Some time ago I wrote about transformation matrices. This time I want to show you how to use it. You’ll see how much you can benefit from it.

I wrote a small class that can draw a compass rose on the NXT screen. The class contains a collection of points that are the start and end points of the lines that make the compass rose. It has a method to draw these lines. But before drawing the lines they are transformed using the current attitude of the IMU sensor. The transformation is a matrix multiplication of the compass rose definition and the attitude matrix that the IMU filter maintains. This is done in line 4 of the code example below. R is the transformation matrix, rose is the compass definition. The function toScreen on the same line centers the image on the screen.

public void draw(Matrix R) {
 Matrix ss;
 Graphics g=new Graphics();
 for (int i=0;i<elements;i++) {

As you can see the transformation matrix allows you to perform very complex functionality, three rotations, using a very simple function, times().

Below is a video of the application in action. You might want to play this video in HD as it is quite hard to see the details on the NXT screen.

This application just shows a compass rose. But the same technique can be used in a wide variety of applications. One such application could be to transform data from range sensors to world coordinates. This will ease the process of mapping the environment. As the matrix maintained by the IMU filter is 3 dimensional you can even make a 3D map.

Transformation matrices are also very useful for robots with holonomic wheels. Here they can be used to transform robot speed into wheel speed.

Here is another video. This time it features the dIMU from Dexter Industries.