An ultra-accurate indoor GPS system powered by LEDs

UNISA researchers develop indoor GPS based on LEDs

University of South Australia (UniSA) researchers have developed an indoor positioning system that makes use of energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) technology to pinpoint the location of people or objects indoors and track their movements while inside the premises.

The recently developed technology works just like a global positioning system (GPS) device and can track movement with greater efficiency and accuracy, as compared to technologies that are commonly used in indoor positioning systems like Wi-Fi and radio-frequency identification (RFID).

The developers said that the system uses the light from energy-saving LEDs to track location and movement through triangulation, using angle calculation to measure the distance of a subject from a given point.

The researchers are still studying how the LED-based system can be utilised in other industries, especially in the retail industry.

Similar technologies

Two indoor positioning systems currently dominate the market today. One is based on Wi-Fi and the other is based on RFID.

The problem with indoor positioning based on Wi-Fi and RFID is that the range is very limited, which means more components are needed to cover an entire indoor area. According to the UniSA researchers, they are only accurate within 1-2 metres and are easily interrupted by other frequencies such as those from nearby devices and power sources.

Better accuracy

The UniSA researchers said that their LED-based indoor positioning system has better accuracy than Wi-Fi and RFID, with an error margin of 10cm. It also uses an algorithm that can calculate the orientation of an object at the same time, and is not affected by environmental changes.

The system uses energy-efficient LED bulbs as the transmitter, while a photodetector is used as the receiver. These two components work together to measure light intensity, enabling it to calculate position and orientation.

The system is perfect for retail stores because it enables customers to view relevant information about items nearby, and can be used to bring advertisements to users depending on their location, among other special features.

This development adds to the growing number of uses for LED lighting. New technologies like this show us that the uses and benefits of LED light are ever-expanding.

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