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Representing Orientation in 3-Dimensions

There are a number of ways to represent the orientation of an object in 3-dimensions.  One common way is to use Euler angles (like pitch, roll, and yaw). Euler angles were developed by Leonhard Euler, a brilliant 18th century Swiss mathematician.  There are, however, ambiguities that arise when using this convention.  If the pitch happens […]

What is NorthTek™?

The Sparton NorthTek™ application platform is a powerful, industry-leading feature that positions Sparton’s inertial sensors as the world’s only fully programmable digital compasses – allowing virtually limitless customization and application. NorthTek™ was developed as a hardware software integration tool and expanded to be a full runtime environment. While most inertial systems only allow the user to modify […]

Common Issues with Magnetic Compasses and How to Minimize Risk

Most common issues when using a magnetic compass Calibration Calibration has long been a source of error in the eventual heading readings of a magnetic compass. With many systems, the calibration is tedious and is often referred to as the “Chicken Dance” due to its complexity requiring the user to rotate to multiple positions while […]

RoHS Compliance – Inherent Risks and Mitigation Strategies

RoHS Compliant Compasses Sparton RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant digital compasses are fully compatible with systems that require high-reliability standards due to extreme-environment operating conditions. The materials and chemicals used in the design, assembly, and manufacture of Sparton digital compasses do not exceed the thresholds set forth in the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC for Lead, […]

Military Targeting Systems and the Development of Inertial Systems

Problem Military targeting systems require maximum accuracy at all times and under all conditions. These systems can be hand-held or mounted on various vehicles or weapons, but they all must perform reliably and consistently in order to meet the needs of the warfighter. Heading and elevation are critical factors in accurate targeting systems. The complex […]

Adaptive Calibration Technology in Digital Compasses and Inertial Systems

Summary: Conventional digital magnetic compasses require a complex and cumbersome “in-field” calibration process. This calibration, commonly referred to as the “Kabuki Dance”, is not embraced by most users including the military and is often performed improperly, incompletely, or sometimes not at all. This results in diminished sensor performance and poor overall accuracy, in targeting and […]

Sparton AHRS Wins Again

Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS)

Sparton Corporation was recently selected by another major government contractor to be the inertial system supplier for their navigation system. During the selection process, the contractor performed extensive testing of multiple MEMS-based (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) AHRS (Attitude Heading Reference Systems). The Sparton AHRS-8 system achieved the design win, having distinguished itself from the competition by demonstrating […]

What is an IMU?

An Inertial Measurement Unit, commonly known as an IMU, is an electronic device that measures and reports orientation, velocity, and gravitational forces through the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes and often magnetometers. IMUs are a main component of the inertial navigation systems used in aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other unmanned systems, as well […]

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