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Jonathan Erickson

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Nokia Announces Mobile Innovation Winners

May 24, 2008

Forum Nokia has announced the winners of this year's Mobile Innovation Competition, a contest which gives university students the opportunity to show off their skills as mobile application designers.

The competition required that participants design and implement a mobile application and/or service with business potential. The exact subject and programming language was left to participants, with the only requirement being that the application/service had to run and be demonstrable on a Nokia device (Nokia S60, Nokia Series 40, and/or Nokia Internet Tablet). Two teams received prizes of 5000 Euros each, awarded at the Forum Nokia Innovation Seminar in Barcelona, Spain.

Chiara Sammarco and Gian Paolo Perrucci, members of the mobile device group at Aalborg University, received a prize for their CoopLoc project. The main idea of CoopLoc (short for "Cooperative Localization") is to retrieve the geographical position of a phone without using GPS by exploiting cell ID information the cooperating mobile devices -- a cooperative wireless network, in other words.

For instance, even though a mobile device might have a full list of all surrounding Base Stations for handover purposes, from the programmer's point of view only the information of the currently selected one is available. Therefore, a non-cooperative device can retrieve cell ID and signal strength from one Base Station (BS) only. These information could be used to determine a zone where the mobile may be located.

In a cooperative wireless network scenario, on the other hand, mobile phones can send their BS IDs and signal strengths using a short range communication technology, such as Bluetooth. By exploiting the information received, the area of localization can be reduced and the performance of the localization can be improved. The benefits of cooperation includes improved performance (it can reduce the area to 20 percent of a non-cooperative scenario), longer battery life (compared to GPS), and higher precision (compared to Google maps mobile (myLocation). For details, see their paper  Localization Information Retrieval Exploiting Cooperation Among Mobile Devices.

Also receiving awards for their competition entry were Balint Toth and Akos Viktoriusz of the Budapest University of Technology and Economics  for their NaviSpeech project. NaviSpeech is GPS-based navigation software designed to provide navigation for blind and visually-impaired people by providing accurate voice feedback.

The software reads real-time generated sentences using Text-To-Speech (TTS) software, and supports scaleable display properties, such as font size and color profiles. The system lets users connect to a GPS receiver unit via Bluetooth. Users can also easily plan routes via text editors or the Internet. Since the software supports placemark-based navigation, multiple trip files can be uploaded to the cell phone at the same time. The development team is currently developing a route recording function, and working on improving the quality of navigation by researching and implementing algorithms to hide errors of GPS positioning. For more information, see the paper  Speech Enabled GPS Based Navigation System for Blind People on Symbian Based Mobile devices in Hungarian .



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