Teaching physics with a local positioning system

2019, United States


Written by Cora Siebert, Paul R. DeStefano, and Ralf Widenhorn for the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Recently available local positioning systems (LPS) have the potential to be used for interactive physics laboratory activities and classroom demonstrations. The Pozyx LPS combines multiple sensors with position data for any object that one of the devices is attached to. Devices referred to as “tags” (Fig. 1[a]) are mobile devices that can be tracked, and those referred to as “anchors” are stationary devices that are employed to calculate the tag’s position. At data rates of 30 Hz (2D and 3D tracking) to 200 Hz (1D tracking), the position is measured to an accuracy of about ±10 cm. We have found that this particular LPS works best for physics laboratory setups at distance scales of at least two meters and up to tens of meters.

Keywords: Physics, Education, Demonstration, Real-time systems, Navigation, LPS

Photo by Tra Nguyen on Unsplash