Ascension offers dramatic new noise-reduction software for its trackers

Burlington 06 December 2004Ascension Technology has developed a landmark "noise-reduction" software programme, Noise X, for its RS232 serial and ISA-based trackers, Flock of Birds, miniBIRD, Nest of Birds, pcBIRD, and MotionStar Wired. It accomplishes this in a new utility programme that automatically measures interfering frequencies present in a tracker's magnetic field, and then determining the tracker's best operating frequency to overcome jitter. As a result, Ascension trackers now work better in noisy electromagnetic environments with a dramatic reduction in environmental noise.


Prior to the new Noise X software development, any device located near a tracker that generated signals in the frequency band of 0-3KHz - power lines, motors, pumps, elevators, and computers - caused measurement jitter. Filtering of data reduces jitter but exacts a dynamic performance penalty. Noise X makes Ascension trackers not only the most metal tolerant, but now also the quietest magnetic trackers in the world today.

According to Ascension president, Ernest Blood: "The position and orientation outputs of both AC and DC trackers have a certain amount of jitter in them. Until now, however, the only way to reduce this jitter was by increasing the amount of filtering on the outputs. Increasing the filtering always leads to increased lag in the measurement. As users will soon see, we've now have a breakthrough improvement in DC magnetic tracking that decreases jitter without increasing lag."

Ascension Technology Corporation, based in Burlington, Vermont, USA, is a world expert in magnetic, optical and inertial motion tracking solutions for 3D computer graphics applications in animation, biomechanics, simulation, virtual reality, medicine and military targeting systems. More information about Ascension trackers is available at the Ascension Web site.

The Noise X software will be integrated in the production of all new Ascension RS232 and ISA-based trackers. Customers of existing trackers can download the software and directions for its use from Ascension's ftp site. More company news is available in the VMW December 2004 article Ascension's 3D sensor in ultra-thin bronchoscope permits novel imaging possibilities.

Leslie Versweyveld

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