Microsoft Research is known for projects which help benefit the world and help make life easier, but now there is a new one for the list. A “Path Guide” app has been spotted in the Google Play Store, aimed at letting you use your smartphone to navigate indoor locations.
The app was spotted by the Twitter user @WithMSFT and was then picked up and also tweeted out by well known Microsoft leaker WalkingCat. According to the Google Play description of the app, “Path Guide” is a “completely map-free infrastructure-free, play-and-play- indoor navigation service.”
Given this app description, it would appear that “Path Guide” is aimed at making indoor navigation much easier. Unlike the solutions from companies such as infsoft, there is no need to use beacons, making it much simpler for the average person to record and navigate a route indoors. This involves three steps, which can be seen below.
• User records sensory data with his/her device during a given indoor walk. The location-specific geomagnetic features extracted from the sensory data are combined with the user’s walking patterns (e.g., steps, turns, going upstairs/downstairs) to build a reference trace.
• Reference trace is pushed to the cloud and can be searched by others for navigation.
• Once downloaded a reference trace, Path Guide compares and synchronizes current sensor readings with the reference trace, and guides the user, in real time, from the same starting location to the final destination.
Interestingly, a user can also record and share and search for paths, and even follow it backward to a starting point, which can be particularly useful for a visitor to a new place. Business owners too also can use the app, to map paths inside shopping mall, to and from a store. If this has caught your attention, you can find the app in the link below. For now, the app is only available for Android devices. Once you’ve checked it out, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.