Fujitsu, NICT Develop an Indoor Navigation System for Blind

July 3, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Technology, if applied in the right direction, can help people with disabilities.  The proof of this is realized in a new project taken up by Fujitsu and Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). The project envisions an indoor navigation system that works with the help of ultra wide band technology, a smartphone and a PC.

The new guidance and support system is more efficient than the GPS based system since it can be used for indoor navigation where GPS cannot be.

Moreover, the system can also give audio instructions to a visually challenged person through a phone.


The system works with the help of several base stations, which work on UWB technology, and mobile stations, with a PC to control the whole system.

The system measures the distance between the mobile stations and base stations helping the PC calculate the positional data and give the results in real time.

This is transmitted to the users’ Android phone through Bluetooth which then gives the user an audio instruction.

The instructions are based on a 12-O’ clock system and can give detailed information to the user which a GPS system cannot, at least the non-military GPS.

The research team behind the project claims that the system offers positioning data which is accurate to within foot.

The future direction of research in the project envisions detecting objects in the room. The system can be useful to even fully sighted persons, may be in big malls or hospitals where reaching a specific destination is a real maze game. The system will get a demo this week.

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