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System concept from Cambridge Consultants (via Cambridge Consultants)

 

With Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force partnership to deliver an upgraded GPS system to the world by 2014, companies are now beginning to inventively re-imagine new ways of using the current infrastructure to increase our location tracking capabilities. Cambridge Consultants, a world-class engineering and technology consulting firm with locations in Cambridge, UK and Boston, USA, has developed a system that uses GPS information to make accurate indoor location tracking possible.

 

The new piece of technology consists of a chip loaded with low-power, low-cost smartphone sensors - such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, and pressure sensors - combined with a custom algorithm perform all of the systems necessary function. The Bayesian algorithm is capable of fusing GPS information with internal data gathered from the other sensors to detect someone’s location indoors to an astounding accuracy within 1% of the distance the person has travelled. Another benefit of the consulting firm’s concept is the design’s ability to serve as a stand-alone unit or to be integrated in existing systems.

 

With the biggest challenge of creating the algorithm out of the way, the team is now focused on developing systems for the incredibly useful technology’s application.

 

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Prototype transmitter (via Cambridge Consultants)

 

Geoff Smithson, Cambridge Consultant’s technology director, on some of the immediate impacts the device would have in today’s world: “We are excited about the many possibilities this cutting-edge technology opens up and the impact it can have in many different situations. It could be used to help locate firefighters in smoke-filled buildings, for example, or to pinpoint the closest doctor in a hospital during an emergency – or to track offenders during home curfews. We are just starting to see the potential of this approach and the diverse demand for this type of low-energy, highly accurate system.”

 

It will be exciting to see how this technology develops and fairs out in the real world. Google has already tested out a similar system that helped 2013 CES Las Vegas attendees find their way around the convention center. More innovative uses of indoor tracking tech are sure to follow suit.

 

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