Talking Lights Help Patients Navigate

Talking Lights has created a way for patients to find their way around inside hospitals and nursing homes. The system makes use of a network of modified fluorescent light fixtures with unique flicker signatures.


(Talking Lights system)

I worked for ten years at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor, and I can tell you that finding your way around is incredibly difficult.

Here's how Talking Lights works:

The Talking Lights System is an optically-based, multiple-use, context aware local area wireless system for data transmission that makes it possible to achieve GPS-like position identification and guidance indoors, where GPS doesn't operate accurately.

The Talking Lights communications link is created by modulating the light from an ordinary light fixture to encode information. The light continues to perform its original function of providing bright illumination without visible flicker while simultaneously establishing an information link for context-aware data transmission.

As it approaches the modulated light fixture, the [handheld] receiver decodes and processes data from the light and transforms it into information that can be presented in analog or digital form. The Talking Lights System can be used to form a hybrid network that combines the advantages of optical location-finding with broadband WiFi duplex data transfer.

The Talking Lights network enables the receiver to determine its location or travel path, while the Wi-Fi network communicates rich information that is tied to a specific location.

This system reminds me of the directional tickets used in enormous transport stations, from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series; these tickets would light up for as long as you were following the correct path.

Via Light-based Hospital GPS.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/12/2008)

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