A new calibration procedure for magnetic tracking systems

Anton Plotkin, Vladimir Kucher, Yoram Horen, Eugene Paperno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In this study, we suggest a new approach for the calibration of magnetic tracking systems that allows us to calibrate the entire system in a single setting. The suggested approach is based on solving a system of equations involving all the system parameters. These parameters include: 1) the magnetic positions of the transmitting coils; 2) their magnetic moments; 3) the magnetic position of the sensor; 4) its sensitivity; and 5) the gain of the sensor output amplifier. We choose a set of parameters that define the origin, orientation, and scale of the reference coordinate system and consider them as constants in the above system of equations. Another set of constants is the sensor output measured at a number of arbitrary positions. The unknowns in the above equations are all the other system parameters. To define the origin and orientation of the reference coordinate system, we first relate it to a physical object, e.g., to the transmitter housing. We then use special supports to align the sensor with the edges of the transmitter housing and measure the sensor output at a number of aligned positions. To define the scale of the reference coordinate system, we measure the distance between two arbitrary sensor locations with a precise instrument (a caliper). This is the only parameter that should be calibrated with the help of an external measurement tool. To illustrate the efficiency of the new approach, we applied the calibration procedure to a magnetic tracking system employing 64 transmitting coils. We have measured the systematic tracking errors before and after applying the calibration. The systematic tracking errors were reduced by an order of magnitude due to applying the new calibration procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4525-4528
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number11 PART 2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • Calibration
  • Magnetic tracking system
  • Solving a system of equations
  • System parameters
  • Systematic tracking errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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