In September Patently Apple posted a report titled "More Patents are fulfilled as Apple's iOS 11 introduces us to Indoor Mapping." Apple noted that with iOS 11 you're now able to see "detailed maps of major airports and shopping centers around the world. Find out which restaurants are past security at the airport or which stores are on level three of the mall." Our September report illustrated one major patent on this and today Apple was granted a more sophisticated patent regarding indoor mapping.
Granted Patent: Using Periodic Magnetometer Signals for Indoor Navigation
Apple's newly granted patent covers their invention relating to indoor navigation, and more specifically, to using periodic magnetometer signals for indoor navigation.
One aspect of the invention can be implemented as a mobile device that includes a magnetometer; a storage device to store floor plans of respective levels of a multilevel building; and one or more hardware processors implementing an indoor location estimator system configured to estimate location of the mobile device while the mobile device is in motion on a first level of the multilevel building, the mobile device location on the first level being estimated based on the first level's floor plan; estimate that the mobile device enters an elevator of the multilevel building, on the first level, and exits the elevator after a time interval; determine, at least in part based on characteristics of a periodic magnetometer signal, that the mobile device has exited the elevator on a second level of the multilevel building that is offset from the first level by a number of levels. The periodic magnetometer signal is formed, by the magnetometer, in response to the magnetometer traversing a portion of an iron-based periodic structure corresponding to the number of levels of the multilevel building during the time interval. The indoor location estimator system is further configured to select, in response to determination of the second level, the second level's floor plan from among the stored floor plans; and estimate location of the mobile device while the mobile device is in motion on the second level of the multilevel building based on the selected floor plan.
Apple's patent FIG. 1 above illustrates a user of a mobile device that enters an elevator on a departure level of a multilevel building and exits the elevator after a time interval at an arrival level, different from the departure level. An indoor location estimator implemented on the mobile device estimates that the arrival level is one of a subset of levels of the multilevel building. The estimated level is obtained based, at least in part, on a periodic magnetometer signal formed by a magnetometer of the mobile device. In this example, the periodic magnetometer signal is formed due to the magnetometer traveling along an iron-based structural grid with periodicity corresponding to separation of adjacent levels.
Apple's patent FIG. 7 shows an example of a technique for estimating, based on a magnetometer signal formed during an elevator trip, a floor on which the elevator trip of mobile device ends.
Apple's patent FIGS. 2 and 3 show aspects of an example of a location estimation system that uses a particle filter--having inputs that include (1) sensor signals formed on sensors of the mobile device, and (2) one or more level floor plans stored by the mobile device--to estimate location of the mobile device while moving on and/or crossing corresponding levels of the multilevel building.
Apple's patent FIG. 4 above shows us a graphical user interface (GUI) that includes a map of a departure level indicating a path traveled by a mobile device to an estimated location of the mobile device inside an elevator.
Apple's granted patent. 9,832,617 was originally filed in Q1 2016 and published today by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Rob Mayor, Apple's Director of Location Technologies is noted as the sole inventor of this invention.
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