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Researchers develop LED-based indoor navigation system

US: Researchers from Boston University have invented a unique way of using LED lights to transmit location information to mobile devices within buildings. Even Google, which relies on wi-fi for mapping the insides of buildings, has not been successful in mapping interior locations.

Researchers Dan Ryan and Aaron Ganick’s start-up, ByteLight, is based entirely around proprietary software that can accurately map the inside of buildings using only LED lighting to transmit location information. So, with the trend toward LED lighting replacing fluorescents in many buildings throughout the world and the continued growth of mobile smart devices, LED lights that broadcast location data stands to revolutionise how we interact within shopping malls, museums, trade shows, office buildings, factories and even airports and airplanes.

Each ByteLight-enabled LED light broadcasts a proprietary signal that a smart device camera can detect. ByteLight’s platform delivers location information to easily update visitors with real-time maps and related location-based information without an active network connection. ByteLight administration features even enable building staff to analyse visitor traffic patterns and measure engagement.

ByteLight’s firmware can be licensed to LED manufacturers, who embed the ByteLight technology directly into the LED lamp as it is being manufactured. In fact, ByteLight recently licensed LED manufacturer, Solais, to produce ByteLight-enabled LED lighting for commercial and enterprise building solutions. Soon, you’ll be able to download a ByteLight app that can be used wherever ByteLight technology is used.

The best way to experience ByteLight in the wild is to visit the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts, where ByteLight has been installed in the Cahners ComputerPlace exhibit. With specially equipped iPads loaded with a custom app, patrons explore the exhibit as the device camera interacts with the “smart” LEDs to display specialised content. Best of all, the museum is already switching to LED lighting, so ByteLight fits nicely into the budget. In fact, compared to other interior location based service solutions such as QR codes and wi-fi, the Museum’s Director of Information and Interactive Technology, Marc Check, thinks that ByteLight is the most economical solution.

Source: Wired