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This paper presents an analysis of rigid-body joint-angle measurement based on microelectromechanical-system (MEMS) biaxial accelerometers and uniaxial gyroscopes. In comparison to conventional magnetic and optical joint angular sensors, this new inertial sensing principle has the advantages of flexible installation and true contactless sensing. This paper focuses on the comparison of four different inertial-sensor combination methods that are reported in reference papers and utilizes the theory of rigid-body kinematics to explain and analyze their advantages and weaknesses. Experiments have also been conducted to further verify and strengthen the arguments put forward in the analysis. All experiments in this paper took place on a custom-built rigid-body robot arm model that can be manipulated by hand. Sensor calibration and accelerometer alignment issues are also described, and their details are discussed. The experiment results presented in this paper show significant differences with reference to the achieved angular accuracy for various situations when using the four different sensor combination methods. In some cases, the angular error based on one method is more than 0.04 rad, while that from another method is within ??0.005 rad. The noise levels of angular readings from different methods are also experimentally compared and analyzed. The conclusion drawn serves to guide readers toward a suitable method for their particular application.
Instrumentation and Measurement, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:59 , Issue: 2 )
Date of Publication: Feb. 2010