Date of Original Version



Conference Proceeding

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Abstract or Description

In this paper, we present the design and evaluation of a platform that can be used for timesynchronization and indoor positioning of mobile devices. The platform uses the Time-Difference-Of-Arrival (TDOA) of multiple ultrasonic chirps broadcast from a network of beacons placed throughout the environment to find an initial location as well as synchronize a receiver's clock with the infrastructure. These chirps encode identification data and ranging information that can be used to compute the receiver's location. Once the clocks have been synchronized, the system can continue performing localization directly using Time-of-Flight (TOF) ranging as opposed to TDOA. This provides similar position accuracy with fewer beacons (for tens of minutes) until the mobile device clock drifts enough that a TDOA signal is once again required. Our hardware platform uses RF-based time synchronizationto distribute clock synchronization from a subset of infrastructure beacons connected to a GPS source. Mobile devices use a novel time synchronization technique leverages the continuously free-running audio sampling subsystem of a smartphone to synchronize with global time. Once synchronized, each device can determine an accurate proximity from as little as one beacon using TOF measurements. This significantly decreases the number of beacons required to cover an indoor space and improves performance in the face of obstructions. We show through experiments that this approach outperforms the Network Time Protocol (NTP) on smartphones by an order of magnitude, providing an average 720μs synchronization accuracy with clock drift rates as low as 2ppm.





Published In

Proceedings of the IEEE Real-Time and Embedded Technology and Applications Symposium (RTAS), 2015, 108-118.