Prof. Han Dong-soo, fourth from left in the front row’ poses with his researchers. The team has come up with a versatile GPS technology. Photo courtesy of KAIST

IOI SPS works both indoors and outdoors with quality precision

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) announced on July 8 that Prof. Han Dong-soo’s team had developed a versatile global positioning system (GPS) technology.

KAIST said that the system, dubbed IOI SPS, works both indoors and outdoors with quality precision regardless of the environment.

It uses GPS signals outdoors and estimates locations indoors using signals from multiple sources like an inertial sensor, pressure sensors, geomagnetic sensors, and light sensors, according to KAIST.

To this end, the research team developed techniques to detect environmental changes, such as entering a building, and methods to detect entrances, ground floors, stairs, elevators, and levels of buildings by utilizing artificial intelligence techniques.

Various landmark detecting techniques were also incorporated with pedestrian dead reckoning (PDR), a navigation tool for pedestrians, to devise the so-called “sensor-fusion positioning algorithm”.

To date, it was common to estimate locations based on wireless LAN signals or base station signals in a space where the GPS signal could not reach. However, the IOI GPS enables positioning even in buildings without signals or indoor maps.

The research team also produced a circuit board for the purpose of operating the IOI GPS System, mounted with chips to receive and process GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth signals, along with an inertial sensor, a barometer, a magnetometer, and a light sensor.

The sensor-fusion positioning algorithm the lab has developed is also incorporated in the board, KAIST noted.

The research team is now working on assembling a tag with a built-in positioning board and applying it to location-based docent services for visitors at museums, science centers, and art galleries. The IOI GPS tag can be used for the purpose of tracking children and/or the elderly, and it can also be used to locate people or rescue workers lost in disaster-ridden or hazardous sites.

On a different note, the sensor-fusion positioning algorithm and positioning board for vehicles are also under development for the tracking of vehicles entering indoor areas like underground parking lots.

“This is the first time to develop an indoor/outdoor integrated GPS system that can pinpoint locations in a building where there is no wireless signal or an indoor map, and there are an infinite number of areas it can be applied to,” Prof. Han said.

“The guidance services at science centers, museums, and art galleries that use IOI GPS tags can provide a set of data that would be very helpful for analyzing the visitors’ viewing traces. It is an essential piece of information required when the time comes to decide when to organize the next exhibit. We will be working on having it applied to the National Science Museum first.”