Passive 3D Optical Identification Tag Design



Spatial navigation is important for many human-related activities, including those underwater like scuba diving and underwater accident rescue. Efforts to improve underwater navigation based on acoustic and RF techniques incur significant drawbacks, including high power consumption, expensive price, long latency, or short communication ranges. Therefore, there is still a need for a technology to aid in spatial navigation that can have embed data for the user, be efficient in its power consumption and low deployment cost. MSU has developed a new passive low-order optical tag by exploiting 3D spatial coding.  This technology can embed location and guidance information for navigation assistance.



This technology provides a novel navigation system based on passive 3D optical identification tags. The tags (depending on application) are designed to be passive, requiring no power such as in underwater navigation applications or low power such as in terrestrial spatial navigation applications. The tags employ a three-dimensional design and can be used to determine the relative location of a user in real-time based on the user’s perspective. The tags can be read by commercial smart devices such as smartphones or sports cameras with the necessary software. These devices capture images of the tags and can provide information to the user as well as perform positioning and navigational guidance.


  • Optical based technologies can:
    • Be secure
    • Provide location-based information with line-of-sight-propagation
    • Contain embedded data
    • Have long communication range
    • Be scanned in any direction
    • Have tag size vary widely and still maintain sophistication


  • Applications in underwater navigation
  • Applications in traffic signage for autonomous vehicle driving enhancement
  • Applications in information kiosks and public areas for location and marketing data

IP Status

Software Copyright


Full licensing rights available

Developer: Li Xiao and Xiao Zhang


Tech ID: TEC2022-0098




For more information about this technology,

Contact Raymond DeVito, Ph.D. CLP at or +1-517-884-1658



Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Raymond Devito
Technology Manager
Michigan State University
Xiao Zhang
Li Xiao