Pocket PC Beacons: Wi-Fi based Human Tracking and Following for Mobile Robots

The Network-Centric Applied Research Team (N-CART) is continuing its work on an ambitious project known as the Network-Enabled Powered Wheelchair Adaptor Kit (NEPWAK). It introduces techniques for modifying and using powered wheelchairs as mobile platforms enabling communication and remote control. The wheelchair runs a PC104 based embedded server allowing both PC and PocketPC clients to connect in either infrastructure or ad-hoc mode. The clients receive audio, video and other sensory feedback from the wheelchair and can send control data for maneuvering the wheelchair. In this paper we present our preliminary work on a novel, inexpensive and coarse ‘Human Tracking and Following’ system for NEPWAK. Our approach uses a custom built highly directional steerable Wi-Fi antenna on the wheelchair that scans the Wi-Fi signal strength of its peer. This can be used to track and follow a person carrying a Wi-Fi enabled pocketPC.

ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC2005) Special Track on Handheld Computing, Santa Fe, USA March 13-17, 2005

Pocket PC Beacons Wi-Fi based Human Tracking and Following for Mobile Robots