An Open-Source 7-DOF Wireless Human Arm Motion-Tracking System for Use in Robotics Research

Sensors (Basel). 2020 May 29;20(11):3082. doi: 10.3390/s20113082.


To extend the choice of inertial motion-tracking systems freely available to researchers and educators, this paper presents an alternative open-source design of a wearable 7-DOF wireless human arm motion-tracking system. Unlike traditional inertial motion-capture systems, the presented system employs a hybrid combination of two inertial measurement units and one potentiometer for tracking a single arm. The sequence of three design phases described in the paper demonstrates how the general concept of a portable human arm motion-tracking system was transformed into an actual prototype, by employing a modular approach with independent wireless data transmission to a control PC for signal processing and visualization. Experimental results, together with an application case study on real-time robot-manipulator teleoperation, confirm the applicability of the developed arm motion-tracking system for facilitating robotics research. The presented arm-tracking system also has potential to be employed in mechatronic system design education and related research activities. The system CAD design models and program codes are publicly available online and can be used by robotics researchers and educators as a design platform to build their own arm-tracking solutions for research and educational purposes.

Keywords: human arm motion-tracking; inertial sensing and data processing; open-source design; robot teleoperation.