Picerno, Pietro and Cereatti, Andrea and Cappozzo, Aurelio (2011) A Spot check for assessing static orientation consistency of inertial and magnetic sensing units. Gait & Posture, Vol. 33 (3), p. 373-378. eISSN 1879-2219. Article.
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Despite the widespread use of Magnetic and Inertial Measurement Units (MIMUs) for movement reconstruction, only a few studies have tackled issues related to their accuracy. It has been proved that their performance decreases over a period of use since calibration parameters become no longer effective. Good practice rules recommend to assess, prior to any experimental session, the instrumental errors associated to the relevant measures.
Aim of this study was to provide a practical and reproducible spot check for assessing the performance of MIMUs in terms of consistency in determining their orientation with respect to a common (inter-MIMUs consistency, IC) and invariant (self-MIMU consistency, SC) global frame.
IC was assessed by verifying the hypothesis that the orientation of 9 MIMUs aligned to each other on a rigid Plexiglas plank coincided at any orientation of the plank. SC was assessed separately by verifying differences between measured and imposed known rotations imparted to each MIMU. The orientation of MIMUs relative to the global frame was expressed in terms of quaternion.
IC test showed that MIMUs defined their orientation differently. This difference was not constant but varied according to the plank's orientation. The least consistent MIMU showed discrepancy up to 5.7°. SC test confirmed the same MIMU as that affected by the highest inaccuracy (8.4°), whereas it revealed errors within limits (1°) in correspondence to other MIMUs.
A tool has been proposed that allows the users to be aware of the errors that may be expected when using MIMUs for the estimate of absolute and relative segments kinematics.
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