a science and engineering background. Feedback from the students show that the curriculum can help them gain a comprehensive understanding of the inertial technology such as calibration and modeling of the sensor errors, determination of the device attitude and accumulation of the sensor errors in the navigation algorithm. The use of inertial sensors in smartphones provides the students the first-hand experiences and intuitive feelings about the function of inertial sensors. Moreover, it can motivate students to utilize ubiquitous low-cost sensors in their future research.
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