Smartphones present a potential platform on which a nagivation system could be based, whether this be though syncing with an IMU such as that which will be produced in this project or on an entirely smartphone based system.
The potential for using smartphones will be addressed as part of this project in a number of ways:
1) Analyse the hardware available at present on smartphones and evaluate its accuracy in comparison to a specialist IMU.
2) Analyse existing applications which could provide accelerometer and gyroscopic data for processing, and;
3) Analyse the potential for this data to be processed 'on-board' the phone or uploaded to an external server for processing.
4) Determine the feasibility of a group member learning the necessary programming language to produce a smartphone app if no suitable apps currently exist.
5) Review typical smartphone usage patterns to examine whether a smartphone based IMU system would be practical in a real life situation
Due to the constant improvements being made in smartphone technology it is reasonable to expect that the quality and accuracy of hardware such as gyroscopes and accelerometers will improve in the future. However whilst it may be possible to acquire a smartphone with a similar or better performance to a commercial IMU in the future if it is found that current smartphone technology is worse than a commercial IMU the smartphone route will not be persued.
Smartphone research so far mainly involved extracting data through Android applications. The smartphone as a possible navigation device will be investigated further in later stages.