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License for indoor navigation

May 15, 2014

On behalf of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Bayerische Patentallianz GmbH is awarding a license to NavVis GmbH for an award-winning technology for navigating inside buildings. This technology, which was initially developed at TUM under the name of NavVis, allows navigation inside large buildings without the need of GPS. In addition, with the help of a mobile app for smartphone users this technology also opens up new possibilities for interactive services such as museum tours or product advertising in shopping malls.

Today, more and more people are using mobile GPS devices or smartphones for orientation. For this purpose, a global navigation satellite system known as GPS (Global Positioning System) is used to help devices determine their position. This, however, only works outdoors as GPS does not have a function for navigating inside factories, museums or shopping malls. In addition, alternative technologies for indoor-navigation such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth beacons, a market worth billions, are inaccurate and require additional and expensive infrastructure. A team of scientists from the department of Media Technology at TUM has developed a technology that makes navigating indoors, and related interactive services associated with navigation, possible.

An important part of the NavVis technology is its M3 Mapping Trolley, a trolley, which works as a mapping device and is equipped with laser scanners and cameras to make 360-degree images. By pushing the trolley through a building, the device can make accurate scans of the structure and then creates a map. This 3D model is linked to the image information from the cameras, thereby creating an exact depiction of the surroundings. In the future, smartphones and tablet users will be able to download this information with the NavVis app. By pointing the smartphone camera at any location in the building, the app will immediately recognize the exact position in the building and will show the location on the map in the device’s display. This allows users to easily navigate through airports, train stations and large office buildings.

In addition, proprietors can now provide visitors with a wide range of additional features using NavVis. By using augmented reality and overlays, the app can provide information about specific positions inside the building. For example, it can display information about exhibits in museums by pointing the camera of the smartphone in direction of the item on display, which will then provide additional information on the screen. Entire museum tours can be designed this way. For shopping malls, shopkeepers can also use this app to provide customers with information on special offers and new products. In industrial settings, mechanics, for example, can be navigated within a factory to places where equipment needs to be repaired. The equipment can be “tagged” with instructions and reports, thereby making work processes more efficient.

“People spend most of their time inside buildings. With our technology, we are providing people with an optimal solution for a better orientation and, in addition, we are able to provide valuable additional environmental information. With this technology, we can provide an infrastructure for location-based services in buildings,” says Dr. Georg Schroth, co-founder and Co-Managing Director of NavVis. “This invention, which recently won the VDE Award, is based on a promising novel technology and, in addition, addresses a vast, hitherto underdeveloped market for indoor applications,” adds Dr. Philipp Jessberger, License Manager at the BayerischePatentallianz GmbH, the patent marketing agency for Bavarian universities. Already, the first systems have been ordered and the Deutches Museum in Munich is currently designing a tour of their museum using the novel NavVis technology.‍

About NavVis

NavVis brings indoor mapping and positioning to the next level. Our M3 mapping trolley creates photorealistic 3D models of even the largest indoor spaces on the go. Explore them with our web-based IndoorViewer for virtual exhibitions, real estate presentations, construction monitoring, etc. Via these models, our indoor positioning engine lets the camera of your smartphone “see” where you are. Meter accurate and without any infrastructure. Just like GPS for outdoors, this technology is an enabler for the indoor market, incl. navigation, augmented reality, context aware ads, and a myriad more.


NavVis GmbH

Dr. Georg Schroth

Erzgießereistr. 17

80335 München

Tel. (089) 289 25813

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