Our primary inspiration was the benefits this kind of technology could have on the general public. One benefit is for those who lose their technology very often. For example, the loss of a laptop or phone can be debilitating, especially in today's society. However, by using a network of interconnected nodes, we can find a registered device with ease.
What it does
Determines the precise location of a MAC address identified device by determining its distance from 3 or more locating devices (similar function to antennae).
How we built it
Using the monitor mode of network interfaces, we were able to determine the signal strength between devices in the area and an "antenna". After finding the strength for each device, we found the distance this signal strength correlated with. Using our triangulation algorithm, we were able to then pinpoint the exact location of the device, considering the placement of our "antennae". We then uploaded this data to our Google Cloud Platform (GCP) server and displayed the devices in a birds-eye view of the current room.
Challenges we ran into
Perhaps the biggest challenge we ran into was with our original idea. We originally planned to have a Raspberry Pi function as an antenna, decreasing the size and increasing the simplicity of our design. However, we learned much later that the WiFi adapters we planned on using would not support this kind of functionality and that we would have to scrap the idea for our own computers with much more supported internet cards.
What we learned
We learned that USB WiFi adapters are no substitute for the internal WiFi cards already enclosed within our other computers.
What's next for MLocation
We plan on using WiFi adapters that are supported with Raspberry Pis as well as implement other methods of determining a location (such as angle of arrival, time of arrival, and channel state information) in the future in order to fulfill our original vision.