Indoor navigation, outdoor navigation or simply… navigation?

12/17/2012
Traditional navigation tools

Traditional navigation tools

I already posted an article some time ago about WiFi and its potentials on providing the next indoor navigation system. The truth is that WiFi is just one of a number of different solutions presented for indoor navigation. There are also many more. For example, Sam’s Club mobile app is a mobile app that provides indoor navigation to specific items and shops in some selected American shopping malls since the beginning of 2011. Similarly, the FastMall app provides navigation for shopping malls in 31 countries using interactive maps that you download and use. In contrast to traditional mobile shopping and mapping apps, FastMall is based on MapOS platform that provides turn-by-turn walking directions for any venue without requiring a global positioning system (GPS), WIFI connection, or an Internet signal. Other applications in the same family are Meijer Find It and Micello Maps. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will WiFi be the best solution for indoor navigation?

11/05/2012
Google Maps indoor navigation

Google Maps indoor navigation

I am returning to mobility problems in this post and especially for indoor environements. One of the most pressing issues for mobility impaired and vision impaired persons is the issue of getting around in unknown indoor environments. Getting lost, disoriented and even getting “trapped” in some circumstances can be quite a stressful situation for them.

Lately, a number of positioning techniques have been developed for indoor environments (e.g., the methods based on Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN), Bluetooth, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Ultra Wideband (UWB), infrared and ultrasound, etc.). Among these techniques, the approach on the basis of exploiting 802.11 WLAN (Wi-Fi) is attractive, which is expected to yield a cost-effective and easy-accessible solution. All modern smartphones have Wi-Fi built in, and wireless networks are common enough in indoor spaces that an app could easily scan for known access points and calculate your position using trilateration . This is currently enabled in open operating systems of smart phones, e.g. in Android ones. As an alternative, there are some Wi-Fi installations in buildings, such as the ones based on Cisco MSE that can determine the location of any wireless device in the building. The Wi-Fi access points receive the Wi-Fi signals created by the mobile phone and then estimate its position via trilateration. Read the rest of this entry »


Make AT not war!

10/22/2012

The title might seem a bit strange but this post has to do with… war. Maybe not war itself but military in general.

It’s been years now that the military all over the world tries to make the most out of soldiers supporting them with exoskeletons. In the US for example the Berkley Lower Extremity Exoskeleton (BLEEX) developed by UC Berkley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory Homayoon Kazerooni aims to “create an exoskeleton that combines a human control system with robotic muscle”. The project was funded by DARPA and in 2004 and at that time it was the most advanced exoskeleton. UC Berkley is also behind of another newer military exoskeletons as well titled Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC). HULC incorporates features from two other models of Berkley Robotics the ExoHiker and ExoClimber which were designed for carrying heavy loads during long missions and climbing stairs and steep slopes rapidly. Another DARPA funded project was the Sarcos exoskeleton which recently was improved by Raytheon to a newer stronger faster and better model titled XOS2. This exoskeleton, much like the Berkeley suit, works much like a human nervous system. A complex set of sensors act as nerves and hydraulics act as muscles.

The same lab has recently presented a new exoskeleton system called eLEGS aiming to help paraplegics and those with mobility disorder to stand and walk. eLEGS was selected as number 2 of the 10 Most significant Gadgets of 2010 by WIRED magazine. Read the rest of this entry »


Not now mom, I’m on the class… the virtual one!

10/08/2012
Image of a virtual reality classroom

Virtual reality classroom
Source (http://www.dipity.com/brianne/personal/)

This week we are revisiting once again education. We already talked about collaborative learning and how ICT helps in that process in a previous post.

Another interesting trend in CSCL is the use of virtual worlds and gaming. Currently, there is a variety of applications on the web offering educational virtual worlds for kids that require children to complete projects and tasks, play games and throughout this process learn a variety of subjects. Read the rest of this entry »


In the meantime… (#2)

09/20/2012

That’s one more of those posts to wet your appetite… in between the weekly updates!

A few days ago I was going through my Facebook timeline and this article from mashable caught my attention.

It’s about a new pair of shoes that can guide you back home in case you’re lost. First thing someone would think will be… “Great… I won’t ever get lost again on my vacations!!!”. I don’t know how in fashion you would look with those blinking led lights on top of them but Read the rest of this entry »


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