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Accurate smartphone indoor positioning using a WSN infrastructure and non-invasive audio for TDoA estimation

  • CiTin - Centro de Interface Tecnológico Industrial
  • Withus - Inovação e Tecnologia Lda, Aveiro, Portugal

Abstract and Figures

In this paper we propose a reliable acoustic indoor positioning system fully compatible with a conventional smartphone. The proposed system takes advantage of the smartphone audio I/O and its processing capabilities to perform acoustic ranging in the audio band using non-invasive audio signals and it has been developed having in mind applications that require high accuracy, such as augmented or virtual reality, gaming or audio guiding applications. The system works in a distributed operation mode, i.e. each smartphone is able to obtain its own position using only acoustic signals. In order to support the positioning system, a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) of synchronized acoustic beacons is proposed. To keep the infrastructure in sync we developed an Automatic Time Synchronization and Syntonization (ATSS) protocol that ensures a sync offset error below 5 μs. Using an improved Time Difference of Arrival (TDoA) estimation approach (that takes advantage of the beacon signals’ periodicity) and by performing Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) mitigation, we were able to obtain very stable and accurate position estimates with an absolute error of less than 10 cm in 95% of the cases and a mean absolute standard deviation of 2.2 cm for a position refresh period of 350 ms.
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Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
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Accurate smartphone indoor positioning using a WSN
infrastructure and non-invasive audio for TDoA estimation
Sérgio I. Lopes a,b,c,, José M.N. Vieira a,c, João Reis d, Daniel Albuquerque a,c,
Nuno B. Carvalho a,d
aDepartment of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro, Portugal
bInstituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Portugal
cInstituto de Engenharia Electrónica e Telemática de Aveiro, Portugal
dInstituto de Telecomunicações, Aveiro, Portugal
article info
Article history:
Received 3 April 2014
Received in revised form 15 July 2014
Accepted 5 September 2014
Available online 16 September 2014
Smartphone positioning
WSN synchronization
In this paper we propose a reliable acoustic indoor positioning system fully compatible with
a conventional smartphone. The proposed system takes advantage of the smartphone audio
I/O and its processing capabilities to perform acoustic ranging in the audio band using non-
invasive audio signals and it has been developed having in mind applications that require
high accuracy, such as augmented or virtual reality, gaming or audio guiding applications.
The system works in a distributed operation mode, i.e. each smartphone is able to obtain
its own position using only acoustic signals. In order to support the positioning system, a
Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) of synchronized acoustic beacons is proposed. To keep the
infrastructure in sync we developed an Automatic Time Synchronization and Syntonization
(ATSS) protocol that ensures a sync offset error below 5 µs. Using an improved Time
Difference of Arrival (TDoA) estimation approach (that takes advantage of the beacon
signals’ periodicity) and by performing Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) mitigation, we were able
to obtain very stable and accurate position estimates with an absolute error of less than
10 cm in 95% of the cases and a mean absolute standard deviation of 2.2 cm for a position
refresh period of 350 ms.
©2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
GPS is the most widely used method for outdoor localization and it provides global coordinates with an accuracy within
10 m [1]. GPS signals could also be used indoors when special hardware is considered and powerful digital signal processing
techniques are used to extract the Time-of-Flight (ToF) information from the noisy signals before a position estimate could be
computed [2,3]. Nevertheless, due to its low accuracy, GPS is not suited for indoor centimeter-level applications. Moreover,
effective indoor positioning methods normally use Radio-Frequency (RF) or acoustic signals [4]. Received Signal Strength
(RSS), Fingerprinting (FP) and Ultra-Wideband (UWB) are well known and widely used RF methods. RSS, is commonly
used in low accuracy applications and works by measuring the power of the received signals to estimate the distance to
the transmitters, based on prior knowledge of the transmitted power and in the path loss model [5]. FP uses an off-line
Corresponding author at: Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Tel.: +351 234 370 355; fax:
+351 234 378 157.
E-mail addresses:, (S.I. Lopes), (J.M.N. Vieira), (J. Reis), (D. Albuquerque), (N.B. Carvalho).
1574-1192/©2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
30 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
calibration process to build a map of ‘‘fingerprints’’ that are empirically obtained by taking exhaustive RSS measurements
inside a building. When operating a position estimate is obtained by matching online measurements with the best position
in a database that approaches the pre-computed ‘‘fingerprint’’ [6]. UWB positioning systems use narrow pulses with very
short duration (subnanosecond) resulting in widely spread radio signals in the frequency domain [7] and in Time of Arrival
(ToA) measurements with increased accuracy, when compared with other RF methods [8,4]. However, UWB systems need
high accuracy timing measurements resulting in complex and costly hardware.
In range-based positioning systems, time measurements are used to estimate the ToA or the Time-Difference-of-Arrival
(TDoA) in order to compute a position estimate [9]. UWB systems normally present heavy timing constraints only reachable
using specific synchronization methods in order to keep all the intervenient nodes in sync, i.e. under the same universal
clock. On the other hand, by using acoustic signals, a time resolution in the order of µs can be easily achieved using only
common off-the-shelf components.
This paper describes an indoor acoustic positioning system that takes advantage of a WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) in-
frastructure and non-invasive audio pulses for low-cost ranging which enables effective indoor localization of conventional
smartphones with an absolute error of less than 10 cm in 95% of the cases. The system uses an improved TDoA estimation
approach, by taking advantage of the beacon signals’ periodicity and by performing Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) mitigation
to obtain accurate ranging measurements. This way mobile devices do not need to be synchronized with the positioning
infrastructure. Moreover, a WSN of synchronized acoustic beacons is used to support the positioning system and Time Di-
vision Multiple Access (TDMA) is used to share the medium in a downlink mode. Tests using an iPhone 4s were performed
in order to evaluate the proposed system in real applications. Four acoustic beacons were used in a room of approximately
100 m2. Two experiments were taken in order to evaluate the system performance. The first experiment was held to obtain
a quantitative evaluation of the overall system by measuring the position estimated in a grid of points in a regular room and
a second experiment was taken to obtain a qualitative evaluation of the positioning system when a person equipped with a
mobile device is in a moving trajectory. Very stable 2D position estimates were obtained (absolute mean standard deviation
less than 2.2 cm when four acoustic beacons were used) and a position refresh rate of 350 ms was achieved.
The paper is organized as following. Section 2outlines the overall proposed system including specifications, requirements
and system architecture. Section 3describes the WSN infrastructure, the acoustic beacon design and the proposed
synchronization method. Section 4describes the positioning approach, i.e., medium access, signal design and positioning
algorithm. Section 5presents the system prototype. Section 6describes the experimental validation and presents a critical
error analysis. Section 7is reserved for the results discussion. Finally, further steps are discussed in conclusions.
2. System architecture
The proposed system has been developed having in mind applications that require increased accuracy, in the centimeter-
level, such as augmented or virtual reality, gaming or audio guiding applications. To achieve these requirements we focused
on the following criteria:
1. Indoor Operation: This requirement limits the use of GPS systems, due to attenuation, multipath and interference that
RF signals suffer when used indoors.
2. Smartphone Compatibility: The system must be compatible with conventional smartphones. This restricts the selection
of the sampling frequency of the acoustic signal to the smartphone hardware constraints. Commercially available
smartphones allow a maximum sampling rate of 44.1 kHz therefore limiting the useful acoustic upper band to the Nyquist
frequency, i.e. 22.05 kHz. In addition, to avoid synchronization with the beacons infrastructure, TDoA measurements
should be used in order to perform hyperbolic positioning.
3. High Doppler Tolerance: The system should work when mobile stations are moving with velocities up to 2 m/s. This
criterion imposes the usage of Doppler resilient acoustic signals.
4. Centimeter-level Accuracy: To satisfy this criterion a range-based positioning system based on ToF measurements is
needed. Moreover, an infrastructure of acoustic beacons with known positions must be used, in order to circumvent the
lack of accuracy of mutual positioning systems.
5. Low-Cost Infrastructure: A low density WSN should be used with at least three beacons per room in order to obtain
2D position estimates. The system infrastructure must be based in low-cost and commercial-off-the-shelf components.
Once TDoA will be used for ranging, an automatic time synchronization protocol to keep the beacons in sync must be
6. System Scalability: The system must work in downlink mode (GPS-like). Furthermore, the WSN infrastructure should
use a star topology per room and rooms must be interconnected through a main router.
In Fig. 1 is presented the overall architecture of the proposed positioning system. Due to the modular architecture,
multiple rooms with unique IDs can be added depending on the needs. Each room forms a star network centered to an
access point acoustic beacon (APAB) that connects to the remaining acoustic beacons (AB) in the room. A gateway node
(GW) is used as a bridge to interconnect the system to a 802.11 router. The information about the configuration of the
system infrastructure and the actual position of each mobile device is stored in a remote database that may be accessed in
a browser through a common internet connection.
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 31
Fig. 1. Overall system architecture.
Fig. 2. Acoustic beacon architecture with transmitter and receiver frequency responses.
3. WSN positioning infrastructure
The positioning infrastructure uses a low-cost WSN infrastructure built with synchronized acoustic beacons specially de-
signed to operate in low density indoor scenarios. The proposed acoustic beacon uses commercial-off-the-shelf components
and runs an Automatic Synchronization and Syntonization (ATSS) protocol allowing effective ToA/TDoA ranging.
3.1. Acoustic beacon design
In Fig. 2 is presented the proposed acoustic beacon architecture. The acoustic beacon uses a System-on-Chip (SoC)
low-power microcontroller (CC1110) with a built-in low-power RF transceiver. This SoC is compatible with several RF
networking protocol stacks and is widely used with the SimpliciTI (a Texas Instruments proprietary stack) and other IEEE
802.15.4 based stacks. We opted to use the SimpliciTI protocol which enabled us to use the 433 MHz band. This way it was
possible to communicate for increased distances with reduced building interferences due to increased wavelength of the RF
The piezo-tweeter used as the transmitter (Kemo L10) and the microphone used as receiver (WM-61A) are the same
as used in [10] and its frequency response can be observed in detail in Fig. 2. Looking at the frequency response of the
piezo-tweeter is possible to observe a useful band above 80 dBSPL, in the interval 18–22 kHz. For the proposed band, the
microphone sensitivity is always above 35 dB. A microphone was added to the beacon to enable mutual location in future
releases. This way it will be possible to simplify and automate the system setup in a new room. A Brüel & Kjær 4954A
reference microphone was used for measurement and calibration.
32 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
Fig. 3. Beacon communication layers for synchronization and data exchange with the ATSS protocol included.
3.2. WSN beacon synchronization
One major problem faced in synchronization of a distributed WSN comes from the local oscillator used in each node. Slight
differences in the physical environment and in the hardware itself introduce significant changes in the local oscillators thus
resulting in deviations of the local frequency of oscillation and consequently in clock drifts over time [11]. Moreover, Medium
Access Control (MAC) delays and packet buffering result in non-deterministic packet delivery times, thus impeding WSN
network protocols to be used to synchronize distributed events [12]. To evade this problem, actual WSN range-based acoustic
positioning systems use an additional RF transceiver to transmit broadcast synchronization pulses to all intervenient beacons
in a centralized architecture, see [13–15]. This common approach increases the hardware complexity and its cost.
To avoid this additional RF transceiver we developed a reliable synchronization protocol that achieves a clock offset error
of less than 5 µs. This resulted in ranging measurements with an error standard deviation less than 1 cm. The proposed
beacon uses only the built-in RF transceiver for both communication and synchronization tasks. The main advantages of
this approach include: simple hardware design (less components used), reduced cost (uses only one radio), reduced RF
interference (less bands used) and increased security (sync data could be encrypted).
3.3. Automatic time synchronization and syntonization protocol
The IEEE 1588 standard [16] was developed thinking in distributed networks requiring a better precision than offered
by the Network Time Protocol (NTP) when a GPS module is not available, due to indoor use or cost constrains. With this
protocol, it is possible to create a distributed network using a single GPS module to provide a time reference for the network
while maintaining accuracies with orders of magnitude of nanoseconds, see [17,18].
The proposed Automatic Time Synchronization and Syntonization (ATSS) protocol presents an internal architecture that
relies in two main blocks, see Fig. 3. The SimpliciTI protocol enables data connectivity between beacons allowing the creation
of star networks. Some changes have been made to allow recording the time of transmission and reception of messages as
close as possible to its occurrence. The ‘‘Time Sync’’ block is responsible for managing the exchange of synchronization
messages. This way the process of clock synchronization is performed transparently to the rest of the application. The ‘‘Time
Trigger’’ block enables the creation of coordinated events between units with a resolution of 1 ms, but aligned in phase
with the remaining units and is also responsible in the adjustment of the syntonization period. In a higher layer runs the
application that has access to the communication channel to exchange messages, generate timestamps for events detected
and schedule events to be triggered in coordination with other units.
The IEEE 1588 standard specifies the type of message using a message ID byte with only five types defined [16]: Sync (ID
0), Delay Request (ID 1), Follow Up (ID 2), Delay Response (ID 3) and Management (ID 4), being the ID’s between 5 and 255
reserved for future implementations. Due to physical limitations in the WSN nodes, a simple version comprised by the set of
the first four previous defined messages (IDs from 0 to 3), see Fig. 4, was implemented. To achieve the best possible results,
timestamps should be generated in hardware or as close as possible to the hardware and the transmitted messages should
be composed by the minimum information necessary to proceed with the time synchronization. The overall synchronization
process occurs as follows:
1. Sync [ID 0]: The synchronization process starts with the transmission of a broadcast ‘‘Sync’’ message, in which is
contained a timestamp estimate of the reference beacon, that all the remaining beacons use to register the time t2.
2. Follow Up [ID 2]: Simultaneously, the reference beacon registers the time t1after sending the Sync message and sends
its value in the ‘‘Follow Up’’ message.
3. Delay Req(uest) [ID 1]: Later the generic beacon sends the ‘‘Delay Req’’ message and registers the time t3.
4. Delay Resp(onse) [ID 3]: When the ‘‘Delay Req’’ message is received, the t4is registered and transmitted back in the
‘‘Delay Resp’’ message.
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 33
Fig. 4. ATSS protocol message exchange in each synchronization point.
Fig. 5. Improvement of clock offset error when using the ATSS protocol.
Based on ‘‘Sync’’ and ‘‘Follow Up’’ messages and in its own clock, the generic beacon computes the time difference
between its own clock and the reference clock. The path delay propagation time is determined in a second transmission
process between the beacons using the ‘‘Delay Req’’ and ‘‘Delay Resp’’ messages. The generic beacon can then correct its
clock and adapt it to the current path delay propagation time. Assuming a symmetric communication, the path delay can be
obtained by 1t=1
2[(t2t1)+(t4t3)], and the offset value (φ) between the clock of the reference and the synchronized
beacon is obtained by φ=(t2t1)1t.
The clock syntonization was performed by conducting small periodic corrections as shown in Fig. 5. This way the absolute
value of the offset error is considerably reduced. The syntonization correction value (cv) used depends essentially on the level
of accuracy required by the application. The smaller this value is, the greater will be the number of adjustments needed to be
performed between synchronization points. The number of necessary corrections (Nc) is related with the offset error after
syntonization by φs=φ
Nc, see Fig. 5.
3.4. Protocol evaluation
The presented protocol was evaluated using two beacons configured with a syntonization correction value of 1 µs and
both connected to a pulse generator. For each transmitted pulse from the generator both units record the instant that the
pulse arrives as a timestamp which is right away transmitted to a PC through a USART/USB connection. Two thousand
measurements were taken in order to evaluate the protocol for the synchronization periods of 5 and 30 s, see offset sync
error histograms in Fig. 6. A mean absolute sync error of 0.24 µs with a standard deviation of 0.92 µs and a maximum
absolute sync error of 4.55 µs were obtained for a sync period of 5 s and a mean absolute sync error of 0.56 µs with a
standard deviation of 0.80 µs and a maximum absolute sync error of 3.23 µs were obtained for a sync period of 30 s.
4. Positioning approach
Positioning can be split in three main stages [19]: coordination, measurement and position estimation. Normally, before
ranging, network nodes coordinate with each other typically for synchronization purposes. Depending on the method
used in positioning, time synchronization is a problem that cannot be ignored. The coordination stage is normally related
to synchronization purposes. Synchronization is important in the measurement stage because it is used to notify all the
intervenient nodes that a measure will be taken.
4.1. Coordination
In this work, TDMA was used based in a centralized architecture with all the acoustic beacons in sync. In Fig. 7 is presented
the time slot structure used in the coordination process when Kbeacons are used. For each beacon is reserved a specific time
34 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
(a) Sync period of 5 s. (b) Sync period of 30 s.
Fig. 6. Histograms for measurements of the ATSS protocol offset sync error using a syntonization correction value of 1 µs.
Fig. 7. Proposed TDMA structure.
slot for signal transmission. Considering Kbeacons transmitting, each time slot can be split into three distinct intervals,
S(k)—signal transmission interval
L(k)—listening interval
G(k)—guard time interval
where the time slot duration for beacon kis given by T(k)
The signal transmission interval (S(k)) is the time that the transmitter needs to send the acoustic pulse. The listening
interval (L(k)) is the time slice used by the mobile device to estimate the range measurement. For example, using a listening
period of 30 ms results in distance measurements up to 10 m. The guard time interval (G(k)) was added to reduce the impact
of the room reverberation. Slot synchronism for Kbeacons is obtained using a slightly bigger guard time period in the last
transmitted signal in the TDMA structure, i.e. G(K1)>G(k)when 0 k<K1.
4.2. Measurement
The measurement stage is based on TDoA estimation by each mobile device. Acoustic beacons were programmed to
periodically transmit frequency modulated pulses, i.e. chirp pulses. The usage of chirp pulses overcomes most of the
problems when compared to the use of pure sine tones such as, poor resolution, low environment noise immunity, short
range and low robustness to the Doppler effect. The probability of detection of a transmitted chirp is directly related with
the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) rather than the exact waveform of the received signal [20]. Cross-correlation, i.e. matched
filtering, between the transmitted and received signals is used to maximize the SNR at the output of the correlator, when
a known signal plus noise are passed throughout the correlator. Another advantage of using cross-correlation is the pulse
compression rate obtained after correlation, which means that the time resolution in the peak position estimation can be
greatly improved (when compared to a pure sinusoidal tone) thus resulting in distance measurements with higher accuracy.
4.2.1. Pulse design
Signals with time and frequency diversity, e.g. chirps, are well known in RADAR and represent a case where time and
frequency are both used to increase the probability of detection. Time bandwidth product (TBP) gives us the relation between
the time duration of a signal and the range of frequencies (Bandwidth) necessary to its reconstruction. In RADAR, chirps with
large TBP are used to obtain narrow compressed peaks and SNR maximization, resulting in signals with increased probability
of detection, but also when Doppler tolerance is needed. By increasing TBP and using adequate weighting in the signal design
it is possible to increase: the SNR, the pulse compression (better time resolution) and the Doppler tolerance, which highly
improves the probability of detection in static and dynamic positioning scenarios [20].
The ambiguity functions of a BPSK pulse and a chirp pulse using the same frequency band (18–22 kHz) and the same
duration are compared in Fig. 8. The BPSK pulse for a moving speed higher than 0.5 m/s almost disappears making BPSK
pulses useless in systems with mobile stations moving at higher speeds. On the other hand, chirp pulses can achieve up
to ±B/10 Doppler tolerance [21] which improves the detection probability for large Doppler shifts and thus making them
preferable for systems with fast mobile stations, such as humans walking fast or running or even fast robots.
Time domain weighting is used to modulate in amplitude the transmitted pulse. Furthermore, a non-invasive audio chirp
pulse must be carefully designed in order to avoid spectral spreading that normally appears when fast transients occur. In
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 35
Fig. 8. Doppler tolerance. (a) Ambiguity function for a BPSK pulse with a bandwidth of 4 kHz (18–22 kHz) and pulse duration of 10 ms modulated with a
63 bit Kasami sequence. (b) Ambiguity function of a chirp pulse of same bandwidth 4 kHz (18–22 kHz) and same duration.
Fig. 9. Proposed combined window.
abc d e
Fig. 10. Chirp Pulse design. (a) and (b) columns correspond to chirp pulses with frequencies raising from 20 to 22 kHz; (c)–(e) columns are related to
chirp pulses with frequencies raising from 18 to 22 kHz. First line of plots represents the weighted pulses in the time domain, second line represents its
frequency response and the third line represents its autocorrelation function in time near the central peak.
our approach we focused in time domain weighting in order to modulate in amplitude the transmitted signal thus smoothing
its transients and keeping the pulses non-invasive. However this approach leads to a significant reduction in the transmitted
power, and therefore a considerable SNR reduction at the output of the correlator. A proposed combined weighting window
is used to modulate the transmitted chirp pulse in amplitude using two distinct parts. Both parts could be generated using
a tapered cosine window (i.e. Tukey window). A Tukey window is a rectangular window with the first and last r/2 fraction
of samples equal to parts of a cosine, were ris a real number between 0 and 1. Note that a Hanning window can be seen as a
particular case of the Tukey window, when r=1. In this case, the proposed window uses the left half of a Hanning window,
concatenated with the second half part of a Tukey window with r=0.05, see Fig. 9 for a chirp pulse duration of 10 ms.
In Fig. 10 it is possible to compare other weighting windows with the proposed one and extract five figures of merit
for better evaluation. Two of them, namely the compression ratio (CR) and the peak-sidelobe-level (PSL), evaluate the pulse
compression gain. For the proposed weighting pulse, i.e., column (e), CR presents a value of 0.40 ms. This value was measured
looking to the time interval that the autocorrelation peak drops 6 dB. The PSL value represents the difference between the
autocorrelation peak and the nearest side-lobe peak and was measured with 16.6 dB.
36 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
Table 1
Figures of merit of the chirp pulses presented in Fig. 10.
Chirp pulse Weighting window B (kHz) TBP CR (ms) PSL (dB) PL (dB)
(a) Rectangular 2 60 0.60 14.1 0.0
(b) Hanning 2 60 1.34 46.0 8.5
(c) Rectangular 4 120 0.30 13.6 0.0
(d) Hanning 4 120 0.62 46.4 8.5
(e) Combined 4 120 0.40 16.63.5
Fig. 11. (a) Frequency response and (b) spectrogram for each individual weighted chirp pulse measured at the receiver when it is placed at 1 m distance
of the transmitter. The corresponding chirp pulses are presented in Fig. 10 in columns (c) (d) and (e), respectively.
The proposed window enabled the increase of the peak level (PL) energy at the output of the correlator in more than 5 dB
at the cost of a significative reduction of the PSL, see Fig. 10, but with the advantage of an increased pulse compression ratio,
see Table 1.
To analyze the audibility of the proposed chirp pulse, a transmitter and a receiver were placed at 1 m distance and
an audio capture was performed for each distinct chirp pulse. This experiment was performed using the transmitter and
receiver selected in the design of the acoustic beacon, see Fig. 2. For each chirp pulse a measure was taken in a regular room
with acoustic noise below 40 dBSPL. In Fig. 11 is plotted at left the frequency response of the three captured pulses and at
right is presented for each distinct chirp pulse its correspondent spectrogram. In all spectrograms is possible to observe the
room interference, mainly the multipath effect. In Fig. 11 is possible to compare the spectrogram of the proposed weighting
window (Combined Window) with the rectangular window chirp pulse. By comparing the frequency responses and its
spectrogram representations is possible to observe a heavy spectral spreading in fast transients in the rectangular window
chirp pulse. This behavior results in audible spectral content (audio clicks) with considerable power in the band from 5
to 18 kHz. On the other hand for the proposed weighting window this phenomenon is heavily mitigated by the use of a
combined window that smoothes the transients thus maintaining a compromise between the energy of the transmitted
chirp pulse and its non-invasiveness.
4.2.2. Pulse instant of arrival estimation
After correlation, a decimated energy estimator Exbased on the L2-norm of the correlated signal Rxs is computed, see
Eq. (1).
Ex[i] =
|Rxs[n+i·D]|2,i∈ [0,N1](1)
where Drepresents the size of the L2-norm estimator, iis the frame index in the time domain and Nis the total number of
frames to process.
Additionally, an adaptive threshold method is used to increase the algorithm performance. The method uses a FIFO buffer,
that contains NFsamples of the energy estimator Ex. Due to the signal periodicity we selected a value for NFthat allows the
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 37
Fig. 12. Audio Interrupt Service Routine (AISR) algorithm for IoA (τk) estimation at left. Interpretation of the algorithm at right when four acoustic beacons
transmitting in TDMA are used. The signal Exshows the L2-norm estimation of the signal after the correlator.
inclusion of all the data needed to compute a position estimate using TDMA. This way, we are able to compute a time-
varying Peak-to-Average-Ratio (PAR), see Eq. (2), that is defined as the ratio between the maximal and the average signal
power values. The dynamic threshold (γ) is directly obtained from PAR and is set to be 15 dB above PAR which based on
the Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) of the matched filter enables a probability of detection of 0.972 for a probability
of false alarm of 103[22].
PAR[i] =
,i∈ [0,N1].(2)
Using the decimated energy estimator Exand the previous computed dynamic threshold γ, a pulse should be valid and
detectable based on the combination of these two main criteria:
1. The decimated energy estimator Exshould be always above γ.
2. A new pulse should only be searched after a W(k)=S(k)+G(k)time interval, counting from the last valid detected pulse.
A valid peak is then searched in order to obtain the Frame of Arrival (FoA) for each of the incoming pulses in Ex. Each FoA
value is defined by ˜τkwhere kis the index of the transmitted beacon pulses. Each of these values will be used as a starting
point for the search of a more accurate peak detection, i.e. the real Instant of Arrival (IoA) that is defined by τkand is obtained
directly from the Rxs signal, as presented in the algorithm of Fig. 12.
The algorithm runs in the audio interrupt service routine core, and is called every time a new audio buffer is available for
processing. Furthermore, we included Non-Line-of-Sight (NLoS) mitigation to improve the IoA estimation which enhances
38 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
Fig. 13. Position Estimation Routine (PER) with TDoA pre-validation.
the pulse detection performance in real situations where multipath occurs, see NLoS example in Fig. 12. Our approach begins
with the estimation of the FoA value ˜τkfor each incoming pulse only when the two previous criteria (1) and (2) are met, see
Eq. (3).
˜τk=arg max
iEx[i],i∈ [˜τk1+W(k1),˜τk1+W(k1)+L(k1)].(3)
When a peak is detected, a more accurate search of the peak is taken directly from Rxs considering the small interval
between [˜τk,˜τk+δ]frames, where δrepresents the number of frames (in the example of Fig. 12 five frames are used)
selected to restrict this search on the right side of the neighborhood of ˜τk.
Thereafter, the corresponding IoA search interval in Rxs is obtained by [˜τk,˜τk+δ] × Dwhere Dis the size of the L2-norm
estimator. Then the six greater peaks inside the IoA search interval are computed and sorted by the argument value. The
algorithm used to detect the first six local maximums is iterative and starts with the search of the maximum peak in the
search interval followed by its removal in order to prepare the search of the next peak. To remove a peak we considered
0.5 ms for each side of the detected peak. This value was based on the width of the main lobe presented in the autocorrelation
function of the signal proposed, see Fig. 10(e). As we are interested only in the LoS pulse, the peak with lower argument is
selected among the other local pulses and assigned to τk. The output of this block is a vector Twith a τkvalue per each valid
detected pulse.
For the example presented in Fig. 12, if a simpler criterion based on the argument of the maximum value in the IoA search
interval is used, the selected τkshould point to the first NLoS peak, due to its increased energy when compared to other local
peaks. This introduces the ranging error 1dpresented in Eq. (4) which is far from acceptable in a high accuracy positioning
1d=c·1t342.5 ms1×(1.295 s 1.293 s)69 cm.(4)
4.3. Position estimation
Using four acoustic beacons is possible to obtain three TDoA estimates which gives the possibility to compute 3D position
estimates. If only three beacons are considered, two TDoA estimates can be used to compute a 2D position estimate. The
audio interrupt service routine presented in Fig. 12 outputs IoA estimates that need to be converted in a valid TDoA set of
measurements. This validation process is represented in the algorithm presented in Fig. 13(a) and uses a first finite difference
operation over the Tdata vector to obtain the vector dT which is then used to evaluate if each of its elements is lower than
Swhen 1 k<K1.
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 39
Fig. 14. System Devices. (a) Acoustic Beacons and Gateway. (b) Mobile Device based in an iPhone 4S running the proposed positioning app (Akkurate).
iPhone App user interface views. (c) Akkurate app main view with actual user position (yellow circle), acoustic beacons (blue circles) and virtual audio
sources (red circles) with zone activity delimitation. (d) Real-Time debug view mainly for development purposes. (For interpretation of the references to
color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)
Post validation of each Tvector of IoA measurements is needed in order to obtain a valid difference distance vector d,
that will be used by the positioning algorithm. To obtain each dk,0value from the dvector, we need to remove the time slices
added by TDMA when computing the TDoA values, and then multiply by the speed of sound. These difference distance dk,0
estimates are obtained using Eq. (5),
dk,0=c[τkτ0kW (k)],k∈ [0,K1](5)
where crepresents the speed of sound, τkand τ0are a pair of IoA values, W(k)=S(k)+G(k)is directly obtained from TDMA
(see Fig. 7) and kis the acoustic beacon index.
Note that for slot synchronization is used a slightly bigger guard time in the last transmitted signal G(K1), which allows
the identification of the first valid difference distance d1,0estimate and thus the identification of all the subsequent difference
distance dk,0measurements when 2 k<K1.
Finally it is necessary to run the position estimation algorithm in order to obtain the mobile station position. To solve the
positioning problem and since TDoA measurements are always noisy, (e.g. thermal noise, external acoustic noise, sound
velocity changes, etc.) the position estimation can be seen as an optimization problem. We opted to find the position
that minimizes the squared error intersection point for all the hyperbolas defined for each intervenient acoustic beacon.
A detailed description of the used method can be found in [1]. The solution for this optimization problem is given by the set
of linear equations that can be obtained using the equation presented in Fig. 13(b), in order to obtain a position estimate
vector ˆ
5. System prototype
The system prototype is divided in two distinct devices: the acoustic beacon and the mobile device, see Fig. 14. A WSN
of acoustic beacons is used to build an infrastructure of acoustic beacons, with known positions, see Fig. 1. These acoustic
beacons can be used as building blocks that can easily be added to an existent infrastructure in order to meet the scalability
criterion. The acoustic beacon was also designed to include remote configuration through the network. This way acoustic
signal parameters (i.e. bandwidth, duration and envelope) and multiple access features can rapidly be changed in order
to adapt the transmitted acoustic signals and the multiple access technique to a particular room with specific physical
40 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
constraints. One acoustic beacon prototype costs approximately e35, but several simplifications could be assumed in a
production scenario (e.g., microphone and preamplifier could be removed, software integration to work with only one µC
and PCB size reduction) thus reducing the cost to less than e20.
The mobile device does not need any external hardware to operate. It is only dependent on the smartphone hardware,
i.e. the built-in microphone or any external microphone connected to the headset microphone input. In order to fulfil the
requirements of some pervasive indoor location-aware applications, i.e. augmented/virtual reality, we were forced to add
a pair of stereo headphones. This requirement became advantageous because it allowed us to add a microphone on top
of the headphones. This way it was possible to add an external microphone on the top of the head of the user. Two great
advantages were obtained from this decision, (1) the microphone became close of the ideal central point of the user head;
(2) a dramatic reduction of the non-line-of-sight situations was achieved due to the reduction of the acoustic shadowing
effect and the reduction of situations where objects appear between the user head and the room ceiling, where beacons are
normally deployed in a higher plane. Due to this, in all experiments we opted to place all the acoustic beacons at the 2.5 m
height plane.
The use of the built-in microphone would represent a major feature. However, with only four beacons, if the user carries
the smartphone in the hand, the user body and its hand over the built-in microphone will cause many severe Non-Line-Of
Sight situations, causing a degradation on the position estimation.
All the algorithms (peak detection, IoA estimation, NLoS mitigation and hyperbolic positioning) have been programmed in
Objective-C++ using the iOS Accelerate framework for core tasks such as, time domain filtering (convolution) and FFT based
operations. The Accelerate framework uses the GPU processor to increase the computational performance taking advantage
of its vector and matrix oriented processing capabilities. Each mobile device is able to compute its own position followed
by its communication to a remote positioning server through a standard data connection (Wi-Fi or 3G/4G). In Fig. 14(c) is
presented the main view of the developed iPhone app. This app, that we called Akkurate, has been developed to support
an audio augmented reality system that is capable of generating virtual binaural sound sources in real-time. The goal is to
create the illusion that objects (e.g. paintings, sculptures or other works of art in a museum) emit sound. This would allow
visitors walking through a particular room, equipped only with headphones and a simple, small and comfortable tracking
device (e.g. a smartphone) to receive appropriate audio information according to their position.
6. Experimental validation
All the experiments were made under equivalent conditions in a regular room with dimensions 9 ×8×3 m, concrete
walls and ceiling, windows, linoleum floor and different types of office furniture (e.g., desks, chairs, office closets, desktop
computers and office luminaries). The room temperature was measured T=18 °C, and the sound-speed was estimated
using the linear approximation v=331.3+0.606T[23], which resulted in 342.5 m/s. The acoustic beacons used in all
experimental tests were placed at the following positions: B0:(0.00,0.00,2.52)m;B1:(0.00,8.15,2.52)m;B2:(7.25,
0.24,2.52)m and B3:(7.25,8.35,1.77)m.
Three acoustic beacons (B0,B1and B2) were placed near the ceil, at the same height (coplanar), in order to reduce the
NLoS situations in multiple user scenarios. A fourth beacon (B3) was added at a lower height to enable the system to obtain
3D position estimates. Two experiments were taken in order to evaluate the overall 2D/3D system performance. The first
experiment was held to obtain a quantitative evaluation of the overall system by comparing the 2D/3D position estimates
to a grid of fixed points in the room and a second experiment was taken to obtain a qualitative evaluation of the positioning
system when a person equipped with a mobile device is in a moving trajectory.
The room reverberation time at the interest bandwidth was obtained experimentally by observation of the reverberation
tail of the room impulse response, i.e., the signal after correlation presented in Fig. 12, which resulted in a T60 reverberation
time [24] of approximately 220 ms.
6.1. Experiment 1: 2D/3D fixed position estimation
A grid of 6 ×5 m with 1 m step was used to evaluate the positioning system. A smartphone running the positioning
app was placed at each position marked with a black cross, see Fig. 15, with a constant height of 1.75 m and one hundred
sets of TDoA estimates were obtained for each position. In Fig. 15(a) are presented the results when the four beacons are
considered to obtain 3D position estimates and in Fig. 15(b) is possible to observe its 2D projection.
In Fig. 15(c) are presented the obtained results when three and four beacons are considered to obtain 2D position
estimates and the statistical results (mean absolute error and standard deviation) are presented in Fig. 15(d) for all the
tested positions. In this case, a systematic error due to non-coplanarity (mobile station at lower height) is introduced, being
its impact on error positioning discussed later when three or four beacons are considered to obtain 2D position estimates.
Note that, no outlier measurements are present. This can be justified by the fact that all measurements were taken with
acoustic noise in the room below 40 dBSPL.
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 41
(a) Scatter for the 3D positioning estimates. (b) XY projection of the data presented in (a).
(c) Scatter for the 2D positioning estimates. (d) Absolute error statistics for the 2D case.
Fig. 15. Experiment 1—(a) and (b) 3D positioning results; (c) and (d) 2D positioning results when three and four beacons are considered. Acoustic beacons—
circles B0,B1,B2and B3.
6.2. Experiment 2: 2D dynamic position estimation
In this experiment, a qualitative evaluation of the positioning system (2D case) was performed for the three and four
beacons case. A moving person with 1.75 m height and the receiver on top of its head was used to evaluate the positioning
system in two moving trajectories with different speeds, i.e. one trajectory with average speed of approximately 0.5 m/s
and the other with average speed of approximately 1.5 m/s, see Fig. 16. In this experiment, only a qualitative evaluation
can be performed because errors introduced by the human movement cannot be extracted due to difficulty in ground-truth
validation. For a better interpretation we opted to add the time dimension in seconds along the trajectory line. As a result
of the TDMA configuration (S(k)=10 ms, L(k)=30 ms and G(k)=47.5 ms), the lag between the first signal transmission
and a position estimation resulted in a mean value of 350 ms with a standard deviation 23 ms.
42 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
Fig. 16. Experiment 2—(a) Trajectory of a user walking at approximately 0.5 m/s. (b) Trajectory of a user walking at approximately 1.5 m/s. Qualitative
results of the positioning system (2D case) for two moving trajectories at different speeds. Real trajectory—solid black line with timestamps in seconds.
Acoustic beacons—circles B0,B1,B2and B3.
6.3. Error analysis
Two main sources of error affect the final position estimation: (1) errors in TDoA estimation (mainly related to beacon
synchronization, sound speed uncertainty and multipath that heavily affects the LoS peak estimation) and (2) errors related
to the network density and geometry, a problem known in literature as Geometric Dilution of Precision [25]. The proposed
WSN infrastructure imposes a sync offset error always below 5 µs, which enabled distance measurements using non-
invasive audio signals with a standard deviation of less than 1 cm thus resulting in a reduced impact on the position
estimation process.
In our application case, we are focusing in low density infrastructures, being the number of beacons limited to three or
four beacons per room. Therefore, an optimal placement of these beacons is crucial to obtain the mobile station position
with increased accuracy [26]. For a small number of beacons, the optimal beacons position is found to be at the vertices of
simple shapes surrounding the mobile station, such as equilateral triangles or squares [27]. During experimental validation,
this criterion was only satisfied in the 2D case. Note that beacon B3is not in an optimal position due to physical room
constraints. The lower the height of B3, the better should be the position estimator performance. An optimal placement
for B3would present a negative height around 5 m, which would be impossible to satisfy. Due to room constrains (room
geometry and existing furniture) we were forced to add B3at 1.77 m height, which was the lowest value we were able to
use. The 3D positioning results presented in Fig. 15(a) suffer from the geometry problems previously introduced. In this case
the impact of the position of the beacon B3resulted in a high sensitivity to noise in most of the 3D position estimates which
could be confirmed by the spread of the results mainly in the z-coordinate. In addiction, for some positions the estimator
could not solve for a valid solution (i.e., inside the room volume) which can be demonstrated by the 2D projection of the 3D
position estimates, see positions (3, 7) and (4, 4) in Fig. 15(b). Due to the low accuracy obtained in z-coordinate (position
estimates with a standard deviation in the meter order) we opted to evaluate the proposed system only for the 2D case.
When the 2D case is considered, the network geometry affects the absolute error mainly due to the non coplanarity of
the mobile station with the beacons plane, due to different height values that it can present, see Fig. 17. In the coplanar case
no error is introduced by the geometry and a valid solution can be obtained when constraining the search of the solution
of the positioning algorithm to fit inside the room area. The 2D projected distances can be computed by d
where hccan be obtained directly from hc=hbhm. In the situation presented in Fig. 17 the measured distances dkare
always greater than its 2D projection d
k. In this case, these larger measured distances affect the final position estimation,
contributing differently for the overall absolute error, depending on the position and height of the mobile station.
In Fig. 18 is presented the error map obtained by simulation when the positioning algorithm is fed with noise-free TDoA
measurements for the situation presented in experiment 1 (3-Beacons case) for different mobile station height values. In
these simulations the receiver height is changed between 1.25 and 2 m in order to obtain a 2D grid of the absolute error.
The absolute 2D error increases for peripheral positions near the acoustic beacons and considerably reduces in the central
zone. This can be geometrically justified by the lack of height information which leads to distance measurements with values
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 43
Fig. 17. Example of the 2D projection obtained from a mobile station with variable height.
Fig. 18. Absolute 2D error when the height of the microphone in the mobile station changes between 1.25 and 2 m for the room used in experiment 1. In
this case only three acoustic beacons (B0,B1and B2) are considered.
always above the real value and with greater impact near the acoustic beacons when the mobile station height deviates from
the acoustic beacons plane. This error analysis is correlated with the results obtained, see Fig. 15(d), in which is possible to
observe that the position estimates distributions are heavily consistent with the absolute error obtained by simulation in
the cases presented in Fig. 18.
7. Results discussion
In Figs. 19(a) and (b) are presented the statistical results for the measured data and its corrected version, i.e. when the
error imposed by the non-coplanarity previously discussed is removed. In the same figures, but at right, is possible to observe
the corresponding histogram and the cumulative sum function for each case.
In Fig. 19 a summary of the statistical metrics used to evaluate the 2D system performance is overlapped for the three
and four beacons cases. The evaluation is based in the absolute max/mean error plus standard deviation and in the absolute
max error obtained for 95% of the cases. Very stable and accurate position estimates were obtained with a mean absolute
standard deviation of 2.2 cm (4-Beacons) and 3.2 cm (3-Beacons). In addition to this, an absolute positioning error of less
than 10 and 16 cm in 95% of the cases was achieved when four and three beacons were used, thus meeting the requirements
of the applications we are focused.
In order to compare the proposed system with other high accuracy indoor positioning systems, we compiled in Table 2
their key features in terms of: ranging principle, reported accuracy, scalability, bandwidth, update rate, cost and smartphone
compatibility. As we are interested in high accuracy positioning systems, only range-based systems are considered.
The main requirements imposed in the system design (e.g., Smartphone Compatibility, Centimeter-level Accuracy, High
Doppler Tolerance and Low-Cost Infrastructure) resulted in design decisions that proved to be appropriate for the target
application. The accuracy obtained meets the specified criteria for users moving at higher speeds and the use of non-invasive
audio pulses overcomes the problems presented by the audible signals used in [35,34,31].
In [10] is referenced a previous work from the authors with a reported 2D absolute mean error of 9.6 cm and a mean
standard deviation of 0.8 cm. The reported performance, when compared to the results obtained in this work, shows a
similar accuracy but a lower precision that could be justified by these two main factors: (1) the system uses ToA (all beacons
and mobile station are in sync) measurements for ranging and (2) the system uses broadband ultrasonic pulses with large
TBP that resulted in narrow compressed peaks and thus in more accurate range measurements. This increase in the precision
performance could be easily observed by the resulting standard deviation value of 0.8 cm, which is significantly smaller than
the results reported in this work.
44 S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46
(a) 2D statistical results using 3-Beacons.
(b) 2D statistical results using 4-Beacons.
Fig. 19. Measured and corrected absolute mean error and standard deviation, for each position evaluated in experiment 1 when three and four beacons
are considered plus error histograms and cumulative sum plots for each case.
Table 2
Centimeter-level positioning systems performance as reported in the literature.
Name Year Principle Ranging
Bandwidth Update
Cost Smartphone
Akuratte 2014 Audio/US TDoA <10 cm (95%) High 1822 kHz 3 Hz Low Yes
Guoguo [28] 2013 Audio/US ToA 6–25 cm High 17–22 kHz 2 Hz Low Yes
Lopes et al. [10] 2012 US ToA 9.6 cm High 20–45 kHz 5 Hz Medium No
Nokia HAIP [29] 2012 RF Bluetooth AoA 30–100 cm High 1 MHz 0.1–40 Hz High Yes
Ubisense [30] 2011 RF UWB TDoA <15 cm Limited High No
Schweinzer et al. [31] 2010 Audio/US TDoA 1 cm High 35–65 kHz 5 Hz Medium No
Pietrzyk et al. [32] 2010 RF UWB ToA 1–2 cm Limited High No
Segura et al. [33] 2010 RF UWB TDoA 20 cm Limited High No
3D Locus [34] 2009 Audio/US Round-trip
1 cm Limited <25 kHz 10 Hz Low No
Cricket [15] 2005 US ToA 1–2 cm High 40 kHz 1 Hz Low No
Mandal et al. [35] 2005 Audio ToA 60 cm Limited 4 kHz Low Yes
From Table 2 is possible to observe two additional smartphone compatible systems that use non-invasive signals, i.e.,
[28,29]. The system presented in [28] uses ‘‘unnoticeable to humans’’ audio/US pulses for ToA ranging which can be seen as a
major disadvantage due to need of synchronization between infrastructure and mobile stations, thus increasing the system
complexity. Furthermore, Nokia developed the system presented in [29] that uses a dedicated and expensive infrastructure
of ‘‘Locators’’ (antenna arrays) that are used to measure the Angle of Arrival (AoA) of a Bluetooth packet that is continuously
transmitted by the smartphone.
8. Conclusions and future work
In this paper is proposed an effective indoor acoustic positioning system fully compatible with conventional smart-
phones. The system uses a synchronized WSN infrastructure of acoustic beacons and non-invasive audio signals for low-cost
ranging which enables accurate indoor smartphone positioning. Experimental tests were performed using an iPhone 4s in
order to evaluate the proposed system. Users that are able to detect the presence of these signals, agreed that a classification
of non-invasive audio was acceptable.
S.I. Lopes et al. / Pervasive and Mobile Computing 20 (2015) 29–46 45
When compared to other centimeter-level positioning systems, the proposed system stands out for several reasons,
among which we highlight:
1. High smartphone compatibility, i.e., users do not need any additional hardware due to the use of TDoA ranging
which enables synchronization-free mobile devices. The limited bandwidth available for the acoustic signal design was
mitigated by an improved TDoA estimation approach, that takes advantage of the transmitted pulses periodicity and by
performing NLoS mitigation;
2. Downlink operation mode (i.e., GPS-like) was possible due to the inclusion of a synchronization protocol shared by the
beacons infrastructure. Moreover, due to the low interference that passive receiving ranging presents when compared
to the active transmitting mode, it is possible to use the system with a high number of simultaneous users (unlimited
number theoretically);
3. Low-cost infrastructure (approximately e35 per beacon) due to the commercial-of-the-shelf component selection in the
acoustic beacon design;
4. Non-invasive acoustic pulse design takes advantage of human psychoacoustics to maximize the transmitted power and
by keeping the pulse non-invasive.
To improve the performance of the proposed system, when severe interference and NLoS situations may occur, a possible
direction is to propose a navigation filter that combines the output of the proposed indoor positioning system with the
data coming from the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) natively available in the smartphone. Additionally, an interference
detection and classification method could be introduced in the system in order to discard invalid measurements that have
passed the actual double validation mechanism. With this, we will be able to include a simplified short-time pedestrian
inertial navigation model and a proper data fusion algorithm in order to estimate the user position based on its dynamics
for small periods when the positioning information is corrupted by interference or inaccurate due to NLoS.
This work obtained national funding from ADI under the project Pervasive Tourism (Ref. 11507) and by national funds
through FCT—Foundation for Science and Technology, in the context of the project PEst-OE/EEI/UI0127/2014.
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... Range-based localization methods have been widely studied. The signal time of arrival (TOA) [7], time difference of arrival (TDOA) [8], angle of arrival (AOA) [9,10], and received signal strength (RSS) are calculated. ...
... Thus, the coordinates of G 1 ðx 4 , y 4 Þ can be selected as the estimated coordinates of the target point T (i.e., G 1 ðx 4 , y 4 Þ = T f ðx f , y f Þ), when the area ratio of the area ðS l , l = 1, 2, ⋯, N L Þ of the small triangle △BCG to the area of S is S l /S ≤ 1. For example, the area ΔBCG of a triangle S Δ can be calculated using Equation (8), and S Δ is a positive value (usually the absolute value jS Δ j). ...
Full-text available
The target localization algorithm is critical in the field of wireless sensor networks (WSNs) and is widely used in many applications. In the conventional localization method, the location distribution of the anchor nodes is fixed and cannot be adjusted dynamically according to the deployment environment. The resulting localization accuracy is not high, and the localization algorithm is not applicable to three-dimensional (3D) conditions. Therefore, a Delaunay-triangulation-based WSN localization method, which can be adapted to two-dimensional (2D) and 3D conditions, was proposed. Based on the location of the target node, we searched for the triangle or tetrahedron surrounding the target node and designed the localization algorithm in stages to accurately calculate the coordinate value of the target. The relationship between the number of target nodes and the number of generated graphs was analysed through numerous experiments, and the proposed 2D localization algorithm was verified by extending it the 3D coordinate system. Experimental results revealed that the proposed algorithm can effectively improve the flexibility of the anchor node layout and target localization accuracy.
... (e) Acoustic based localization: Acoustic signal-based localization use speakers and microphones. The velocity of the acoustic signal is known and time of arrival of a signal is determined by using ToA/TDoA with at least three sensors [35]. Finally, the distance will be calculated by multiplying the signal velocity with time of arrival of a signal. ...
In Light Dependent Resistor (LDR) sensor-based user is localized based on the event and the intensity of the room light when a user enters inside a room and switch ON the lights, the intensity goes high, an entry is noti?ed. An exit is noti?ed when a user switches OFF the light and exit the room. Moreover, the model remains prone to more error in multi user localization because multiple users may enter inside same room at same time and the lights of many rooms remain ON which makes more difficult to localize a user. In order to overcome this ambiguity of light sensors, two passive infrared (PIR) sensor with radio frequency identi?cation (RFID) tag-based model has been proposed, where every user has a tag. In this system, 10 PIR sensors and 5 RFID readers were attached to house room (10.0 m * 6.0m). An entry is noti?ed if the following pattern form, the outer PIR detects a motion and waits for few seconds, next the RFID reader reads the tag given to the user and ?nally the inner PIR detects a motion within the given time delay. An exit of a user is noti?ed only if the pattern from inner PIR to outer PIR is followed with the given time delay. The RFID tag is used to identify which user has entered a room at a particular time and also ensures unauthorized entry. The LDR based system gives accuracy nearby 20% but the multi-person tracking in a binary infrared sensor network-based system gives accuracy near about 90%. In this paper, the proposed PIR sensor along with RFID based indoor navigation system gives accuracy near about 94%.
... The papers [27], [28] propose approaches to detect the position based on audio data from wearable devices. Similarly, these approaches are also wearable-based. ...
We present an algorithm and measurement system to detect the walking direction of persons based on ground vibrations. The approach is privacy-preserving because it solely relies on piezoelectric sensors built into the floor. Therefore, our system can be used in areas where cameras are not allowed or cannot capture the entire area. We present and compare our two innovative methods to analyze the ground vibrations caused by footsteps: the multi-peaks average algorithm (MPAA) and the multi-peaks averaged feature with a deep neural network-based classifier (MPAF-DNNC). MPAA judges the walking direction of pedestrians by analyzing the time-space relationship of at least two consecutive footstep vibration signals from multiple sensors. MPAF-DNNC receives multi-peaks averaged feature as input and uses a deep neural network-based classifier to judge walking direction. Our experiments and evaluation show that our system can correctly determine the walking direction based on only 3 input step events and provides an average F1 score of 0.97. When more than 5 step events are inputted, the proposed system can correctly determine the walking direction with an average F1 score of 1.00.
... The positioning system for smartphones developed by the University of Aveiro consisted of a synchronized wireless sensor network of acoustic beacons, which transmitted chirps following a TDMA protocol [137]. After detecting the chirps from the beacons by a correlation process, the smartphone used the TDOA to obtain its location in 2-D as an optimization problem. ...
Positioning systems have become increasingly popular in the last decade for location-based services such as navigation and asset tracking and management. As opposed to outdoor positioning, where the Global Navigation Satellite System became the standard technology, there is no consensus yet for indoor environments despite of the availability of different technologies, such as radiofrequency, magnetic field, visual light communications, or acoustics. Within these options, acoustics emerged as a promising alternative to obtain high-accuracy low-cost systems. Nevertheless, acoustic signals have to face very demanding propagation conditions, particularly in terms of multipath and Doppler effect. Therefore, even if many acoustic positioning systems have been proposed in the last decades, it remains an active and challenging topic. This paper surveys the developed prototypes and commercial systems that have been presented since they first appeared around the 1980s, to 2022. We classify these systems into different groups depending on the observable they use to calculate the user position, such as the Time-Of-Flight, the Received Signal Strength, or the acoustic spectrum. Furthermore, we summarize the main properties of these systems in terms of accuracy, coverage area and update rate, among others. Finally, we evaluate the limitations of these groups based on the link budget approach, which gives an overview of the system’s coverage from parameters such as source and noise level, detection threshold, attenuation, and processing gain.
... Many acoustic ranging and positioning systems have been developed recently; Refs. [36][37][38][39] combined the indoor positioning and tracking system of the acoustic signal custom equipment to obtain the location information of the target. However, this method usually requires additional equipment such as acoustic BSs, which results in a limit in social distance detection. ...
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With the emergence of COVID-19, social distancing detection is a crucial technique for epidemic prevention and control. However, the current mainstream detection technology cannot obtain accurate social distance in real-time. To address this problem, this paper presents a first study on smartphone-based social distance detection technology based on near-ultrasonic signals. Firstly, according to auditory characteristics of the human ear and smartphone frequency response characteristics, a group of 18 kHz–23 kHz inaudible Chirp signals accompanied with single frequency signals are designed to complete ranging and ID identification in a short time. Secondly, an improved mutual ranging algorithm is proposed by combining the cubic spline interpolation and a two-stage search to obtain robust mutual ranging performance against multipath and NLoS affect. Thirdly, a hybrid channel access protocol is proposed consisting of Chirp BOK, FDMA, and CSMA/CA to increase the number of concurrencies and reduce the probability of collision. The results show that in our ranging algorithm, 95% of the mutual ranging error within 5 m is less than 10 cm and gets the best performance compared to the other traditional methods in both LoS and NLoS. The protocol can efficiently utilize the limited near-ultrasonic channel resources and achieve a high refresh rate ranging under the premise of reducing the collision probability. Our study can realize high-precision, high-refresh-rate social distance detection on smartphones and has significant application value during an epidemic.
... UWB receiver for accurate time distinctions of the transmitter. In [77], Lopes et al. propose a TDoA-based method for centimeter-level indoor localization of smartphones using a WSN infrastructure and non-invasive audio for TDoA estimation. ...
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Large-scale deployments of the Internet of Things (IoT) are adopted for performance improvement and cost reduction in several application domains. The four main IoT application domains covered throughout this article are smart cities, smart transportation, smart healthcare, and smart manufacturing. To increase IoT applicability, data generated by the IoT devices need to be time-stamped and spatially contextualized. LPWANs have become an attractive solution for outdoor localization and received significant attention from the research community due to low-power, low-cost, and long-range communication. In addition, its signals can be used for communication and localization simultaneously. There are different proposed localization methods to obtain the IoT relative location. Each category of these proposed methods has pros and cons that make them useful for specific IoT systems. Nevertheless, there are some limitations in proposed localization methods that need to be eliminated to meet the IoT ecosystem needs completely. This has motivated this work and provided the following contributions: (1) definition of the main requirements and limitations of outdoor localization techniques for the IoT ecosystem, (2) description of the most relevant GNSS-free outdoor localization methods with a focus on LPWAN technologies, (3) survey the most relevant methods used within the IoT ecosystem for improving GNSS-free localization accuracy, and (4) discussion covering the open challenges and future directions within the field. Some of the important open issues that have different requirements in different IoT systems include energy consumption, security and privacy, accuracy, and scalability. This paper provides an overview of research works that have been published between 2018 to July 2021 and made available through the Google Scholar database.
To mitigate the tracking error of moving targets caused by the Doppler shift in acoustic indoor positioning system (AIPS), a novel mitigation method is proposed in this article. It first uses the audio arrival times (AATs) of two adjacent positioning cycles to estimate the relative speed of base station (RSoBS), then uses the estimated RSoBS to update the parameters of the reference signal, reconstructs a new reference signal that matches the received signal, and, finally, substitutes the reconstructed reference signal into the audio detection algorithm to obtain a new AAT estimation, which is then fed back to update the RSoBS estimation. The above process is repeated until a stable RSoBS is obtained, and the AAT estimation corresponding to the final stable RSoBS is the final corrected AAT estimation, which is used to estimate the position of the moving target, thereby improving the tracking accuracy of AIPS. Both simulations and on-site experiments are used to verify the performance of the proposed method. The simulation results show that the ranging deviation caused by the Doppler shift is close to a linear relationship with RSoBS, and the errors of the estimated positions can be effectively mitigated by the proposed method under a low noise level. The on-site experiments show that about 90% of the RSoBS estimation errors are within 0.25 m/s, and the positioning accuracy is improved by about 0.26 m@90%. The proposed method has important application value in improving the tracking accuracy of AIPS for moving targets.
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There is an increasing interest in indoor positioning, which is an emerging technology with a wide range of applications. Accurate and real-time positioning enables augmented and mixed-reality applications, human–machine and home automation gestural interfaces, and navigation in shopping centers. Relevant applications include robotics, acquiring the position of flexible arms, the navigation of unmanned automatic vehicles, security, the virtual fencing of sensitive locations, safety, and preventing accidents through the recognition of dangerous postures and positions in workers. Further fields of application include medicine, such as monitoring elderly people’s movements or rehabilitative exercises; logistics, such as the positioning of goods in warehouses; and sport, such as monitoring body and limb position during training exercises and in game consoles. This reprint contains the articles that appeared in {Sensors’} (MDPI) Special Issue on “Sensors and Systems for Indoor Positioning“. The published original contributions focused on systems and technologies to enable indoor applications.
The Internet of Things (IoT) allows the connections of a large number of sensors, actuators, and smart devices for persisting connectivity.
Conference Paper
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In this paper we propose a high accuracy indoor positioning system based on broadband ultrasonic signals and time of arrival (ToA) measurements. Using low cost transducers we were able to use acoustic chirps of between 20 and 45KHz as pulse signals. This overcomes most of the problems faced by the narrow band signals usually used with common piezo-ultrasonic transducers, which include poor resolution, low environment noise immunity, short range and low robustness to the Doppler effect. Using synchronized ultrasonic anchor nodes and time division multiplexing to share the medium, we build a GPS-like system for indoor pervasive applications. A set of experiments were performed to evaluate the proposed system. Very stable 3D position estimates were obtained (absolute standard deviation less than 2.3cm) and a position refresh rate of 350ms was achieved.
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Abstract This paper presents the implementation,and design of a wireless sensor network developed to facilitate indoor mobile robot localization. The sensor network consists of homogeneous nodes, termed the Parrot, that can measure range to other nodes within the network using ultrasonic signals. This information provides algorithms running on mobile and static nodes to analyze and learn their physical location within the network. Since the location of the nodes can potentially change with time, the system we have developed allows us to “map” the topology of the network from the range measurements in a nearly dynamic,manner. Through the use of a media access control scheme the Parrots are able to coordinate node transmission timings. In addition to the control scheme, Parrots are also able to switch between four different operational modes that manage,the information flow between,the nodes. The system has been successfully tested to localize and map individual nodes within an office environment. We present experimental results of accurately mapping,and localizing the network structure with the presence of a mobile node. I Contents
Radio systems capable of localization have emerging applications in homeland security, law enforcement, emergency response, defense command and control, multi-robot coordination and vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collision avoidance. In fact, high resolution localization is vital for many applications, including: traffic alert, emergency services, e.g., indoor localization for firefighters, and battlefield command and control. These systems promise to dramatically reduce society's vulnerabilities to catastrophic events and improve its quality of of life. While work this important area is progressing, limited resources are available to support graduate students and researchers in this important area. Specifically, a limited number of books has been published in this area covering selected subjects. This comprehensive handbook offers gaps of available localization books presenting in-depth coverage from fundamentals of coordinates to advanced application examples.
Indoor environments present opportunities for a rich set of location-aware applications such as navigation tools for humans and robots, interactive virtual games, resource discovery, asset tracking, location-aware sensor networking etc. Typical indoor applications require better accuracy than what current outdoor location systems provide. Outdoor location technologies such as GPS have poor indoor performance because of the harsh nature of indoor environments. Further, typical indoor applications require different types of location information such as physical space, position and orientation. This dissertation describes the design and implementation of the Cricket indoor location system that provides accurate location in the form of user space, position and orientation to mobile and sensor network applications. Cricket consists of location beacons that are attached to the ceiling of a building, and receivers, called listeners, attached to devices that need location. Each beacon periodically transmits its location information in an RF message. At the same time, the beacon also transmits an ultrasonic pulse. The listeners listen to beacon transmissions and measure distances to nearby beacons, and use these distances to compute their own locations.
High-sensitivity GPS and assisted GPS are being extensively researched as methods to improve positioning indoors, where weak, multipath-affected signals are often difficult or impossible to use. To improve knowledge of indoor GPS behavior, this paper presents details of a raw GPS processing technique that enables extremely long coherent integrations, thereby providing extremely high detection sensitivity for indoor signals. The technique is used to evaluate signal characteristics in a pair of datasets gathered indoors, with carrier-to-noise density ratios as much as 40 dB or more below nominal open-sky signals. Results show that weak signals such as these can be used to provide reasonably accurate positioning if a sufficient number of signals can be detected to ensure good positioning geometry. Signal degradations caused by multipath are shown to be less damaging to position than the loss of availability caused by low signal strength. In addition, the high-sensitivity techniques based on precise tracking loop control demonstrate the potential for improved high-sensitivity GPS-based technologies using ultra-tight integration with additional sensors.
Conference Paper
Using smartphones for accurate indoor localization opens a new frontier of mobile services, offering enormous opportunities to enhance users' experiences in indoor environments. Despite significant efforts on indoor localization in both academia and industry in the past two decades, highly accurate and practical smartphone-based indoor localization remains an open problem. To enable indoor location-based services (ILBS), there are several stringent requirements for an indoor localization system: highly accurate that can differentiate massive users' locations (foot-level); no additional hardware components or extensions on users' smartphones; scalable to massive concurrent users. Current GPS, Radio RSS (e.g. WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee), or Fingerprinting based solutions can only achieve meter-level or room-level accuracy. In this paper, we propose a practical and accurate solution that fills the long-lasting gap of smartphone-based indoor localization. Specifically, we design and implement an indoor localization ecosystem Guoguo. Guoguo consists of an anchor network with a coordination protocol to transmit modulated localization beacons using high-band acoustic signals, a realtime processing app in a smartphone, and a backend server for indoor contexts and location-based services. We further propose approaches to improve its coverage, accuracy, and location update rate with low-power consumption. Our prototype shows centimeter-level localization accuracy in an office and classroom environment. Such precise indoor localization is expected to have high impact in the future ILBS and our daily activities.
Optimal placement of sensors or landmarks for the localization of an autonomous guided vehicle (AGV) based on range measurements is considered. The optimization relies on the Fisher information matrix (FIM). A closed-form expression of the FIM determinant is obtained for 2-D and 3-D spaces, considering heterogeneous sensors and distance-dependent ranging errors. Analytical bounds on the FIM determinant are derived, and several optimal landmark placement expressions for specific scenarios using two groups of landmarks are given. A minimax formulation for the optimal landmark placement is proposed and iteratively solved using exponential smoothing. There are several key features integrated into the proposed approach. These include 1) averaging of the cost function over elementary regions of the AGV search space to include the effect of the whole search space, 2) using a projected gradient search to stay within the boundaries of the landmark search space, and 3) searching on a convex space for placing the landmarks. Convergence issues of the proposed algorithm are discussed. Numerical results demonstrate that the proposed optimal landmark placement enables accurate AGV localization over significantly large volume or area of the search space compared with the case when landmarks are randomly placed.
A method of precise time synchronization of wireless sensors employing an IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver, and specifically employing the 6LoWPAN protocol, was developed. It uses the IEEE 1588 synchronization standard and the IEEE 1451.5 Smart Transducer Data standard. A Wireless Transducer Interface Module (WTIM) was designed and fabricated. It utilizes the IEEE 802.15.4 transceiver model TI CC2430 which allows access to a hardware sync signal. The difference in timestamps between two WTIMs was measured. The results show that the synchronization precision is better than 10 μs for short synchronization intervals but increases to about 100 μs for longer synchronization intervals (1 sec for crystal accuracies of 50 ppm). The method was tested for 6LoWPAN wireless protocol but would apply to other wireless sensors based on the IEEE 802.15.4 protocols.
Application of the ISO 3382 standard can lead to the acquisition of large amounts of data describing conditions in a hall. The data could include the values of a number of measures at 6 or more octave band frequencies and for many combinations of source and receiver location. This paper discusses and gives examples of using this data to find important acoustical features. The amount of data can be reduced by calculating average values over the entire data set or for each sub-area of the hall. Various important spatial variations can often be better understood from plots of values versus source-receiver distance. The analysis approach will depend on the purpose of the study, which could be for comparisons with various criteria, for investigations of problems, or to better understand the acoustical properties of the hall. The significance of new measurements can be determined by comparing values: with proposed ideal criteria, with values in well-known halls, or with theoretical predictions. The importance of differences between two values should be considered in terms of published just noticeable differences for particular measures. Separately examining early- and late-arriving sound levels can be a useful diagnostic tool for better understanding the acoustical properties of halls.