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Open source personal tracking system gets first test

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An open source wireless tracking system for following people around buildings got its first public use last week at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin.

The creators of the OpenBeacon system sold 900 tags at €10 (US$13) each to attendees who volunteered to be tracked during the four-day event. Some attendees bought multiple tags to experiment with later.

OpenBeacon uses chips from Nordic Semiconductor ASA that transmit and receive over the 2.4GHz frequency, which is available for unlicensed use in many countries. At the conference, the chips communicated with nearby base stations which sent data back to a central server. There were 23 base stations positioned around the conference center.

The developers of OpenBeacon worked with partners to create a three dimensional model of the conference center and anyone could use touch-screen monitors that displayed the location of attendees on the model. Touching an attendee on the screen displayed a profile that the person could voluntarily add.

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