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USB Flash Drives for Precise Positioning and Navigation Inside Buildings


The RTLSflare contains a microcontroller, a radio-frequency identification chip, an internal measurement unit, a USB interface, and positioning software.

Researchers in the Advanced System Technology Branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technology, and Image Exploitation in Germany have developed a system for navigating inside buildings based on the use of RTLSflares, devices that resemble ordinary USB flash drives.

Credit: Fraunhofer IOSB-AST

Researchers in the Advanced System Technology Branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technology, and Image Exploitation in Germany have developed a system for navigating inside buildings that can be implemented in minutes.

The system relies on RTLSflares, devices that resemble ordinary USB flash drives and facilitate the positioning and navigation of robots, vehicles, and objects inside buildings.

An RTLSflare contains a microcontroller, a radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip, an internal measurement unit, a USB interface, and positioning software.

Four flares can be placed in stationary positions to set up a wireless ad hoc network, while a fifth can be used to geolocate a moving object inside a building in real time.

When an RTLSflare transmits ultra-wideband signals, the propagation time of the signals transmitted can be measured to determine the position of a mobile unit to within centimeters.

From Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
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