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Is Ultrasonic Positioning System Technology the Right Choice?

Can sound waves be used to help pinpoint indoor location?

About Ultrasonic Positioning Technology

Ultrasonic positioning technology uses ultrasonic waves to determine the position, distance and movement of objects or devices within a specific space. It relies on the principles of ultrasonic sound waves – those with frequencies higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing (typically above 20 kHz). Some say soundwaves can pinpoint people and objects more accurately than radio frequency waves which can be picked up by multiple sensors.

How Ultrasonic Positioning Technology Works

An ultrasonic sensor or transmitter emits ultrasonic waves into the surrounding environment which propagate through the air or other mediums, such as water or solids, as a series of compressions and rarefactions. When waves encounter an object or surface, they reflect back toward the sensor, creating a reflection due to the difference in acoustic impedance between the transmitting medium and the object.

The ultrasonic sensor detects the reflected waves using a specialized receiver which measures the time it takes for the ultrasonic waves to travel from the sensor to the object and back. This time interval is known as the time-of-flight. By knowing the speed of sound in the medium (air, water, etc.), the distance between the sensor and the object can be calculated using the time-of-flight of the ultrasonic waves.

To determine the position of an object or device, multiple ultrasonic sensors are often used. By placing the sensors at known locations within the environment, the system can perform triangulation or trilateration calculations. Uninterrupted measurements of the distance between the sensors and the object allow for real-time tracking of its movement. Changes in distance over time provide information about the speed and direction of the object's movement.

Ultrasonic Positioning Technology Challenges

This technology comes with privacy concerns since location information is disclosed to infrastructure administrators. It also proves unscalable as the number of simultaneous microphones in an environment affects system performance. With multiple microphone installations, sound emissions will collide with each other creating untold interference.

Here are two further challenges:

  • Requires direct line of sight
  • Requires additional hardware

Download our Technology Landscapes whitepaper to learn about how Mapsted outperforms pre-existing technology.

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Mapsted’s Indoor Positioning System Needs No External Hardware

  • Technical limitations of other indoor navigation technologies can't deliver what Mapsted's patented core technology does – a highly accurate and cost-effective stand-alone indoor positioning system. GPS positioning doesn’t even come close.
  • Other indoor positioning systems require expensive external hardware and costly maintenance.
  • Instead of relying on external hardware for location-based needs, Mapsted technology pulls from a huge variety of data sources creating an accurately powerful indoor positioning system.

Mapsted’s technology is way ahead of its time for indoor navigation and positioning!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Ultrasonic positioning determines the position or location of an object or device within a specific space using ultrasonic waves. It involves the use of ultrasonic sensors or transmitters to emit and receive ultrasonic waves and the measurement of the time it takes for them to travel from the sensor to the object and back. By calculating the distance based on the time-of-flight of the ultrasonic waves and utilizing multiple sensors placed at known locations, the position of the object can be determined.

Ultrasonic positioning systems have a wide range of applications across various industries. Some common applications include indoor navigation, object tracking and localization, robotics and automation, healthcare and assisted living, security and surveillance, automotive and transportation, virtual augmented reality and smart home automation.

Ultrasonic sensors are commonly used to detect and measure distances to objects based on the principles of ultrasonic sound waves. Some key applications include distance and level measurements, presence detection, object tracking and localization, flow rate measurement and parking assistance.

An ultrasonic position sensor works by utilizing ultrasonic waves to measure the distance between the sensor and an object or surface. The accuracy and range of the sensor depend on factors such as the quality of the transducer, environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity and the presence of obstacles or reflective surfaces that may affect wave propagation.

Ultrasonic data is the information or measurements obtained through the use of ultrasonic technology. Ultrasonic waves are sound waves with frequencies higher than the upper limit of human hearing, typically above 20,000 Hz. Ultrasonic data can be collected by transmitting and receiving ultrasonic waves and analyzing the resulting signals.

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