Fujitsu and Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) are developing an indoor guidance system using Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology in conjunction with a smartphone. The UWB positioning system is controlled by a PC, which connects to base stations positioned around any indoor area. Users access the system via smartphone, select a location, and are given audio instructions to the destination. Currently the system uses a Fujitsu Arrows X LTE F-05D, a mapping application built on Android 2.3, and IR-UWB upper band frequencies.
Similar systems like Google Maps provide indoor maps and walking directions, but rely on GPS which is significantly less accurate indoors. NICT and Fujitsu claim a high level of precision for the indoor system — it operates in real time with a margin of error of less than 30 centimeters. The system is primarily aimed at assisting the blind, but it could also be used for indoor visitor guidance in libraries, museums, and government buildings. In future development the companies hope to improve the system to detect and warn users of obstacles in the travel path, a feature that's essential to the project's goal of assisting the visually impaired. The system will be demonstrated later this week at Wireless Technology Park 2012, but there's no telling when, or even if, it will become a real product.