Motion Simulation Capabilities of Three-Degree-of_Freedom Simulators

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Version 1.00.01
Published Date: 08/21/2009
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The authors Nicolas A Pouliot; Clément M Gosselin; and Meyer A Nahon have conducted extensive research and published prolifically in the fields of Robotics and Mechanical Engineering.

If the six-degree-of-freedom Stewart platform is the gold standard; in both performance, complexity and cost; for simulating vehicle movement, then how close can other systems come to this performance level while reducing complexity and cost and still maintain good quality motion simulation?

The answer is, not too surprisingly, that using 3 DOF motion simulators using only rotational motion (roll, pitch and yaw) in almost all cases produced motion simulation quality comparable to that produced by the much more expensive and complex 6 DOF Steward platform. The study was conducted using nine combinations of architecture and motion algorithms designed to provide a study of a broad range of motion simulating low and high frequency accelerations in all degrees of freedom.

The study also proposes that using these reduced-degree-of-freedom simulators for early training before graduating to a full-training 6 DOF simulator would not only reduce costs significantly, but also broaden the availability of simulator training. The quality of a 3 DOF simulator experience is capable of producing motion simulation quality and vestibular motion sensations comparable to that produced by a 6 DOF sim, suggesting that additional degrees of freedom enhance the immersion experience only slightly.

For some more details you can read an abstract of the article published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astroautics (AIAA) and reprinted in their Journal of Aircraft publication.