Indoor Magnetic Wayfinding for the Visually Impaired
Name: Gregory John Seifert
Start date: 01/04/2004
End date: 30/06/2010
Description: Advanced Medical Electronics (AME) proposes the development of an indoor wayfinding device utilizing the unique magnetic anomaly patterns that exist in modern, man-made structures. The proposed system will record the magnitude of magnetic field strength from sensors in three orthogonal axes. The time history of these magnetic data points can be continuously compared with an electronic map of magnetic anomalies (or, "signature") to determine current position within a building. The phase I developed prototype system tracked in feasibility experiments with an accuracy of 1 foot (radius). Magnetic anomalies render a magnetic compass useless for finding a directional bearing. However, these same invisible anomalies represent valuable, unique indoor terrain features measurable by magnetic sensors located inside a small, portable device. Such a device would be able to provide low-vision users with a valuable indoor low-cost wayfinding tool analogous to a Global Positioning System (GPS) device used outdoors. The key advantage of the way-finding concept presented in this proposal, over other methods, is that the benefits are made available to the visually impaired community without requiring expensive building infrastructure investments. This is of particular advantage to large government buildings and educational campuses. The proposed approach allows a cost effective solution to wayfinding within these buildings.
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Last updated: 13/08/2009
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