A Fusion Method for Combining Low-Cost IMU/Magnetometer Outputs for Use in Applications on Mobile Devices

Sensors (Basel). 2018 Aug 9;18(8):2616. doi: 10.3390/s18082616.


This paper presents a fusion method for combining outputs acquired by low-cost inertial measurement units and electronic magnetic compasses. Specifically, measurements of inertial accelerometer and gyroscope sensors are combined with no-inertial magnetometer sensor measurements to provide the optimal three-dimensional (3D) orientation of the sensors' axis systems in real time. The method combines Euler⁻Cardan angles and rotation matrix for attitude and heading representation estimation and deals with the "gimbal lock" problem. The mathematical formulation of the method is based on Kalman filter and takes into account the computational cost required for operation on mobile devices as well as the characteristics of the low-cost microelectromechanical sensors. The method was implemented, debugged, and evaluated in a desktop software utility by using a low-cost sensor system, and it was tested in an augmented reality application on an Android mobile device, while its efficiency was evaluated experimentally.

Keywords: 3D orientation; Low cost; augmented reality; inertial sensors; magnetometers; mobile device.