Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Philips turns LED lights into indoor GPS system

Tired of getting lost inside those big shopping stores trying to find out what you need? If you go to the Carrefour store in Lille, France, you'll know exactly where you are at all times, thanks to the LED lamps from Philips that act as an indoor "GPS".

We've talked about using LED lighting for communication before, but this is one of the first times we see it put to use in such a big scale. Actually, this LED light system is quite simple. LEDs can switch on and off millions of times per second, far faster than our eyes can perceive. So, the trick is to have these LED lamps "blink" specific patterns that can signal your location inside the store.

Though you won't be able to see these high-frequency blinking, your smartphone camera will, and that allows your mobile device to pinpoint your location inside the store without the need for the regular GPS (unusable indoors) nor bluetooth beacons that you may fear to be tracking your movements. This LED system is completely one way; you can find where you are but it has no way to know if there's someone around, or how many people used that information (not that it will matter much, as you'll be "tracked" as soon as you pay for what you picked up. :)

Now we'll just have to wait and see if this technology picks up. There are situations like this where an easy one-way communication night be useful - and if it is, it could soon become a two-way street (your smartphone could use a IR led, to communicate back to a ceiling camera, for example). It might end up being as common as bluetooth and WiFi... and suitable for places where radio signals are not desirable.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Amazon Store