An indoor navigation system for smartphones has won this year’s Galileo Master prize, while ESA’s Innovation Prize goes to a first aid app that provides emergency support.
The international jury choose a novel solution for indoor navigation as the best satnav application at this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC).
The competition’s top award, the Galileo Master 2012 prize, went to Fraunhofer Portugal and the University of Porto for proposing the idea.
Jonathan Durant from France won ESA’s Innovation Prize for his project Citizen First Aid, a mobile app bringing rapid support to those in need in emergency situations.
"His innovative project can be of help to us all," said Frank M. Salzgeber, Head of ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme Office, when he conferred the prize at the awards ceremony on 25 October in Munich, Germany.
"It enables victims to alert people nearby for help until professional assistance arrives. And with most smartphones having geolocation tools, this app can be quickly implemented."
Winners were chosen from a remarkable 406 submitted ideas from more than 40 countries in this year’s competition.
Prizes were awarded for the most creative business applications of satellite navigation for public and commercial use.
"The strong international response to this year’s ESNC has once more proven its ability to boost innovation on a global scale," noted Bavarian State Minister Wolfgang Heubisch.
"In close cooperation with our European and global partners, an excellent network has been established to create added value for satellite navigation technology."
Prize for indoor navigation
The 2012 ESNC overall winner is a project offering reliable navigation even indoors by expanding conventional GPS and Galileo navigation with ultra-low-frequency magnetic field communication. It is as easy as using satellite-based navigation today.
The solution for smartphones provides navigation in indoor environments such as department stores and underground parking garages and tunnels, switching seamlessly between satellites and indoor navigation.
The three-axis sensors of smartphones - ’electronic compasses’ - are used to calculate the relative location from the last absolute satnav position.
Already tested and with a demo is under development, a patent is pending in Europe and the US.
Prize for smart first aid app
The Citizen First Aid mobile app allows fast reactions in emergencies and helps people in distress, victims of medical problems or aggression, and others requiring urgent help.
In an asthma attack, someone close might have a Ventoline, or a diabetic out of insulin could quickly find help. The elderly and people with disabilities could call for assistance. Many would be ready to intervene if alerted.
For his Citizen First Aid, Jonathan Durant takes home the ¤10 000 Innovation Prize sponsored by ESA.
"The winner may also be supported to turn the idea into a viable business at one of our seven ESA Business Incubation Centres throughout Europe or at an incubation facility part of ESINET, the European Space Incubators Network," Mr Salzgeber added.
Now encompasses 24 partner regions on four continents, the competition aims at encouraging new ideas for satnav applications.
Organised by Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen, ESA has through its Technology Transfer Programme been a partner since 2005.
Earlier winners of the ESA Innovation Prize include an innovative water pollution control system, a realtime centimetre-accurate positioning system, a proximity service to track friends and colleagues, and a museum guidance service.