Wearable cartographic tech enables people to map the insides of buildings just by walking around.

Online maps and Google Street View are pretty crucial tools for getting somewhere. But once you're there, figuring out exactly where to go can sometimes be a challenge. Is room B624 in the basement? A building called B? On the 6th floor?

Soon, hopefully, confusion like this will fade away.

As we recently reported, efforts are growing to create indoor maps of buildings, especially in Seoul. Though Google already offers indoor maps of places like shopping malls and convention centers, the technology hasn't spread. A new device under development at MIT could change that.

According to MIT, the future of indoor mapping could be a new prototype they've developed. It's a wearable vest equipped with a stripped down camera from the Microsoft Kinect video game system that can scan a 270-degree arc as it moves through an environment. The setup is also outfitted with accelerometers, gyroscopes and a barometer to track the shape and form of the mappable space as the walker moves around.

This video explains further, and shows how a 3D map of an indoor area can instantly develop as a person wonders through a building.

And while mapping out where the Cinnabon is inside a shopping mall may be important to some people, the researchers at MIT see more important uses of this technology – from rescue scenarios to situations where hazardous materials has leaked inside a building or facility. The U.S. Air Force and the Office of Naval Research also supported this research, which indicates they may see some non-civilian uses in the future.

Image courtesy Youtube user MITNewsOffice

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  2. a photo of a tiny house in Oregon
    Design

    How Amazon Could Transform the Tiny House Movement

    Could the e-commerce giant help turn small-home living from a niche fad into a national housing solution?

  3. a photo of a BYD-built electric bus.
    Transportation

    A Car-Centric City Makes a Bid for a Better Bus System

    Indianapolis is set to unveil a potentially transformative all-electric bus rapid transit line, along with a host of major public transportation upgrades.

  4. Charts

    The Evolution of Urban Planning in 10 Diagrams

    A new exhibit from the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association showcases the simple visualizations of complex ideas that have changed how we live.

  5. Life

    How Bad Is It to Let Your Cat Outside?

    Your adorable house cat is also a ruthless predator. A conservation biologist makes the case for keeping cats indoors, or at least on leashes.

×