Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Hoover, Adam

Committee Member

Birchfield , Stan

Committee Member

Gowdy , John


This thesis describes a new method for measuring the end-to-end latency between sensing and actuation in a digital computing system. Compared to previous work, which generally measures the latency at 16-33 ms intervals or at discrete events separated by hundreds of ms, our new method measures the latency continuously at 1 millisecond resolution. This allows for the observation of variations in latency over sub 1 s periods, instead of relying upon averages of measurements. We have applied our method to two systems, the ?rst using a camera for sensing and an LCD monitor for actuation, and the second using an orientation sensor for sensing and a motor for actuation. Our results show two interesting ?ndings. First, a cyclical variation in latency can be seen based upon the relative rates of the sensor and actuator clocks and bu?er times; for the components we tested the variation was in the range of 15-50 Hz with a magnitude of 10-20 ms. Second, orientation sensor error can look like a variation in latency; for the sensor we tested the variation was in the range of 0.5-1.0 Hz with a magnitude of 20-100 ms. Both of these ?ndings have implications for robotics and virtual reality systems. In particular, it is possible that the variation in apparent latency caused by orientation sensor error may have some relation to 'simulator sickness'.



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