Indoor Magnetic Wayfinding For The Visually Impaired

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2R44EY015616-03
Agency Tracking Number: EY015616
Amount: $386,674.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
DUNS: 927303412
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 (612) 452-0478
Business Contact
Phone: (763) 463-4814
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Advanced Medical Electronics (AME) proposes the development of an indoor way-finding 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 way-finding tool analogous to a Global Positioning System (GPS) device used outdoors. About 3.7 million Americans are visually disabled. Of these, 200,000 are blind, and the rest have low vision. 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 way-finding within these buildings.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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