Researchers use Earth’s magnetic field for indoor positioning system in phones
Researchers from Finland’s University of Oulu might have cracked one of the biggest problems with location-based services – how to provide accurate navigation services when users are indoors and do not have reliable GPS signals to guide them. These researchers, lead by Dr. Janne Haverinen believe that the Earth’s magnetic field could hold the solution. Dr Haverinen and his team have founded a company, IndoorAtlas, which aims to provide indoor navigation services for app developers and device manufacturers.
The inspiration came from animals like spiny lobsters that can detect Earth’s magnetic field and also sense the direction of their destination with respect to their location. According to a paper published by the researchers, every building has its own magnetic distortions, which when mapped can be used to provide highly accurate navigation system. This can be used on modern smartphones, most of which come with built-in compasses.
IndoorAtlas is currently providing a solution where developers can upload building floor plans and map its magnetic field according to the plan. Once the mapping is done, they can create apps that call for IndoorAtlas’s APIs and use its technology to provide indoor navigation. This tech could come in handy for huge department stores, malls and other large spaces within a building. Check out the demo video below.