How to navigate large indoor areas where GPS signals are relatively weak, like very large buildings, underground tunnels and basements? That was the problem that motivated Benedict Komba, a Tanzanian final year student in the University of Dar es Salaam pursuing a BSc. in Telecommunication Engineering, to dig and research into open hardware. His project, titled “BLE based indoor navigation system”, is also his final year project in pursuing his bachelor degree. “BLE” goes for “Bluetooth Low Energy”. “Indoor navigation systems need a means of trilateration”, explains Benedict Komba in his final presentation. “A Bluetooth Low Energy was chosen over other near-field communication (NFC) technologies, on these grounds: low cost, low power consumption and high range”. The BLE solution interacts with beacon networks configured in server mode. This is how he details the system on his website: “Bluetooth Low Energy technology is one of the NFC technology which unlike other NFCs it consumes relatively low power. Also it’s a server-client based NFC that can be used for navigation purposes. How? It’s by having multiple BLE servers mounted on a building and configure a BLE client on a mobile application. The RSSIs on the mobile application accompanied by server’s UUIDs can be used to pinpoint the user in a 2D space of the building.” Following the roadmap of the project, this January 2023 it will be implemented for testing. “I’m exceedingly humbled and profoundly honored to be part of this OHM cohort. It has been a great pleasure meeting and getting to interact with different mentors as well as co mentees”, says Benedict. He also shows appreciation for his mentor, Ronald Tsatsi, “for always being there when needed”.

More details on the BLE Navigation System can be found here. Or ask Benedict!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash