The Inertial Navigation System (INS) project has been researched at CENSI since 2009. Initiated by the Politie Groningen Noord (North Groningen Police), the aim of the project is to develop a tracking system that enables emergency personnel to be followed whenever they enter a building.
During each semester a number of student groups have tackled different phases of the project. Most recently CENSI students Bram Fokkens and Joost Zuidema presented their results and working prototype to lecturers, industry partners and the media. The INS project has generated a lot of interest and has been featured in, amongst others, the Dagblad van het Noorden and BNR News Radio.
Here the students give an overview of the research project and their experiences at CENSI.
Bram: “These days it’s very easy to track the position of people using, for example, GPS. However, as soon as they enter a building you will lose them. The police force was looking for a solution to this problem and came to the Hanze Institute of Technology and CENSI for help."
"We then investigated what would be possible. Transmitters and receivers were not an option, because walls and the surroundings interfere with the signal. Eventually we came up with the Indoor Navigation System."
"The system is attached to a shoe and incorporates a sensor that measures acceleration, rotation and the earth’s magnetic field. Using these measurements, it’s possible to calculate somebody’s position.”
Joost: “But there was one big problem: there is always a certain amount of inaccuracy. This isn’t a problem after a few steps, but the longer you walk, the more the error builds up. This has been solved by re-setting the measurements after every step. This has led to an enormous improvement in the accuracy.”
Bram: “When an emergency situation arises a number of police officers may have to enter a building. This system makes it possible to follow their movements from a mobile unit outside the building. All the police commander needs is a laptop with special software. He or she can then follow the emergency team in ‘real-time’ as they search the premises.”
Joost: “The sensor on our prototype is still very conspicuous, but it’s only a first version. If this system comes to market, then it will most certainly be integrated within the shoe, for example in the sole. The costs of the system will be around five to six hundred Euros. A very cost effective solution when you consider the benefits it offers.”
Bram: “The CENSI minor offered a different perspective to the education we had received up to now. In previous years we were given the tools to solve a problem. But in this instance we had to find the right tools ourselves, meaning there was much more freedom, creativity and autonomy involved. Although we haven’t solved the problem completely, we’ve been able to give the INS project a clear direction. The next CENSI groups will have a strong foundation to take-over and finish the research.”