schwartz&stahl GbR

The schwartz&stahl GbR is a spin-off company from the computer science department at Saarland University, Germany and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). We have a background of 8 years in research in the field of wayfinding assistance for pedestrians and positioning techniques for indoor environments.

From 1999-2004 we were working as researchers in the DFG (German Research Foundation) funded Collaborative Research Centre SFB 378 where we have implemented various mobile and stationary navigation systems on many platforms such as Palm PDAs, Wearable PCs, PocketPCs, and public displays. From 2005-2007, the results of this research lead to the Transfer Unit 53 (RENA), which was also funded by the DFG with the goal to transfer our scientific results into industry products. During that period we have developed a map modeling toolkit for build environments in 3D, called YAMAMOTO, which allows for a quick and easy editing of indoor map material and implements a route finding service for buildings. In parallel we have implemented a new indoor positioning system that combines active RFID tags, infrared beacons, Bluetooth and GPS to calculate the users position following the "always best positioned" paradigm.

Our components have been successfully applied in two joint projects on pedestrian navigation with the BMW Research & Development GmbH in Munich. We also have an ongoing cooperation with the Globus SB-Warenhaus Holding at their Innovative Retail Lab (IRL).

Our mission for the future is to provide indoor navigation solutions that guide visitors or customers conveniently to their destinations in office buildings, shopping centres or airports. Our goal is to present wayfinding instructions to the user in a cognitive adequate format such as 3D animations instead of 2D maps. We strive to keep the user interface as simple as possible by adopting state of the art technologies such as Bluetooth or RFID in order to recognize the individual user and proactively present individual content on digital media signage. Ultimatively, our self-developed indoor positioning system allows to visualize routes in real-time on mobile devices.