On quaternion based parameterization of orientation in computer vision and robotics

G. Terzakis*, P. Culverhouse, G. Bugmann, S. Sharma, R. Sutton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The problem of orientation parameterization for applications in computer vision and robotics is examined in detail herein. The necessary intuition and formulas are provided for direct practical use in any existing algorithm that seeks to minimize a cost function in an iterative fashion. Two distinct schemes of parameterization are analyzed: The first scheme concerns the traditional axis-angle approach, while the second employs stereographic projection from unit quaternion sphere to the 3D real projective space. Performance measurements are taken and a comparison is made between the two approaches. Results suggests that there exist several benefits in the use of stereographic projection that include rational expressions in the rotation matrix derivatives, improved accuracy, robustness to random starting points and accelerated convergence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-93
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Engineering Science and Technology Review (JESTR)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • axis-angle parameters
  • orientation
  • quaternions
  • rotation matrix
  • stereographic projection


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