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Accurate tracking of position at walking speed using an accelerometer

  1. Feb 14, 2008 #1

    Very simple question for you guys. Suppose I wanted to track my location accurately with no real reference points. And what I mean by that is if take some arbitrary location I'm currently at to be point 0,0 on a 2-dimensional map, is it possible to use only accelerometers to track my position as I walk away from that point? So think along the lines of the GPS system, by with no external references.

    It seems to me that in theory this should be possible... I could write software that would read current forces reported by an accelerometer. I initialize it at position 0,0 when it is stationary, and then use the positive forces when accelerating and negative when slowing down to determine what my current speed, and therefore, position is. And this does need to work in 2 dimensions. I can't, however, work out exactly what sort of sensitivity would be needed to make this process accurate.

    What do you guys think? Is it possible/practical to do, and if so, what resolution would be required of the accelerometer that I use? Even better, if you have experience doing something similar, can you recommend some devices that I should look at for this.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2008 #2


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    Yes it is possible. Your car's GPS already does this to maintian a position between GPS fixes especially when driving in cities where tall buildings block reception the main difficulty is drift with time if you don't get a regular fix.

    Try these http://www.analog.com/en/subCat/0,2879,764%255F800%255F0%255F%255F0%255F,00.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
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