About this project
Pozyx in the press
What is Pozyx?
Pozyx is the first affordable and easy-to-use hardware solution that provides accurate indoor (and outdoor) positioning and motion information for Arduino. In order to achieve a positioning accuracy of a few centimeters, the pozyx system relies on a novel wireless radio technology called ultra-wideband (UWB). The accuracy achieved with this ultra-wideband technology is several times better than traditional positioning systems based on WiFi, bluetooth, RFID or GPS signals. Furthermore, the signals can penetrate walls and make it suitable for indoor environments.
What to do with it?
The high positioning accuracy enables a lot of applications that weren’t possible before. For example, you can program a drone or robot to navigate through a building without bumping into things. But that’s just the beginning...
We firmly believe that for indoor positioning to become great, we have to share the technology and make it easy to work with such that creative minds can come up with the next killer positioning application!
Depending on your skill level, you can use the system in several ways:
- Beginner: Plug the Pozyx tag into your arduino and get started right away. Obtaining your position and orientation is done with a few lines of code using our Arduino library.
- Intermediate: Use the Pozyx system as any other sensor. Connect with it through I2C. Perfect for a connection with a raspberry pie or some other platform.
- Expert: Program the microcontroller of the tags or anchors yourself and connect with all the onboard sensors for ultimate control. We provide you detailed tutorials and example files for this.
How does it work?
Our system is very similar to the GPS you have in your car. Like the GPS satellites in the sky, Pozyx requires 4 little anchors to be placed on the walls. The Pozyx board is what you will put on an Arduino to track it.
Positioning is achieved by making range measurements (by means of two-way ranging) with the anchors. The Pozyx tags processes all measurements to compute the position and orientation of the board, at a high update rate.
- Indoor ranging and 3D positioning: Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology is the key to accurate ranging and positioning. However, the UWB-module itself only provides accurate timestamps. We have implemented state-of-the art algorithms to obtain the most accurate ranging and positioning information.
- Automatic anchor calibration: 3D positioning requires at least 4 anchors to be within range (3 for 2D positioning). In general the position of these anchors must be known in advance. Pozyx provides the feature to obtain the anchor positions with a single line of code. No manual measuring required!
- Remote control: With the use of ultra-wideband wireless technology, messages can be transmitted over the air. These messages can be text or user data, but also commands to control remote pozyx modules. We made it possible to remotely turn on LEDs, toggle pins, read out sensor data, and much more. Perfect for your home automation project!
- 9-axis sensor fusion: Pozyx is equipped with an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. With these sensors it is possible to obtain the orientation of the device. However, separately these sensors all have their flaws. For example, the accelerometer is noisy and the gyroscope is biased. Together these flaws can be mitigated. Pozyx offers 9-axis sensor fusion (3 axes for every sensor) to get the best possible measurements.
- Reprogrammable: By default, we program the board with our firmware for localization and tracking. However, it is possible to reprogram the microcontroller to suit your own needs. Using the debug pins (SWD), you can load your custom code on the microcontroller of the board. We provide you with detailed tutorials and example files that take care of all the configuration: gpio pins, leds, clocks, and all the sensors (through SPI or I2C).
Technical specs of the arduino-compatible board
- dimensions: 71.75 x 58.00 mm
- powerful STM32F401 microcontroller
- ultra-wideband transceiver (decawave DWM1000)
- 9-axis inertial motion unit (invensense MPU9250)
- pressure sensor (freescale MPL3115A2)
- I2C for serial communication
- SWD for programming
- micro USB for firmware updates
- 4 general purpose LEDS
- 2 LEDs for UWB connectivity
- 4 optional GPIO pins
- Onboard 3.3V regulator: automatic power selection from battery, arduino or usb.
The anchors have similar specs as the tags without the motion unit because the anchors are considered to be stationary. The anchors come in a protective casing of dimensions 63.50 x 63.50 x 22.86 mm and together with a micro USB power adapter.
Where we're at
In terms of hardware, we are nearly finished. We have come from a partial breadboard implementation of our system to the working prototype. Currently, we are finishing an improved version that also includes the pressure sensor and an usb output for firmware updates.
In terms of software, the core features such as positioning, anchor calibration and sensor fusion are finished. However, we still need to polish things and finish the Arduino library. This will be performed during the campaign and during the production of the modules
Why we need your help
Pozyx isn’t a consumer product (yet). It’s a working prototype to show that accurate indoor positioning works! We don’t want to keep it on our shelves. We believe that with kickstarter, we can reach a lot of creative people that can use our positioning system to create the most wonderful applications!
Furthermore, with kickstarter we can:
- reduce production cost by producing in higher volumes.
- get feedback while we are finishing our product and writing the Arduino libraries.
Who are we?
Pozyx started with Samuel Van de Velde who has been doing research on indoor positioning for almost 5 years at Ghent university. Because their was no affordable or simple positioning platform available to test his algorithms or applications, he decided to make one. Once the ultra-wideband technology was available, Vadim Vermeiren and Koen Verheyen joined to make the first prototype. After that Michael Van de Velde joined for some serious marketing action.
Risks and challenges
At the kickstarter launch we already have a correctly working Pozyx prototype, different versions have been made and tested. Our current version is mature enough and ready to be produced. We have chosen to do all kickstarter manufacturing in Belgium close to our offices. This allows us to be on top of issues and minimizing risks. Based on the success of kickstarter we can easily upscale production with this partner. Still, there are risks with any hardware product, particularly manufacturing issues, but we feel we have reduced these risks significantly.
Like with any other hardware you would purchase, there is a possibility that the product breaks. To avoid this as much as possible, we have:
1.) Partnered with a well known industry leader to manufacture our board
2.) Manually tested every tag and anchor that will be shipped
3.) One year of hardware support, meaning in case of a malfunction (when using the board in regular conditions) you can ship your product back to use and we will try to fix it or replace it if necessary.
As for software, we have verified all algorithms, but there is still some software to be coded prior to the final release. Reducing the amount of time for this task will be the biggest challenge. As for software quality we will continue on providing software updates for your Pozyx system on a regular basis. To reduce software risks we have also build in fail-safe mechanisms, e.g. triggering auto reboots for anchors when software crashes.
A last risk that we would like to mention is shipping. We are no experts in this domain, but we will try to do our best to deliver every package on time! For our Belgium customers we even offer a free door-to-door delivery.
Most of all: WE BELIEVE THAT WE CAN BRING POZYX TO YOUR HOME!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The maximum range of the ultra-wideband signals is 200m in clear line-of-sight (LOS). In indoor environments this will be less due to obstructions such as walls. Our test have shown that the signal can usually penetrate 1 or 2 thick concrete walls.
No. The ultra-wideband technology transmits very short pulses using one of the 6 RF bands between 3.5GHz to 6.5GHz. Because of the very large bandwidth the transmit power is strictly regulated and very low. The UWB chip we use is designed to comply with FCC & ETSI UWB spectral masks.
At the moment the maximum update rate for the position is between 5Hz and 10Hz for a single tag, depending on the positioning algorithm selected. We are still trying hard to optimize the software to get an even higher update rate.
If you are looking at the developer's kit or the bulk order, you may wonder if multi-tag localization is supported. And yes, this is possible. For this, every tag localizes one after the other which is directed by a master tag. The master tag sends out messages to the tags to initiate localization and will gather all the results. The master tag can be connected to a computer to see visually see all positions on a screen. In this scheme, the maximum update rate is divided by the number of tags and all tags must be within range of the master tag.
To ensure Arduino compatibility, the tags are now the same size as an Arduino so they can easily click on an Arduino board. Without the Arduino compatibility, we can probably shrink the tag by a factor of 4 or 5. Perhaps something for after our campaign?
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