New Pedestrian Dead Reckoning (PDR) Sensor for Real-time Localization in GPS Denied Areas


Though the advent of GPS technology has enabled the localization of people/objects in outdoor environments, the accurate indoor positioning system (IPS) continues to remain a major thrust area for researchers and technology enthusiasts worldwide. The IPS technology is believed to have a large potential in significantly transforming the experiences of people in multiple domains, for instance, better navigation aid in hospitals and malls; timelier and more effective emergency services; relevant and quick information during tours; connect to people of interest in proximity, and offer augmented reality experiences. A few indoor location systems have been developed but they suffer from deployment issues and high infrastructure costs. Therefore, the focus has shifted towards developing accurate, affordable, easy-to-use and infrastructure-free Pedestrian Dead-Reckoning (PDR) sensors that can be easily integrated into complex structures.

Inertial Elements, a company that has been carrying out intense research in this area for past several years, has launched a whole new range of wearable PDR sensors. Branded as the Osmium MIMU22BL, the shoe-based miniaturized motion sensing multi-IMU (MIMU) platform is based on InvenSense 9-axis IMU ICM-20948 rendering it a higher and efficient tracking performance. The battery operable device, with a footprint of 20x25mm, hosts a powerful microcontroller for solving complex navigation equations and Bluetooth Low Energy 4.1 for wireless data transmission. The device also includes onboard battery charging circuitry, on/off power switch, LED indicators for power status, battery charging, etc. and other features.

The sensor can provide simplified yet information-rich data, thereby relieving application platform and developers from the compute-intensive development and tasks. This greatly simplifies the data interface and makes the integration of this device with rest of the localization system effortless. It finds applications in indoor real-time location systems (RTLS) for industrial workers and first responders. It also has applications in urban mapping, gait analysis, AR/VR etc.

Inertial Elements is focused on developing niche multi-IMU (MIMU) based PDR sensors for a variety of indoor Location Based Services (LBS) and IoT applications based on foot-mounted inertial sensing and pedestrian dead reckoning. The PDR sensors support open data communication protocol and are supported by APIs. The ease of integration and the simplicity of application platform requirement save significant development time and effort for its customers. The company also produces massive MIMU array modules for array signal processing and sensor fusion. The PDR sensors and the massive MIMU array modules are the results of several years of dedicated and intense research.

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