Data Alignment Design for Robotic Programming by Demonstration Based on IMU and Optical Tracker

Kai Tai Song*, Bing Yi Li, Szu Chen Ou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study proposes a data alignment design for sensor fusion of an optical target (OT) and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to track the trajectory of a handheld tool for robot programming by demonstration (PbD). A novel method is proposed for coordinate and temporal alignment between the OT and the IMU sensor to increase tracking accuracy. The IMU measurements are aligned with the corresponding angular velocities and accelerations derived from the OT to calibrate the IMU-OT relationship. Global and local optimizations are combined to reduce the computation time for the temporal alignment and coordinate calibration. Experimental results show that the proposed method provides improved calibration results with shorter calculation time compared with the two existing methods. The sensor fusion experiments verify the accuracy of trajectory tracking of 1.3 mm using the calibration result, an improvement from 1.4 mm of the data alignment using ruler measurement. Integrated PbD experiments using a 6-DOF manipulator were carried out to evaluate the proposed method. The manipulator imitated the hand motion of a bottle transfer task with a trajectory error of 0.66 mm. Practical robotic experiments demonstrate that the method is suitable for robot programming applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7501910
JournalIEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement
StatePublished - 2023


  • Inertial measurement unit (IMU)
  • programming by demonstration (PbD)
  • relative pose calibration
  • sensor fusion
  • sensory data alignment


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