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TRX Finalist in NVTC Tech Awards for Innovative Indoor Location Tech


by Carol Politi

TRX was selected as a finalist in the 2014 NVTC Tech Awards, a new awards program recognizing influential leaders and innovative companies/firms in the Washington DC region's technology community.  

TRX is a finalist in the "Innovative Use of Technology" category for its use of sensor fusion and mapping to deliver location indoors and in other areas with unreliable GPS.  The finalists in this category are:

- Booz Allen Hamilton
- Hopecam
- The MITRE Corporation
- Monster Government Solutions
- Optoro
- TRX Systems

The winner will be announced at NVTC's TechCelebration Annual Banquet on Dec. 8, 2014.  

Funding Game Changing Ideas - 3D Indoor Location & Global Dynamic Mapping


by Carol Politi

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article highlighting the stagnation in federal research and development (R&D) funding - "Humanity’s Last Great Hope: Venture Capitalists" by Christopher Mims. It clearly outlines the struggle for companies engaging in risky, game changing innovation. This resonated with TRX - we have been able to bring to market indoor location and mapping products partially funded by federal R&D investment at stages when our innovations were too risky for private capital.

Private Innovation

This article highlights what we hope is a sustainable trend - investments made by high net worth individuals helping to fill the gap in funding early stage innovation. Non-federal sources of capital have steadily represented an increased share of industry R&D funding, however, much of that non-federal funding is focused on the less risky development projects. Government sources such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been relied upon for some time to fill a critical gap in high risk, game-changing R&D.

Clearly, a lot of investor money goes toward incremental innovation, and toward pure entertainment. “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” (Peter Thiel). That may undermine the value of Twitter (which has empowered people in developing countries in so many positive ways), but the fact is that breaking fundamental new barriers in science requires vision and longevity often not possible for investors focused on risk mitigation and 5 year exit cycles. Also some markets - public safety being a notable example - are not in the comfort zone of many private investors.  

One of TRX's first investors was the National Science Foundation. This investment supported TRX development of Sensor Hub and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) software to robustly deliver indoor location without relying on installed or networked infrastructure. NSF invested even though at the time the sensor technology TRX was relying on was too expensive to commercialize. Fast forward a few years and the sensors are inexpensive, and being embedded in everything from radios and industrial devices to mobile phones. TRX is delivering its NEON product for public safety applications (made up of a wearable accessory device running TRX software, paired with Motorola APX radios), and is now developing more highly scaled location solutions for public safety leveraging the higher bandwidths and associated cloud services which are now becoming feasible to use in that market.  

Driven by the fact that soldiers often operate in urban and underground environments - and the fact that they will soon be deploying with mobile platforms (the Army recently invested in 7,000 Samsung Galaxy devices) - TRX is being supported by DARPA to implement its indoor location solution on mobile devices. This Government investment is enabling TRX to release infrastructure-free indoor location as an embedded service on standard mobile devices.  

Outside of location, one of the big industry challenges is ubiquitous mapping. While malls, airports, and other high density tourist locations are (or will soon be) well mapped across the globe, the maps are expensive to update, and don't include critical GIS layers required to support delivery of accurate indoor location. Additionally, while mapping data for residential and office buildings must be handled carefully (see upcoming SXSW presentation on this topic), getting basic but uniform maps for all buildings is essential to delivering critical location-based safety services. A byproduct of the location technology TRX has developed is tech to deliver both structural building maps and robust navigation maps. These navigation maps detect stairwells, floors, elevators, rooms and other structural building features (along with less visible magnetic and RF signatures), so it's possible to create and update 3D maps of buildings. NSF is now supporting TRX in developing and launching this SLAM technology to tackle the challenge of creating a global database of indoor maps. These capabilities will make the world a safer place.

While making games can be fun, most tech entrepreneurs really thrive when improving the world in some way. Early stage capital from NSF, DARPA, from high net worth investors is helping them do that.

(Note: TRX investors New Dominion, Motorola Solutions and Maryland DBED, as well as the US Army, DHS, and private angels, have provided TRX with essential commercialization and application-specific transition funding).

TRX is Hiring Developers - Android, Web, Database, Sensor Agorithms!


TRX Systems has openings for innovative software developers that are enthusiastic about delivering seamless indoor location for both mission critical and mobile applications. TRX is right for you if you like to continuously learn, excel in team-oriented environments, and enjoy a fast-paced work environment. Experience developing products related to GIS, navigation, and location is desirable, as is a strong math background.

TRX developers are multitalented self starters who work well in small teams. Our open office and small company atmosphere give us a chance to grow and excel as developers. We all contribute to a diverse array of developments - sensor fusion, algorithms, UI, mobile devices, networking and more.

We hold daily stand-ups at 10, often pair code, and fix bugs before adding new functionality. We code on-site, and we've bought all the tools to make our developer's lives easier. From Matlab and Visual Studio through version control and ticketing systems, and all the way to our dual monitors, great coffee and incredibly comfortable chairs, we do software development right.
Contact us at if you are interested!

Software Developer, Android

Our Android developers implement TRX NEON location services and NEON Location Services APIs on mobile devices. TRX has multiple jobs open in this area for both entry level and experienced developers (and has internship/part time positions available for fall/spring/summer):

- Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
- 1-10 years software programming experience
- Proficient programming in C/C++ and Java
- Understanding of Android operating system and development
- Experience using web interfaces and firm understanding of REST API paradigm
- Ability to understand and balance engineering requirements including battery use, processing time, and real life user interaction
- Experience with Android Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low-Energy connectivity and sensors interfaces.
- Ability to create applications with 3D graphics with OpenGL is a plus.

Software Developer, Web/Database

TRX has multiple jobs open in this area for both entry level and experienced developers (and has internship/part time positions available for fall/spring/summer):

- Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field
- 1-10 years software programming experience
- Experience in Visual Studio, C# and, .NET
- Experience with “Internet of Things” and “Big Data” applications
- Experience with spatial databases
- Experience working with relational and NoSQL databases
- Experience working with cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon AWS
- Network programming experience using UDP, TCP, HTTP, REST, XML, JSON
- Experience using distributed computing systems
- Self-starter with strong self-management skills.

Software Developer, Sensor Algorithms

- BS in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, or related field
- 1-10 years software programming experience
- Strong C/C++ programming skills required. Android/Java and C# beneficial
- Strong MATLAB programming skills required
- Strong skills in mathematics, statistics, probability, and numerical computation
- Signal processing experience required
- Experience using motion sensors including gyros, accelerometers, magnetic field sensors, pressure sensors, etc.
- Motivated self-starter with creative problem solving ability
- Attention to detail and ability to balance optimal performance with power, memory, processing and other user requirements taken into consideration.

TRX Systems in Dell for Entrepreneurs Founders Class 50!


by Carol Politi

Dell For Entrepreneurs announced its Founders 50 Fall 2014 Cohort today.  TRX Systems is pleased to have been selected as one of 50 startups "disrupting their industries"!  The Founders 50 focuses on companies that have technology as a backbone, are on the verge of becoming household names, have received venture capital or high-level angel funding and are poised for rapid growth and expansion, including sales, revenue or expansion in new markets.

From an entrepreneur's perspective, this is a great program.  Founders 50 companies receive access to consulting and technology resources needed to scale; capital; marketing and branding support; sales enablement and the opportunity to explore new partnerships within Dell; as well as key networking and mentorship opportunities with business and industry leaders.  

The following is the complete Fall 2014 Founders Club 50 Company list:

Fall 2014 Founders Club Company List:

DCIG, LLC (TX) City Scan (IL)

Big Data
Quantified Communications (TX) Switch Automation (CA) AUTHENTICATION INDUSTRIES (France) insightXM (CT)

Cloud and IT Services
Mercury Technology Group, Inc. (CA) Silver Peak Systems (CA)


Dewsly (MO)

CareLink 360 (TX) ClickMedix (MD) Tiatros Inc. (CA) Visbuzz (UK) Blue Marble Game Co. (CA) Televero Health Inc. (TX) Vivify Health (TX) Clinical Ink (PA)

Third Dimension Technologies (TN)

Clypper (Neth.) FEM Inc. (CA) NextUser (CA) Phocabby (CA) Superdense (NY) Phunware (TX)

ACTnano, Inc. (IL)

Quarterly Co. (CA) Skinny Price (CA)

EyeVerify (KS) Rippleshot (IL) Cyphort (CA) Key Cybersecurity, Inc. (VA) MAFAZO LLC (OH)

ConvergeIO (CA) Xockets (CA) LayerX Technologies (TX) Fastly (CA) Humm Systems (TX) TRX Systems (MD) Mindaptiv (CO) Vault Solutions, LLC (NH) Software Motor Corp (CA)

Bedycasa (France)

Web Hosting
Nexcess (MI) CloudNine Discovery (TX) SanAppTX (TX) Cloud Dynamics, Inc. (CAN)

TRX is looking forward to collaborating with Dell for Entrepreneurs as we deliver our indoor location and mapping to a diverse array of partners!

Indoor Location - Breaking Down The Algorithms


by Carol Politi

Delivering precise indoor location - without relying on installing beacons - requires an array of sensors and algorithms that can be complex to describe. TRX broke this process down into an infographic that attempts to quickly define how combining sensors and inferred mapping data allows creation of a robust set of navigation map data that can be used to deliver precision location.

NEON Location Service v3

*Graphic developed by TRX engineer Conrad Laskowski.  

TRX Is Hiring! Indoor Location Software Developers.


by Carol Politi

TRX is hiring! Contact us if you are an innovative software developer that is enthusiastic about delivering seamless location for both mission critical and mobile applications. This job is right for you if you like to continuously learn, excel in team-oriented environments, and enjoy a fast-paced work environment. Experience developing products related to GIS, navigation, and location is desirable, as is a strong math background.

TRX engineers are a top tier team of developers, mathematicians, researchers, and designers, making the world a safer, more efficient and fun place to be by delivering location everywhere. More information on our open positions is provided HERE.


NEON Indoor Location System Demonstrated With Motorola APX Radio


by Carol Politi

Motorola Solutions will be demonstrating the TRX NEON Indoor Location System working with Motorola Solutions APX™ P25 portable radios this week (August 3-6) at the APCO Conference & Expo in New Orleans. The NEON System has been tested and is approved to work with the APX series radios.

For customers with personnel operating indoors, NEON offers a compact and portable solution providing the ability to quickly model buildings in 3D, view personnel location in real time, and review activities thoroughly after an event or operation is complete. NEON (working with the APX radio) can be used to improve tactical training effectiveness (police, military, & fire), enhance VIP and event security, increase efficiency of CBRNE operations, record crime scene forensics activities, support enhanced search and rescue, and deliver improved situational awareness for underground operations.

NEON is deployed over APX in the conventional point to point mode of operation, with radios supporting Integrated Voice and Data (IV&D) and Bluetooth, and with data scan enabled. Motorola Proximity Pairing (MPP) has been implemented in the NEON Tracking Unit, simplifying operations by delivering robust and dynamic device pairing.


The Motorola website provides a video illustrating the integration, and you can also see the solution live this week at the Motorola APCO 2014 booth (#435).

NEON Indoor Location Services Architecture


by Carol Politi

TRX NEON sensor fusion and mapping algorithms augment GPS to provide both 2D and 3D information for devices while indoors. The algorithms are layered and architected to fit within ever evolving platform architectures that now include sensor hubs, sensor-specific processors, as well as application processors. This blog post outlines the functions performed within each layer.

TRX Neon Indoor Location Architecture

As shown in the diagram, NEON Indoor Location Algorithms have three layers:

1.  Sensor Processing - The lowest level, sensor processing includes power-efficient calculations designed to run as an always-on background process.  Drift processing, step detection, step length/step direction computation, confidence estimation, feature detection, context identification, sensor calibration.

2.  Navigation Processing - Navigation processing is performed at the application processor level, and is currently designed to run as a foreground application.  This includes additional drift estimation and removal, constraint filtering (e.g., GPS, BLE, other external constraints), indoor/outdoor detection, elevation processing, application of map landmark/feature constraints, additional sensor calibration.

3.  Map Processing  - Map processing includes the processing and fusion of map features and signatures required to develop 3D navigation maps. These maps are used by the navigation processor to enhance location calculations.

The location services API provides information including X, Y, Z and error bounds to applications, and accepts constraints provided by applications or third party processes. This open architecture allows flexible integration of constraints detected by applications.

This architecture allows implementation of the solution on a broad array of devices, as long as the devices have a basic set of sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, pressure, compass), and is easily extendible to accept constraints from user input or additional RF, audio, or optical sources.  

Why Mapping? TRX's Fourth US Indoor Location Patent


by Carol Politi

TRX's fourth US indoor location patent recently issued (Patent US 8751151).  (TRX has additional patents that have issued in Singapore and Australia).  This patent covers a system and method for recognizing features for improving indoor location accuracy using Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM). In this blog post, I'm going to give a bit of background on the requirements for and development of this technology.

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TRX began developing indoor location solutions early, with a focus on delivering location for public safety personnel operating indoors, in buildings they did not control. As a result, the algorithms and techniques the company developed to support location were ones that did not rely on infrastructure. However, the algorithms relied upon sensors that were not common in commercial mobile or public safety devices. TRX built and now delivers sensor accessories that link to radios and cellular devices.

Flash forward a few years, and these sensors are now being embedded in mobile phones, industrial devices, and radios. The cost, size, and power requirements for the sensors are dropping rapidly. This means TRX algorithms can be used to power indoor location on an array of devices, and TRX wearable accessories can be far smaller and lower power. 

The specific challenge TRX has worked to overcome is the fact that GPS does not work indoors or underground, and it often has large errors, especially when people are moving about in urban areas. Most approaches to indoor location require that facility owners install infrastructure. In these approaches, the applications requiring the location information must rely on information provided by the facility owner/operator. These approaches don't satisfy the strong requirements for infrastructure-free location from public safety, mobile, or defense markets.

Embedded sensors (e.g., accelerometer, gyro, compass, pressure, etc.) have long been used for navigation, however, they have historically been extremely expensive and limited to military platforms and industrial systems.  Gaming, camera, and other mobile/portable device applications are driving the use of these sensors, providing a high volume market and increasing the quality available at low costs.  However, while these sensors provide valuable navigation data, just embedding them in a device does not allow the device to deliver accurate indoor location. The  sensors are subject to inertial drift, magnetic interference, and other errors that significantly erode accuracy. These errors have prevented the use of these low cost sensors in determining accurate indoor location without frequent aiding from GPS or beacons at known locations.

TRX has developed an approach that enables calculation of location indoors (and other locations without reliable GPS) using these low cost sensors. In this approach, features and landmarks detected using data from magnetic, inertial, RF, and other sensors are fused to establish navigation maps that augment sensor fusion algorithms implemented on the devices. Information from multiple users is merged to create navigation maps which are used to constrain errors.  This combination of embedded sensor fusion and collaborative mapping allows the use of low cost sensors to calculate accurate indoor location over extended periods, without relying on frequent access to GPS or other corrections.

Thanks to the entire TRX team for the dedication, innovation, and hard work devoted to solving this really hard problem.

TRX Indoor Location at 2014 Joint Navigation Conference


by Carol Politi

TRX demonstrated and is presenting its micro-location solution (indoor location, underground location) using collaborative mapping at the Joint Navigation Conference this week in Orlando. This is an excellent conference covering major areas of research in location determination and navigation for a broad range of platforms (pedestrians, vehicles, ships, etc). Conference papers describe advances in inertial measurement units, collaborative navigation techniques, and programs focused on reducing reliance on GPS and supporting location determination in areas without access to GPS. 

Yesterday, TRX demonstrated its approach to implementing extended location determination for pedestrians in indoor environments using very low cost sensors (smartphone through low grade industrial). Today, Dr. Carole Teolis is presenting "Indoor Navigation using Collaborative Mapping".  The public abstract of this paper is provided below:

Indoor Navigation Using Collaborative Mapping, Dr. Carole Teolis and Dr. Kamiar Kordari, TRX Systems

Indoor location technologies can pinpoint a person's location inside a building or in GPS-denied area; however, these technologies cannot do so effectively without accurate indoor maps. Indoor maps are a major component in enabling location-based applications by constraining error in location calculations, delivering a context for the location, and allowing for routing to a destination.

For the majority of buildings, indoor maps are not publically available, and in regions of military conflict, obtaining maps is even more problematic. The map data that is publically available is typically in image format and does not contain critical navigation routing in a format that can be used by the applications to correct location estimates. While the companies working on indoor mapping have the data formats defined that include navigation routing information, they are simply not populated. A growing number of companies (e.g., Google, Micello, Point Inside) are now creating excellent maps of indoor spaces but the majority of their effort is focused on high use environments such as malls, airports, hospitals, and museums.

The process of building and updating indoor maps is different from that of outdoor maps since neither satellite imagery nor GPS traces for referencing the images are available for indoor spaces. The current state of the art in indoor mapping requires a manual labor-intensive process to create and then to maintain maps as they change over time, which is difficult to scale. A system is needed to create and automatically maintain/update map navigation map data without hiring an army of mapping personnel to manually survey sites. One solution to the problems of scale in creation and maintenance of an accurate global database of indoor maps is a combination of mobile mapping and crowd sourcing where many people can use a indoor location-enabled mobile device to contribute to the creation of indoor maps.

These algorithms are being used to create an indoor mapping product to automate the indoor mapping process through sensor fusion and crowdsourcing. The generated database of indoor information will be made available through a cloud-based API for indoor location-based applications. This presentation will describe TRX’s methodology for map building and map based correction.

The foundation of the system is map discovery. Building features (e.g. hallways, elevators, exits, stairwells) and their connectivity relationships, signatures (RF, WiFi, magnetic), and navigable passageways are discovered as a person walks though a building while carrying their Smartphone or wearing a TRX tracking unit running the NEON mapping application. The features are discovered by classifying person's movements such as walking, taking stairs, or riding in an elevator based on the data from the suite of embedded sensors. The person's location, which is simultaneously being tracked using the same sensors, is used to identify the location of the discovered building features.

The discovered map data contains topological information on the building features that the subject can reach. This type of high level connection diagram of the environment is valuable for routing. The map we infer also has metric information for each link based on the subject's path that gives an estimated distance between features.

The technical challenge in crowd sourcing is developing the capability to merge and fuse data coming from many users to incrementally update a global map of indoor spaces. If the tracked subject has been globally initialized, their path information can provide global location estimates for the inferred features also. In order to be able to merge maps from different users, it is important to have global initialization (or at least relative initialization). The location accuracy of the discovered building features is dependent on the tracked person's location accuracy when the features are discovered. If the accuracy is low, the feature may not be useful. The fusion algorithms on the TRX server merge and fuse data coming from users to incrementally update a map of indoor spaces. By using techniques for automatically filtering poor quality map data, we improve both the completeness and accuracy of a map as the number of people contributing to the map increases in a building. To improve the robustness of the fusion process, we create descriptors that are used to differentiate discovered features. After map of a building is created, the map data can be used to provide for map-based location corrections in real-time.

Results will be presented using data collected in different types of buildings and underground structures to demonstrate the improved accuracy of this map-aided location system and how reliably it can provide accurate location for long periods of time without using GPS data. 

This dynamic map-building tool provides an efficient mechanism for collaboratively creating and updating indoor maps. The maps improve situational awareness and enable the location system to provide a level of self correction without requiring infrastructure.

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