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Topic Title: Any suggestions for a simple, cheap, off-the-shelf LPS (Local Positioning System)?
Topic Summary: My company is involved in an education outreach program and looking for a positioning system 'A' Level students can use.
Created On: 12 November 2010 01:44 PM
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 12 November 2010 01:44 PM
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kevinfoad

Posts: 2
Joined: 27 September 2010

My company is involved in a student innovation award project, which will involve a small tracked robot and a number of humans moving around in a small area (say, a few metres wide - to tens of metres wide) - and we require an off-the-shelf technology for locating them and feeding their locations to a PC.

We originally looked at GPS, as we have plenty of GPS technology lying around, but it is only be accurate to a few metres, so is not suitable for a small area.

I was hoping that there may be a simple triangulating LPS system out there, where we could drop a number of beacons or triangulation masts around the perimeter of a small, rectangular area and calibrate them to give a normalised location of a number of subjects.

Some requirements:

* Simple Local Positioning System, allowing position tracking of a number of subjects for use by 'A' Level students.
* CHEAP - each team has a total budget of £250. However, a good solution we can buy and reuse ourselves could be considered. But we are talking tens/hundreds, rather than thousands!
* Out-of-the-box functionality.
* Good accuracy over small area.
* Preferably wireless comms back to PC. (or a means, such as USB/serial) to get a signal into a PC.

Any leads/suggestions welcomed. Personal experience with a given product (so you may offer some critique or pros & cons) also very appreciated!

Thanks in advance for any help!
 12 November 2010 03:21 PM
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apackwood

Posts: 16
Joined: 12 November 2010

Hi Kevin, admittedly I'm not vastly experienced in the field however i think what you are attempting to do is actually quite difficult within the cost requirements that you've set. Triangulation over small distances can be difficult because the time period differences can become very small and hard to differentiate accuratley.

http://www.polhemus.com/?page=Motion_Liberty_Latus

This is a company that produce several different wireless tracking products that could potentially be used for the system you describe. I suspect the products are quite expensive, however while this is the only company I'm aware of I'm sure there are probably some more out there.

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Andrew Packwood MEng
 12 November 2010 03:23 PM
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apackwood

Posts: 16
Joined: 12 November 2010

Apparantly the link won't appear, look for a company called polhemus on google under their motion tracking section

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Andrew Packwood MEng
 12 November 2010 03:55 PM
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kevinfoad

Posts: 2
Joined: 27 September 2010

Thanks for your time apackwood.

That's a good start - especially from a feasability point of view.

Any more views/leads from others are welcome.

Also note that this is not limited to 'triangulation' systems (although what other methods there are, I'm not sure!)

We are looking into dead reckoning for the robot - but that is slightly trickier with a human subject, with pedometry being a (non-trivial) candidate.

Edited: 12 November 2010 at 04:03 PM by kevinfoad
 12 November 2010 04:47 PM
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larchard

Posts: 2
Joined: 02 July 2002

What is the audio environment like? Trilineation by time-of-flight is much easier at the speed of sound than the speed of light.
 12 November 2010 05:52 PM
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hamishbell

Posts: 287
Joined: 11 September 2001

Would a printed floor grid be possible and then a video camera(s) could capture position rather like a touch screen? Can the people be identified by a number on their heads?
Regards
Hamish

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Hamish V Bell, BSc, CEng, FIET, FCQI, CQP
2007 - 2010, Vice President and Trustee
 12 November 2010 10:34 PM
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ANFierman

Posts: 136
Joined: 25 July 2008

A few months ago I was thinking about a way of tracking the X & Y position of a number of people and wondered about using the Wii remote. It has a 1024 x 768 resolution IR sensitive video camera built in and there are various open source projects around using the Wiimote Bluetooth connectivity.

Have a look at: http://friispray.co.uk/

A limitation may be the number of objects the Wiimote can track (limited to 4 I think).

I never got any further than musing on the possibility but it may stir some other ideas. Basically any video camera could be used and a bit like the Hamish's suggestion of numbers on peoples heads, a reflective patch and an IR floodlight might do with some suitable tracking software.

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Andy Fierman

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http://signality.co.uk
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