The attitude (absolute orientation) of a mobile device is important for applications such as navigation, augmented reality, photography, etc. While the position of a mobile device can be determined accurately using global positioning systems, the attitude of the mobile device is at best only poorly known.
This disclosure leverages recent advances in low-light camera technology to capture an image of the night sky. Stars within the captured image are identified based on known constellations or stellar patterns. Given the known local time and position of the mobile device, an identified star has a known direction vector. Direction vectors of several identified stars are combined to determine the attitude of the mobile device. The determined attitude is used to calibrate the magnetometers or inertial measurement units (IMU) of the mobile device. Thereafter, the attitude of the mobile device can be computed for a substantial length of time from relative changes in orientation as reported by the magnetometers or IMU.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Shucker, Brian and Mayster, Yan, "Star Tracking for Precise Attitude Estimation of Mobile Devices", Technical Disclosure Commons, (April 17, 2020)