Inertial Sensor Technology

Period of Performance: 03/24/2000 - 03/24/2002


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Intersense, Inc.
36 Crosby DriveSuite 150
Bedford, MA 01730
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Head-mounted displays (HMDs) play a vital role in military and commercial simulation and training systems. They allow the user to interact with and navigate through virtual worlds before encountering them for real. This has proven to save lives and increase effectiveness in military applications such as flight simulation, dismounted infantry simulation, hazardous materials handling, mission planning and rehearsal. Immersive HMDs also have valuable commercial applications in education, architecture, medicine, entertainment, virtual prototyping, teleconferencing, scientific and financial data visualization and web-based experiences. All of the previously existing motion-tracking technologies (magnetic, acoustic, optical, mechanical, gravimetric) have significant problems with jitter, latency, interference, line-of-sight, accuracy, and/or range. These deficiencies lead to simulator sickness which can erase all the benefits of the immersive application. In addition to HMDs, many other applications (i.e. weapon aiming, camera tracking, personal navigation, etc.), require improved tracking technology as well. InterSense has patented, developed, and successfully commercialized the world's first inertial and sensor-fusion-based motion tracking systems. This technology offers very low jitter and latency, large range, immunity to environmental interference, and high-quality motion prediction to combat latency in the computer graphics rendering system. In this Phase 1 SBIR, we propose to research the technologies for a new generation of micro-miniature integrated inertial measurement units, and appropriate calibration and sensor fusion algorithms. Capitalizing on recent advances in micro-machining technology, sensor fusion algorithms, and electronic packaging, the new InertiaCube will offer substantially improved performance, smaller size, and lower manufacturing cost. BENEFITS: The proposed R&D will result in several major advances of the state of the art in inertial sensing technology applied to small-scale (non-navigational) motion tracking systems: 1) greatly miniaturized integrated inertial sensing devices which can potentially be manufactured in high volumes at low cost and embedded into HMDs, clothing and hand-held devices; 2) improved modeling, characterization and calibration techniques to extract the maximum possible information from this new class of micro-inertial sensors; 3) new and improved filtering, data fusion and prediction algorithms which are based on appropriate dynamics models for the applications and implemented in small low-power devices.