Nokia showcases indoor 3-D mapping phone solution (w/ video)

Nokia showcases indoor 3-D mapping phone solution (w/ video)

( -- Nokia is showing off a prototype that location enthusiasts consider the next step in indoor mapping. Nokia has built a Location Extension Protocol on top of the Bluetooth 4.0 specification, which enables a phone user to see what Nokia says are highly accurate 3-D maps of indoor environments. While that kind of function may seem pointless when moving around in a small apartment, it is far more important for what Nokia has in mind.

This will be a aid through the caverns of conference halls, airports, and large . Retail analytics is another area that might make use of the indoor . Nokia’s prototype involves Bluetooth 4.0 on the phone or on a tag, along with locator equipment installed in ceilings to create 3D maps that are said to be accurate up to 21cm.

Nokia on Tuesday gathered an audience of 30, both chip makers and service providers, at its Sunnyvale, California, site to demo the prototype. Nokia put a Bluetooth tag on a Parrot Drone. (Parrot is the company known for wireless Bluetooth devices. Its Drone is a helicopter device that connects to phones in a way that users can pilot the device using onscreen controls.) The room had Bluetooth Low Energy antenna arrays mounted on the ceiling to triangulate the drone’s location realtime.

"We want to take what's been done in navigation outdoors and bring it inside,” said Nokia's Fabio Belloni, principal researcher at the Nokia Research Center. The Bluetooth tags on the device were controlled by a Nokia N9 smartphone, in a room with four sensors that were mounted on the ceiling.

Another screen showed the helicopter being tracked in realtime on all three axes. While the Tuesday demo was for gaming purposes, the possibilities for use of an indoor 3-D mapping system are far-ranging. An attractive and obvious phone-service feature would be in navigating one’s way through exhibit halls or any other large buildings where mapping support can help users locate what they need to locate easily.

The Nokia technology is a concept for now but Nokia plans to take the technology further. has plans to get this technology standardized with the Bluetooth SIG so that it can be put into consumer products by 2013. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is the body that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and technology licensing to manufacturers.

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User comments

Dec 01, 2011
Sounds promising. I hate shopping malls because I can't navigate the damn things. Having an "indoor" guide telling me where I can get that ONE item I came to pick up would be of great use!

Dec 01, 2011
As long as you don't mind the mall knowing all about how you navigate it, from which it might infer why...

Really and why would that be a problem? Unless of course you are doing something wrong such as working out a good exit route from your favourate store you shoplift from!

This tech could be used to work out foot traffic flows and identify any problems with the ease of flow and perhaps identify a solution.

Dec 05, 2011
This technology would be awesome in a museum. Just have their app "follow" you and automatically stream whatever extra content they have for each piece. If you walk away from it, it stops the commentary.

Dec 13, 2011
Really and why would that be a problem? Unless of course you are doing something wrong...

Although such data is usually anomonised and used in statical ways, it still makes people uncomfortable to know that someone else was collecting data that they had come for hemorrhoid cream. (And now I've googled the correct spelling, I can expect lots of interesting directed advertising while I browse!)

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