Welcome to JPattillo.net

Welcome! I created this site to provide information about various projects I am working on.  I teach Biology and Human Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) at Macon State College in Macon, Georgia, USA.  In my spare time I like to build things, mostly woodworking and electronics projects.  A few of my projects have morphed into teaching tools that I can take back to the classroom.  I call these creations “Digital Interactive A&P models.”  Basically, I am attempting to embed physical computing  tools like the arduino into human anatomical and physiological models.  My hope is to create learning tools that combine the flexibility, and interactivity of computer software with the three-dimensional aspects of physical models.

John Pattillo

Current Projects:

Digital Lung Model

Smart Skeleton


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4 Responses to Welcome to JPattillo.net

  1. Peter says:

    Hi John,

    I am very impressed by your human skeleton project. I was wondering if you are still actively working on it? I am trying to do something similar and I have a number of questions. I’m hoping we could exchange a few emails.

    Thank you,

    • admin says:

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, I am still working on it off and on. The hardware stuff is all done, as is the firmware for the IMU’s. I’ve been adding some feedback to it and making the user interface software more manageable. I’ve got a busy class schedule this semester, but I’ll back at it this summer. I hope to test it in class this fall semester. I’d be happy to help anyway I can.


      • Peter says:

        That’s great news, I’m hoping to learn a lot from this project.

        So, in short what I’m trying to achieve is a something which will be able to track arm movement (ie: arm extension, contraction).

        As far as I know traditional gyro + accelerometer is not very good at determining vertical/horizontal movement/position. How well does FreeIMU (or any other IMU on the market) work for this scenario?

  2. admin says:

    You are right that a traditional gyro+accelerometer is not very good at determining absolute position and changes in position, but an IMU is very good at dermining 3-D orientation (yaw, pitch, roll). However, because the parts of the arm are attached to each other and of known length, you should be able to use trigonometry to determine the position of the parts of the arm using the information from the IMU. This is essentially what I’m doing with the Smart Skeleton. However, this requires multiple IMU’s as I have done. I suppose you could dead-reckon the horizontal and vertical absolute positions using the 3-axis accelerometer data, but I doubt that would be very accurate, especially for slow movements. Before he died, Fabio Varesano was working on an IMU+altimeter fusion and filtering algorithm that would determine orientation and vertical position to within a centimeter or so. I know people are picking up the FreeIMU development to continue it, but I’m not sure about the altimeter algorithm since it was part of his doctoral research.

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