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A Real Time Indoor Navigation and Monitoring System for Firefighters and Visually Impaired

There has been a widespread growth of technology in almost every facet of day to day life. But there are still important application areas in which technology advancements have not been implemented in a cost effective and user friendly manner.

Such applications which we will address in this proposal include: 1) indoor localization and navigation of firefighters during rescue operations and 2) indoor localization and navigation for the blind and visually impaired population.

Firefighting is a dangerous job to perform as there can be several unexpected hazards while rescuing victims. Since the firefighters do not have any knowledge about the internal structure of the fire ridden building, they will not be able to find the location of the EXIT door, a fact that can prove to be fatal.

We introduce an indoor location tracking and navigation system (FIREGUIDE) using RFID technology integrated with augmented reality. FIREGUIDE assists the firefighters to find the nearest exit location by providing the navigation instructions to the exits as well as an Augmented Reality view of the location and direction of the exits.

The system also presents the Incident Commander the current firefighter’s location superimposed on a map of the building floor. We envision that the FIREGUIDE system will save a significant number of firefighters and victims’ lives.

Blind or visually impaired people find it difficult to navigate independently in both outdoor and indoor environments. The outdoor navigation problem can be solved by using systems that have GPS support. But indoor navigation systems for the blind or visually impaired are still a challenge to conquer, given the requirements of low cost and user friendly operation. In order to enhance the perception of indoor and unfamiliar environments for the blind and visually-impaired, as well as to aid in their navigation through such environments, we propose a novel approach that provides context–aware navigation services.

INSIGHT uses RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), and tagged spaces (audio landmarks), enabling a ubiquitous computing system with contextual awareness of its users while providing them persistent and context-aware information.

We present INSIGHT system that supports a number of unique features such as: a) Low deployment and maintenance cost; b) Scalability, i.e. we can deploy the system in very large buildings; c) An on-demand system that does not overwhelm the user, as it offers small amounts of information on demand; and d) Portability and ease-of-use, i.e., the custom handheld device carried by the user is compact and instructions are received audibly.
Source: University of Massachusetts
Author: Siddhesh R. Gandhi

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