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Never Get Lost Again

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Outdoor navigation with GPS has become a piece of ubiquitous technology, especially with the advent of the smartphone. But in large spaces like shopping malls, hospitals and airports, indoor localization, without the communication of satellite, has a set of its very own challenges. 

AI, big data and IoT expert Prof Gary Chan, has the answer. By combining indoor Wi-Fi with other signals – such as the geomagnetic field, accelerator and motion sensor readings, his smartphone app “Wherami” can pinpoint indoor location with an error often less than 3m, three times more accurate than that of existing methods. His novel method amalgamates fused signals and employs a self-made algorithm that minimizes the impacts of interference and noise to hone in on accuracy. The same technology is now being extrapolated to indoor tracking, to be applied for personalized recommendations or locating patients in hospitals. 

Wherami has been deployed in several locations in Hong Kong, including the labyrinth-like mall Harbor City and HKUST, ensuring that the directionally-challenged never get lost again. 

Prof Gary Chan is a Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at HKUST. He works closely with industry giants and his research has been supported by Boeing, China Mobile, Cisco, Google, HAECO, HP, Huawei and Microsoft, among others. His recent apps Whereami and SmartAP have garnered numerous industry awards, including the International Exhibition of Inventions (Silver Medal) and HK ICT Awards (Certificate of Merit).

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