Person (patient) location tracking using Estimote - possible? anyone done it?


We need to track the location of patients in an Emergency Medical Treatment camp.

Is it possible to do this using Estimote stickers?

Proposed solution:

  • Each patient will have a wristband with an Estimote sticker attached

  • Several smartphones / BLE receivers are placed around the camp in fixed locations (probably one in each corner - it's a 50x50m zone)

  • Receivers each send RSSI of every Estimote in range to server every second

  • Server then triangulates these to estimate location of each patient relative to the receivers

  • When clinician needs to find a patient, they use Android App on Tablet to query for location of specific patient, which it gets from the server

It's kind of the other way around from normal - the estimotes are moving and receivers are fixed in location.

Does this sound do-able?

Has anyone done something anything like this with Estimote?


  • Dan

Hey Dan,

We do a lot with presence, mainly via Beacons. Some of what we've learned you might find useful:

The app responsible for finding nearby beacons should remain in the foreground constantly. iOS limits location services in the background, and you can't reliably count on response times < 15 minutes after a while.

Triangulation is a tricky thing. Beacons are not meant to be super accurate, and with a single device I'd recommend you focus on zones (e.g. Hallway 1, Room #2) instead of triangulation.

The RSSI values you get back will not paint an accurate picture, especially since the beacon is on a person and humans absorb Bluetooth signals like crazy. Unless you have clear line of sight, any number of people, metal objects, and walls will give you bad data.

My two cents? I'd recommend you go for a simpler solution to start. Triangulation will drive you mad, and for very little results. Asking the question "What device is John near right now?" seems like it would be a better fit for you, and not miss out on much accuracy.

Hi Dan,

Zach is pretty much right about the system. The only thing I'd add to this is that it seems a bit mission critical, so I'm not sure if it's a good idea to implement it at this point.

Let me know if you have any more questions.