Need help with Indoor Location project


#1

Hi everyone,

Im currently working on my final year project. It is to improve the quality of life of people in nursing homes. So my group decided to come up with a system that can communicate with a device attached onto the wheelchair and bring them to their destination.

The Estimote beacon can map out the area and show their current location. The device attached on the chair consists of an Arduino, bluetooth module (Oblu) and motors. I was thinking of storing the map/route from each room to a specific place on the same level in the Arduino, and when the user inputs the start and end position from their phone, the device will follow the specific map/route.

I was wondering how do I create an app such that the user can input the starting and ending points for the wheelchair, then the wheelchair brings the person there, with the help of the Estimote beacons.

Can the Estimote beacons detect the bluetooth module eventhough it is not a phone connected to it?

Really appreciate some help with this!! thank you :slight_smile:


#2
  1. Beacons are devices that emit radio signal, they are not designed to scan for other Bluetooth devices.
    Even when beacon would have ability to scan for data how do you want to transmit “detected” data from beacon to phone/cloud in real time?
  2. Usually how indoor navigation works by using Beacons as fix points with known location and trying to estimate distance from them using signal strength. It means that your Arduino board would would have to scan for beacons and perform all calculations.
  3. I would suggest to use more powerful board like Raspberry Pi Zero W (it has WiFi and Bluetooth). Arduino is good for controlling motors but does not have enough computational power or memory to perform indoor navigation and store maps.
  4. In my opinion best approach is to use Raspberry Pi 3 with Android of Thing running Indoor SDK and sending commands to Arduino using serial port to control motors.

#3

Okay I see.

  1. Yeah that was the part i was trying to figure out. Whether it is possible for the beacons to detect and transmit. I was just wondering if it had the ability to do that.
  2. We have a limited budget so we decided to stick with an Arduino as we are more familiar with it, but will keep that in mind!
  3. As of now, it is just a prototyping phase so we can just test with one specific route.
  4. My coding/programming skills are very basic as of now, do you know of any tutorials that perform in a similar way to this? in terms of implementing the SDK and app with the motor control and Arduino

Thanks!


#4

Just a side-note: generally speaking, it totally is possible. For example, our Location Beacons with UWB do have an experimental “mode” where they can scan for other beacons nearby, and report that over mesh to a central gateway, for asset tracking purposes. The show-stopper here is the battery—listening over Bluetooth is orders of magnitude more energy-hungry than advertising. So for example, with this experimental asset tracking tech, you might only want to run it once a few hours, for a minute or so.

In your case though, it’s probably much more practical to have the wheelchair device be the scanner rather than the beacons, like @pober suggested, since you you can put a bigger, rechargeable battery on the wheelchair.


#5

Ah okay. In that case, is the scanner just a regular bluetooth module, like the HC-05 connected to the Arduino?
With this setup is it possible to locate the wheelchair device within the beacon space, like how a phone is detected moving around in the Estimote Indoor Location app?


#6

Yeah, it’s pretty much this point from @pober’s post:

Usually how indoor navigation works by using Beacons as fix points with known location and trying to estimate distance from them using signal strength. It means that your Arduino board would would have to scan for beacons and perform all calculations.

This is much easier said than done though—we’ve been developing our own Indoor SDK for years now. Maybe for the PoC, you could consider using an Android/iPhone smartphone attached to the wheelchair, instead of Arduino. Then you can use our SDK, instead of having to roll your own code.


#7

Okay sure I’ll try that. thanks for your help!