Participant Tracking in Immersive Training and Aiding Environments

Period of Performance: 01/14/2008 - 11/14/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Time Domain Corp.
330 Wynn Drive, Suite 300
Huntsville, AL 35805
Principal Investigator


We propose enabling a large-volume immersive simulation environment by fusing Time Domain Corporation s (TDC) ultra wideband (UWB) wireless tracking tag with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and magnetometer sensing. These tracking technologies integrated with a complementary Kalman filter will form the basis for a UWB/Inertial Navigation System (INS). The resulting system will combine the advantages of each technology to provide a tracking system with precise position and attitude sensing over a large, easily expandable measurement volume. Recent advancements in UWB tracking tags and small, low-cost Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) IMUs have provided a unique opportunity. TDC has commercially released a small, lightweight, battery power Real Time Location System (RTLS). Each cell of this system supports a warehouse of up to 2500 wristwatch-sized lightweight tags transmitting at 1Hz and utilizing coin battery power for over 4 years and provides wireless data transfer from the tag to the infrastructure. Integration of inertial sensors for expansion into high fidelity tracking markets is a logical next R&D step. MEMS IMU devices become smaller, more affordable, and more capable of precision attitude measurements. To support accurate position translation they require a synergistic external localization technology such as the TDC RTLS tracking system. A miniature UWB/INS tags will provide the best of both worlds: real-time precision wireless position and orientation with small sensors deployable to track multiple kinematic motions on many people in the tracking area. The Phase I will compare system requirements with the current state of the art capabilities; analyze various architectures and trade-offs for accuracy, distance, size, and power consumptions; develop, test, and evaluate a single fused high-speed RTLS/IMU tag; and provide an integrated system design and plan for follow-on development. The feasibility to be demonstrated is to meet the positioning requirement, tentatively 4cm for accuracy and 2cm RMS for precision that will feed into the development and construction of a testable prototype in Phase II.