Contact-traceability project using UWB for Fira de Barcelona


i2CAT is working on a contact traceability prototype for Fira de Barcelona, intending to supervise the maintenance of security distances in fairgrounds.

The objectives of this initiative involve demonstrating the feasibility of knowing the location of a person indoors in an instant of time with precision. With this information, it will be possible to identify, through sampling and by processing real-time data, the contacts that a person has been able to establish and how far away this person has been from these contacts.

The location of people, equipment, and objects is a critical aspect in the efficient use of resources and the management of firm premises. This need is now especially relevant given the current pandemic situation. Until now, indoor localization has been based on the use of current technologies, such as WiFi or Bluetooth, which are extremely costly, complex, and offer insufficient accuracy. The i2CAT Foundation’s proof of concept proposes an indoor localization solution based on Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology. This technology allows transmitting data at high speed over short distances with low power consumption. At the same time, it is highly accurate in indoor location systems, unlike other radio technologies, thanks to the characteristics of UWB signals.

The solution

Each visitor wears a badge with UWB BLE technology, and there are antennas at the fairground that can calculate their position and report it periodically to a remote platform. This platform can analyze the distance between people thanks to the information collected, and in case direct contact is established or the minimum distance allowed is reduced, the system alerts about the need to recover the minimum separation. The solution might also apply to the traceability of people who have been in contact with an assistant in the event of a positive COVID-19 case.

The exhibition

At the last BizBarcelona, the pilot test of the use of the indoor location solution was successfully carried out with a small group of visitors to monitor with extreme precision the respect of the safety distance thanks to the UWB technology. With this system, it was possible to know the location of people inside the venue, calculating at all times whether the safety distance was respected, with error margins of just 10 cm.