Lithuanian Scientists Develop Indoor Positioning System Using Wi-Fi Network

The group of scientists from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), Lithuania have invented an innovative method for tracking the position of people and things indoors using existing wireless networks. The solution can identify a human being or an object within an accuracy of 1 meter, it works with any device having a Wi-Fi function, and can be used by a wide range of applications in day to day life and healthcare.

Outdoors, people and objects can be located using the Global Positioning System (GPS), but this function usually does not work indoors. Although the body of research related to the indoors positioning using WLAN is substantial, the methods offered usually have significant shortcomings: the positioning accuracy is low, the WLAN-based positioning software usually needs to be installed into specific devices, which increases the price of the final product.

The challenge of WLAN-based indoors positioning is the Wi-Fi pollution - in most environments around 35-40 thousand possible coordinates of a certain device can be detected. The method invented by KTU researchers is based on scanning the surrounding wireless stations, choosing the two which emit the strongest signals and then use mathematical methods to determin their location with an accuracy of up to 1 meter.

Elderly care is one among many other possible areas of application of this technology. Using this technology, we could determine the position of a patient and also tell if they are standing or lying down. A set of additional sensors integrated into the system can help monitoring the chronically ill or elderly patients: when sensors register a change in a person’s behaviour or in his or her position, the alert is being sent to their family and / or carers.

Smart industry solutions, such as advanced process control technologies, human-machine interface, condition monitoring, smart logistics with advanced transport, real-time warehouse management are but a few areas, which could benefit from the innovative WLAN-based positioning method invented at KTU.

KTU scientists have applied for the patent to the European Patent Office (EPO). EPO has officially confirmed the issue of the patent for the method for the indoor positioning of WLAN devices in the near future.

The researchers at KTU Centre of Real Time Computer Systems are the brains behind many commercialised and currently functioning smart environment solutions, such as smart TV (launched into Lithuanian market by telecommunications company “Telia”), automatic post stations, smart fridge, which is signalling about the storage shortages and others. Next year one of the Lithuanian main food chains will introduce smart shelves, developed by KTU scientists.

KTU Centre of Real Time Computer Systems is the coordinator of InnoIteam, project dedicated to creation of the European Centre of Excellence in Information Technologies for the Baltic Sea Region, uniting 3 Lithuanian and 2 Swedish institutions. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and is now in the first, business plan creating stage. After successful completion of this stage, the Centre should start operating in autumn 2019.