IndLoc® - Inductive near-field positioning

At a glance

The need to identify and locate objects exists in a whole host of different areas of life. Whether in an industrial or recreational setting, knowing where different objects or people are and being able to tell them apart is hugely important in all kinds of scenarios. In state-of-the-art production facilities, for instance, the localization and classification of objects on the shop floor is essential as it enables a flexible, comprehensive response to the situation at any given moment and prevents errors. At the other end of the spectrum, in the world of soccer, determining the exact position of the ball can decide the outcome of the game.

Although a variety of localization systems are already commercially available, these usually require complex sensor technology and consume a lot of energy, not to mention being very costly. In addition, unfavorable lighting conditions or metallic objects in production facilities can impair the technology’s functionality. This is what led Fraunhofer IIS to develop IndLoc® positioning technology, which can prevent such situations. Based on a weak alternating magnetic field, it enables centimeter-precise positioning of various objects as well as precise object detection and communication. IndLoc® can be used where radio-based systems fall short to provide highly precise real-time information on the position, type and quantity of a target object, and if it crosses a boundary. The technology is suitable for a wide range of use cases thanks to its robustness in difficult environments, its simple implementation and its low energy consumption. 

Technological features

IndLoc® localization and object detection technology, developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, is a highly accurate, cost-effective solution for three-dimensional real-time localization, object detection and communication with passive targets in a defined volume. It works by using a current-carrying conductor to surround a defined area of variable size and generate a weak alternating magnetic field in this area. The target contains conductive elements that generate a secondary magnetic field in the monitored volume. Sensor antennas detect this field and transmit the data to a reader. A connected back-end system then evaluates and interprets the data.


This makes it possible to determine the exact position of objects or even people, and if they cross any boundaries in place. Moreover, the technology can distinguish between individual objects in terms of their type and quantity, even when they are in packaging. It works without the target requiring any complex, integrated sensor technology with an additional battery or other energy sources. In addition, the technology can tolerate metallic interference, offers multipath propagation and has the advantage that it does not require a line of sight for the positioning, thus allowing concealed objects to be detected in difficult environments.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Research & Development

Your R&D partner

At Fraunhofer IIS, we would be delighted to assist you with the implementation of your IndLoc® system. To this end, we develop a prototype tailored to your use case, carry out feasibility studies on your behalf and support you throughout as an impartial research partner. Let us know your problem and together we’ll find a solution!

Test environment

We have access to state-of-the-art measuring techniques and methods, to conveyor technology, as well as to an entire test center for simulating real application scenarios. Our L.I.N.K. Testing and Application Center offers you a test environment in which a wide range of scenarios can be tested realistically.

IndLoc® technology options

The components of the IndLoc® basic technology can be adapted and optimized for different applications, making it suitable for use in a wide variety of fields. Depending on the requirements of the respective application, the IndLoc® platform offers various types of detection. Inductive near-field positioning can be used to enable multidimensional localization as well as object detection and even communication applications.

© Fraunhofer IIS/Friesen

Possible applications

IndLoc® technology is open to a whole range of further possible applications and developments. To further advance the state of research, Fraunhofer IIS is focusing on developments in various areas of application. These include use cases in medical engineering, the smart workbench, digital collaboration methods and the localization of standard transponders within logistics processes. In more in-depth research, scientists at Fraunhofer IIS are also exploring ways to detect objects and distinguish between materials, including for electronic components. In addition to direct contracts for research and development projects, the institute is open to pilot applications or new application and research ideas for funding projects.


IndLoc® for material detection

The intelligent object and fill-level monitoring functionality can detect various metallic objects, accurately telling them apart without the need for visual contact. In addition, it can display the fill level of individual containers and distinguish electronic components from one another.  


IndLoc® for 3D positioning


Inductive near-field positioning enables the precise position of various objects to be determined in three dimensions. For this purpose, objects or people are equipped with passive coils (e.g. in the form of bracelets – known as wearables) to track their movements.


IndLoc® for area monitoring

Area monitoring makes it possible to selectively detect the crossing of boundaries. By establishing a geofence, specific areas can thus be demarcated and controlled, providing effective protection for employees and objects.



IndLoc® – GoalRef goal-line technology


GoalRef goal-line technology detects exactly when a soccer ball completely crosses the goal line and the goal is valid. In this use case, the soccer ball is equipped with a passive coil that enables precise localization of the ball. The data is evaluated in fractions of a second and sent to the referee’s watch.