Indoor Location Project, Academic year 2016-17


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The student team demonstrated their system at ClueCon 2016 and again at Adler at Night in November 2016. The team is currently creating a platform and associated APIs that will allow other developers to build applications that make use of the array and its database. Other student projects that are associated with this project include: A WebRTC-based PSAP, and a revised set of BLE devices that include temperature and humidity sensors that will enable building engineers and architects to control indoor environments. The smartphone application is also being devloped to incluide an update feature that provides new location information that can support a person fleeing from fire or other threats. The student team reports on its progress at the end of each semester. This semester the RTC Lab student Presentations and Demonstrations are on April 26, 2017. The public is encouraged to attend!

The project consists of four major components: An array of BlueTooth Low Energy (BLE) iBeacons; A smartphone application that calls 911 using ats Internet connection and includes the location of the caller in the body of the signalling message; A location database and its associated location server; and the Real-Time Communication Lab’s NG911 test bed that routes calls across an Emergency Services IP backbone network (ESInet) to a public-safety answering point (PSAP). These modules are illustrated in the below image.

The team designed and built 100 BLE devices and distributed them on three floors of one building on the IIT Main Campus. The location of each device was recorded in a Location Database in which it is uniquely identified by the triple, {UUID, Major and Minor} that the device sends when it broadcasts its presence.

When activated, the emergency call application triggers the phone’s OS to scan for the presence of beacons. It records the identification of each beacon whose signal it receives as well as its received signal strength (RSSI.) It sends this information to the location server that calculates the location of the caller. The system today can provide either the location of the BLE device that is closest to the caller, or the floor and x,y coordinates on that floor where the caller is standing. The location server formats this information using a standard that is specified for IP-based emergency calls, and provides this formatted data to the phone application which in turn creates an IP-based call (using the SIP protocol) and sends this call to the RTC Lab’e ESInet to the Lab’s private PSAP.