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HKUST researchers develop first innovative fusion-based location sensing technology

HKUST researchers develop first innovative fusion-based location sensing technology

Recently,
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) announced
that its research team has invented a new fusion-based technology which would
support smart city initiatives.

Developed
by a team led by Prof Gary Chan of the Department
of the Computer Science and Engineering
and Director of Entrepreneurship Center at HKUST, the location sensing technology –
a software suite which fuses Wi-Fi with other signals on mobile platforms – is
the first of its kind deployed in Hong Kong.

According
to the press statement, the new fusion-based location sensing technology has
achieved remarkably-improved accuracy to position people indoor, enabling novel
smart location-based applications such as indoor navigation, location-based
personalised recommendation, crowd analysis and people flow control.

It
could reduce the position error to less than 2.5 meters in general environment, 3 times more accurate than traditional approaches. To locate a person, the
technology combines signals from multiple sources such as Wi-Fi, geomagnetic
field, Bluetooth, video and accelerometer reading.

The
fusion technology is based on fingerprinting. Survey is first conducted to collect
the signals at different locations of a given site. Using machine learning, the
signal’s characteristics at these locations are analyzed and modeled. Upon
detecting signals from a user, the location of the user can then be estimated
accurately and efficiently.

In
collaborations with New World Development’s Research and Development, PCCW
Solutions, and Link, the technology has been deployed in Harbour City at Tsim
Sha Tsui, and is now under commercial trials in malls and hospitals.

“Our
technology is to fuse the signals to combine their strengths while overcoming
their limitations. The higher location accuracy makes possible novel
location-based services and facilitates Hong Kong’s development as a smart city,” said
Prof Chan. Prof Chan is also a Director of Entrepreneurship Center at HKUST.

Credit: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The
technology can also create synergy with the Hong Kong SAR Government’s smart
lamp posts pilot scheme announced earlier as an initiative of the Smart City
Blueprint.

The
scheme plans to install multifunctional smart lamp posts starting in 2019 to
facilitate collection of real-time city data in enhancing city management and
other public services. Incorporated with the technology, the lamp posts will
not only provide timely location-based services to tourists and general public
but will also create immense social value on helping to find missing people,
pets and preventing them from getting lost.

Funded
by the Innovation and Technology Commission’s Innovation and Technology Fund
(ITF) and managed by Hong Kong Research & Development Centre for Logistics
and Supply Chain Management Enabling Technologies (LSCM R&D Center), the technology
developed by Prof Chan and his team is now being commercialized through two
start-ups run by HKUST graduates.

Patents of this fusion-based location sensing
technology have been filed in the US and China. 

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