Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Process and system for calculating distances between wireless nodes

Posted by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPCResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

A novel procedure to calculate distances between wireless nodes that do not require hardware customization has been developed. This procedure and the system associated with it allow location systems to be easily developed using almost any technology (e.g. IEEE 802.11). Partners to further develop the system and/or to establish commercial agreements with technical cooperation are sought.

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

The Challenge


Location techniques based on multilateration require measuring the distance between the target node and several landmarks, which position is known. Distances are frequently estimated from the time-of-flight of a signal sent by the target node to these landmarks.
However, most of the network protocols do not support time measurements with the accuracy required for location purposes. Then, hardware specially developed for this purpose is used. The main challenge is to provide accurate enough time-of-flight measurements without customizing the hardware or modifying the network interface drivers.

The Technology


The technology consists of two software modules that are run in the wireless nodes to be positioned. These modules are associated with a specific network interface among the available in the node. The node will use that interface to perform a ping process, i.e., send a packet (or frame or cell) and wait for a response (two-way TOA approach). The purpose of these modules is to compute the time-of-flight of the packets sent by the node to the landmarks. Thus, one of the nodes traps all the network traffic, associates a time-mark with each packet/frame/cell and builds a local database with this information. The second module matches the pair of packets associated with the same ping process, computes the time-of-flight of the packets and cleans the local database.

Current stage of development


A proof-of-concept of this technology has been implemented in an IEEE 802.11 device and tested in depth.

Applications and Target Market


This technology can be implemented in any location system, but it is especially interesting in the case of indoor location applications, such as health care, indoor navigation, parcel/ person tracking, emergency stuff (e.g. fire brigades), etc.

Innovative advantages


Do not require hardware customization Software already running in the wireless node is not modified (transparent for the rest of services running in the wireless node) Applicable to any technology using a two-way TOA approach No need for maintenance: hardware and software modifications do not impact on the location capabilities Suitable for location systems running indoors

Intellectual property status

Granted Patent
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Technology available for licensing with technical cooperation Patent Status PCT and USA patent applications

Technology Owner

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Technology Transfer Office

Related keywords

  • Electronics, IT and Telecomms
  • Sensors & Wireless products
  • Internet Technologies/Communication (Wireless, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth)
  • E-Health
  • Applications for Health
  • Navigation and embedded systems
  • Satellite Navigation Systems
  • Medical/health
  • Rescue and emergency equipment
  • indoor location
  • inhouse
  • healthcare
  • indoor navigation
  • tracking
  • person tracking
  • trackers

About Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - UPC

Technology Transfer Office from Spain

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech is a public institution dedicated to higher education and research in the fields of engineering, architecture and science, which contributes its knowledge and expertise in order to increase scientific output, transfer its results to society and provide a network of scientific and technical state-of-the-art facilities and technology valorization services that place us at the leading edge of innovation and economic development.

The UPC has established itself as a driver of innovation and is the technology partner of choice for companies and organizations with which it develops projects and builds partnerships. A role borne out by the numerous agreements and research projects that have been set in motion by groups, organizations and laboratories; the creation of new technology-based companies; the generation and exploitation of patents, and the scientific and technical services UPC makes available to its environment in order to generate progress and employment.

The Technology Transfer Office (SGI) is responsible of Designing, coordinating and implementing research valorisation strategies, carrying out the protection policy of the research results, marketing these results through license contracts and designing and setting up the University's enterprise creation model in order to transfer the results of the research to the market, protect and commercialize these results, promote the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation, and create technology-based companies within the UPC environment.

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