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Wi-Fi Trick Gives Devices Super-Accurate Indoor Location Fixes


Identifying an indoor location.

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a way for a Wi-Fi device to identify its own location within 40 centimeters.

Credit: Navizon

New technology promises to offer more accurate indoor location technology based on Wi-Fi.

Although one current method can typically locate a device only to within a few meters or sometimes even less accurately, a team of researchers from Stanford University say their technology has enabled a Wi-Fi device to locate itself with a median accuracy of 40 centimeters.

In developing the technology, dubbed SpotFi, the researchers determined new Wi-Fi chips make it possible for software to access information about how Wi-Fi signals are being affected by phenomena such as scattering and fading. The team developed algorithms that can use that data to ignore signals that have bounced, and also estimate the angle at which incoming signals from an access point are arriving, which makes for more accurate triangulation. "It eliminates any bad information," says Stanford professor Sachin Katti.

SpotFi could lead to global-positioning system-style maps for indoor spaces. The team is working on a variant that would only require a single access point to get a location and would work inside homes.

From Technology Review
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