Well more like an indoor positioning system, but you get the drift. Microsoft Research has been responsible for some of the most innovative new technologies, many of which are applied mainstream.

This newest one is the stuff of dreams.

The unit is very close to completing research of a groundbreaking technology that will certainly help people get around shopping malls, parking spaces and even large halls — as in a GPS system that works indoors, eliminating the need for a satellite signal.

Satellite signals that are currently a necessity for traditional GPS devices.

This new technology is detailed here, with Jie Liu, principal researcher and a research manager saying:

“Currently, the main approach for providing indoor location services is to profile an indoor space to get a set of Wi-Fi maps and use them to infer user location based on the device-provided Wi-Fi signatures.

Profiling is a time-consuming and expensive process, because there is no ground truth to ‘nail down’ the Wi-Fi maps. Profiling is also a continuous process, because the number and the locations of the Wi-Fi access points change over time.”

Amazing. But you know what would be even more amazing? Integrating something like this in smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches.

Then again, since this is still in development phase, it probably will be a few more years before we see something like this in our gadgets and gizmos. But tests, Microsoft Research says, have proven to be rather effective.

Of a total 31 locations, this indoor GPS technology proved effective in 20 of them, with a median error of less than 10 meters. Perfectly normal, as far as distances go.

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  1. A cool technology, but I wonder how many people will actually need or want this. However, this will definitely help people see that Microsoft can be innovative.

  2. This isn’t much of a home appliance, but I think this could be big in places like Malls or other large buildings. Could really help people navigate in those areas. Kudos to Microsoft.

  3. Wonder how it know whether I am on 1st floor, 2nd floor or in basement.

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