Indoor guidance system for the blind using a smartphone and UWB
NICT and Fujitsu are working together to develop a real-time indoor guidance system for the blind. As GPS cannot be used to get positional data indoors, the system uses a smartphone and ultra wide band (UWB) transmission technology to get accurate real-time position information.
Impulse radio UWB technology uses extremely short nanosecond long pulses to get positioning information. Base stations are used to track the position of the user and their target point, with positioning accuracy within 30cm.
This positioning data is then sent to the smartphone and displayed using a mapping application, with real-time audio instructions describing the direction and distance to the target.
"Here, we're using six base stations, and this system has a positioning range of about 10 m. The user handset measures distance while communicating with each of the six base stations. The distance data obtained is collected by the control device, which calculates the position. The result of the calculation is sent to the user handset over UWB."
"This system has a variety of applications. In particular, one is inventory management. In big warehouses, there's a great need to find out where things are and where to take them. We've had inquiries from various businesses, so we're also considering applications like that."
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