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Calculate and display direction and distance

Calculate and display direction and distance

Calculate and display direction and distance

I am involved in following science project and am in great dilemma. I am software engineer but am really novice and have very limited knowledge as to what I need or would work in this area. Any help on specific parts or technology or pointer in right direction to implement to be able to do this is greatly needed and appreciated.

Hand held unit would have a wrist watch like dial which has a dot in the center representing it’s own position. Hand held unit could be standstill or moving as in natural hand movement.

A robot can be somewhere about 30-40 feet range from the hand held unit and could be standstill or moving in any direction.

The dial shows a digital arrow which points to direction of the robot in relation to the hand held unit. Robot could be in front, back or sideways of hand held unit. Arrow moves according to the robot’s movement or the movement of hand held unit always pointing in which direction robot is in relation to hand held unit. Arrow always looks for and points to robot.

Distance between robot and hand held unit also needs to be measured and displayed on the dial.

I have somewhat looked into electronic compass, GPS, Bluetooth technology, rfid and all but am not getting anywhere. I don’t even know if I am looking into right direction!

RE: Calculate and display direction and distance

Does the receiving and dispaly system have to fit inside the wrstwatch?

Does it have to be able to see through walls?

How much are you willing to spend?


Greg Locock

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RE: Calculate and display direction and distance

Thanks for responding.
No, receiving and display system can be in anyshape or form but ideally like a dial in wrist watch form as the display would look nice and would be easy to read out.

Yes, signal would pass thru walls and/or metal/magnetic surrounding.

This is tricky. Preferably as little as possible.

Please rmemember, robot like unit can be as simple as a matchbox or even just functional electronic circuitry that can talk back and forth to hand held unit. Like wise all the necessary electronic circuitry should be in hand held unit so it can also talk back and forth to robot and do the display and calculation.

RE: Calculate and display direction and distance


This is not that simple! GPS seems the best choice, but needs too much work.

Radio frequency (RF beacons and antenna, RFID is something else!) works to find the direction; I am not sure about measuring the distance.

I would suggest "Beacon method"; take a look at this: http://humanrobot.kist.re.kr/new_papers/cjs/c-04.PDF

Good luck,
Mehdi Delrobaei


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