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. Design

    What Cities Can Do to Help Birds and Bees Survive

    Pollinators—the wildlife that shuffle pollen between flowers—are being decimated. But they may still thrive with enough help from urban humans.

  2. a photo of a highway
    Transportation

    Americans Are Spending Billions on Bad Highway Expansions

    PIRG’s annual list of “highway boondoggles” includes nine transportation projects that will cost a total of $25 billion while driving up emissions.

  3. Rows of machinery with long blue tubes and pipes seen at a water desalination plant.
    Environment

    A Water-Stressed World Turns to Desalination

    Desalination is increasingly being used to provide drinking water around the globe. But it remains expensive and creates its own environmental problems.

  4. Transportation

    CityLab University: Induced Demand

    When traffic-clogged highways are expanded, new drivers quickly materialize to fill them. What gives? Here’s how “induced demand” works.

  5. a photo of a woman covering her ears on a noisy NYC subway platform
    Life

    My Quixotic Quest for Quiet in New York City

    In a booming city, the din of new construction and traffic can be intolerable. Enter Hush City, an app to map the sounds of silence.   

×