Never Get Lost in Buildings Again with This New Indoor Positioning System

By: | September 4th, 2014

Image courtesy UC Berkeley College of Engineering

We use GPS on our drives to new cities, our walks in the neighborhood, our jogs in the wilderness and even job or hotel sites. But the second we step indoors, we’re lost.

Researchers from University of California, Berkeley, are about to change that. They have come up with a simple and inexpensive mechanism that can be used to map a room or building using echo-location like a bat. They call their system SoundLoc.

SoundLoc is based on the extraction of acoustic features of rooms by using built-in speakers and microphones on common laptops.

Researchers tested their system in several rooms on the Berkeley campus. They used the laptop to produce a distinctive set of sound waves and then listened for the echo. The echo would depend on the size and shape of the room, the furniture and materials on the walls as well as the number of people in the room.

This data was then analyzed to find the unique echo fingerprint for each room. Interestingly, they could identify individual rooms with a high accuracy of 97.8%.

Think of this discovery’s many uses. Shopping, exploring museums and navigating airports will never be the same!

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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