Indoor Positioning-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Infrared Indoor Positioning Reconsidered

Object/person positioning and navigation has many useful applications in emergency services, advertising and security. An inexpensive, easy to use wireless communication solution involving Infrared and Bluetooth Low Energy has applications in schools to track attendance, hospitals and home use.

Beacons in each room transmit a unique ID number via infrared light. A body-worn badge stores the unique ID number with an associated timestamp. Upon encountering a Bluetooth Low Energy enabled gateway, the badge transmits all data including inertial sensor data recorded at regular intervals. A Bluetooth Low Energy enabled gateway relays the data to the cloud, where the unique beacon ID number is translated into a real room name. The identity of the badge holder is not stored for privacy reasons. Devices can then connect to the cloud to find updated position information.

2013 Tech Showcase

Nathan Martin demonstrating the Indoor Positioning system

Outstanding Entry award for students Nathan Martin (MS SM '13) and Feng-Tso Sun (ECE Ph.D) and Bob Iannucci.

See the poster (PDF)

Current Status

The IR beacon network has been deployed and the prototype badge has been tested — receiving IR beacons and relaying them via Bluetooth Low Energy through mobile phones to the cloud.  As an alternative to the badge, a smartphone app has been developed that can decode beacon signals using an inexpensive sensor accessory.