About Electromagnetics

About Electromagnetics image

6DOF: Reliable Data, Repeatable Results

Polhemus is known for its award-winning, proprietary technology, AC (alternating current) electromagnetics. Our technology is able to track a wide variety of objects, as well as people, by attaching small and lightweight sensors or embedding them within an object.

Polhemus technology deliver true 6DOF (Degrees-Of-Freedom) because both position and orientation are measured natively to the tracking technology and no hybrid data calculations are needed. The person or object's position is tracked within X, Y and Z coordinates of a space, as well as the object's orientation, otherwise known as yaw, pitch and roll. Our technology delivers reliable data, with repeatable results.

Our motion tracking sensors are fully embeddable inside many materials. Even when the sensors are completely covered, they still track position and orientation seamlessly.


You can embed Polhemus sensors inside a custom form factor, which makes it the top choice for many training and simulation applications. The source, or transmitter, can also be embedded or covered and tracking accuracy is fully maintained. Our AC electromagnetics deliver a longer tracking range than similar competing technologies, and operate at lower power levels.

Additionally, it offers the best signal-to-noise ratios and multiple tracking systems can be used in the same environment, without cross-talk interference. Most Polhemus systems are scalable so you can increase your tracking area simply by adding additional tracker components.

How It Works

Sometimes when we demonstrate our technology, we get asked, “How is it tracking?” It’s not magic, but it is proprietary—it’s the power of tuned electromagnetic fields and many years of patented development.

Polhemus motion tracking systems utilize a source that acts as a transmitter, which emits an electromagnetic dipole field, (as shown in the image above). The size of the field varies, depending on the size of the source used; the larger the magnetic field, the larger the tracking range, or coverage area.

Easy Set Up and Portable

Polhemus tracking systems can be set up quickly and easily. You can tailor the setting to meet your application needs or when your environment changes, and the systems are portable from room-to-room.

The placement of the source is flexible; mount the source on the ceiling for one application, set it up on a tripod, or bury the source underground for a different application. With flexibility in the set up, you are in control of adapting the tracking technology to your environment.

Because no cameras are used with Polhemus technology, a line-of-sight is not necessary for continuous tracking, and Polhemus technology can be used in complete darkness.

No Line-of-Sight--No Problem. No Drift. And No Data Interrupution.

With Polhemus electromagnetics, there are no cameras to align, no special lighting required, and you don’t need to be in a field of view. Most importantly, there is no lost data. That means when you and your project are on, our technology is on--continuously tracking without any data interruption due to line-of-sight occlusions associated with camera technologies.

Without this limitation, we have the ability to track through people and most walls. Drift (error in tracking output over time) is never an issue, as with inertia technologies because Polhemus technology is solid-state. There are no MEMS, Gyros, Accelerometers or Magnetometers involved so there is never a need to correct data due to drift.

Polhemus is the genesis of all magnetic tracking. Our proprietary technology is specialized and focused on innovative and affordable tracking solutions that enable our customers to break new ground within their fields of expertise.

Our technology powers applications in a wide variety of markets, catering to healthcare, military, and in countless research areas.