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Keep Safe and Healthy by Being Smart

Integrated circuits help create innovative occupancy detection applications to detect, track, count, and identify human activity.

-By Christina Unarut and Bonnie Baker from Mouser Electronics

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Image Source: anekoho/Stock.adobe.com

The post-pandemic migration back to the office will have a renewed emphasis on health and wellness, as well as the standard safety concerns. Smart buildings will continue to monitor air quality, humidity, and lighting, while social distancing will be added to the mix. While companies maintain employee and visitor social distancing, primary sensors and systems such as  Analog Devices (ADI) EagleEye™ Trial Kit or Texas Instruments (TI) radar occupancy detection system will contribute to keeping people safe and healthy in the office.

Social Distancing Technologies

Integrated circuits help create innovative occupancy detection applications to detect, track, count, and identify human activity. The mmWave radar and optical 3D Time of Flight (ToF) help count occupancy statistics. There are different methods for measuring ToF, of which two have become the most prevalent: the continuous-wave (CW) method and the pulse-based method.

Using Radar for People Counting

Radars allow an accurate measurement of distances and relative velocities of people and other objects. They are designed for harsh environments and are capable of withstanding rain, dust, or smoke. mmWave is a particular class of radar technology that uses short-wavelength electromagnetic waves. The frequencies in a mmWave system are operating at 76–81GHz and have corresponding wavelengths of about 4mm. The advantage of this technology is that the antennas required to process mmWave signals are small.

The mmWave radar integrated circuits transmit mmWave frequency signals and wait for these signals to bounce off objects and return to an integrated receiving circuit. The timing between the transmit and receive provides location, moving object velocity, and object shapes.

The TIDA-010022, TI’s reference design, uses the MMWAVEICBOOST and the IWR6843ISK evaluation modules (EVMs) together with the LAUNCHXLCC1352R1 wireless MCU LaunchPad™ (Figure 1). It demonstrates the use of the IWR6843 device, a single-chip, mmWave radar sensor with an integrated DSP and sub-1 GHz wireless communication. The IWR6843 and CC1352 are appropriate for indoor and outdoor people counting applications by providing a solution to localize people out to 6m (short-range configuration) and 14m (long-range configuration).

This solution can be used in several different applications such as occupancy detection, automated doors and gates, and as an IP network camera.

Sensor
Figure 1: MMWAVEICBOOST and IWR6843ISK evaluation modules (EVMs) together with the LAUNCHXLCC1352R1 wireless MCU LaunchPad™. (Source: Texas Instruments)

In Figure 2, the IWR6843 device includes the entire Millimeter Wave blocks and analog baseband signal chain for three transmitters, four receivers, and a customer programmable MCU and DSP. It is connected with the CC1352R SimpleLink ™ dual-band wireless MCU to enable the transmission of all people counting and tracking data to the network (Figure 3).

Block-diagram
Figure 2: IWR6843 Block Diagram (Source: Texas Instruments)

Figure 3: CC1352R SimpleLink ™ and IWR6843 Block Diagram (Source: Texas Instruments)

A Cloud Vision-Based Sensing Solution

The optical application utilizes the same algorithm at lower frequencies for object identification and location. Another example of an occupancy monitoring system is Analog Device Inc. EagleEye™ Trial Kit people counting technology. It is a complete sensor to cloud evaluation system that uses the proprietary PeopleCount algorithm to enable a monitoring solution for rooms and open areas. A companion app ADI EagleEye™ PeopleCount is available (for iOS or Android) to connect and set up via secure BLUETOOTH®.

EagleEye™ is a combination of ADSP-BF707 Blackfin® digital signal processor (DSP), the ADSPBF707BBCZ4-EGE, and ADSW4000 ADI EagleEye™ PeopleCount algorithm. The data collected and displayed on the dashboard can inform building managers to decide how to reduce electricity use and make a building more efficient. Lighting and HVAC systems can consume up to 60% of the electricity used in a single building. If a particular zone is unoccupied for a specific time, the lights may be turned off and the HVAC demand reduced, resulting in energy and cost savings.

Combining other sensors with ADI’s system can also monitor air quality for improved worker wellness and health. Some health effects associated with poor indoor air quality are irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. COlevels can indicate indoor quality; cognitive skills are decreased as COincreases in an area. On-demand ventilation control could increase ventilation if it is programmed to turn on once the event has gotten triggered.

Conclusion

The renewed emphasis on health and wellness during the work migration from remote to office brings unique challenges to facility management. Smart buildings need to continue to monitor air quality, humidity, and lighting, but with the addition of social distancing. Employee and visitor social distancing systems are available, such as Analog Devices (ADI) EagleEye™ Trial Kit or Texas Instruments (TI) occupancy detection systems. Each system has the appropriate sensors and systems to keep us safe and healthy in the office.

Author Bio

ChristinaChristina Unarut joined Mouser in 2015. As a marketing engineer, she is responsible for driving the marketing direction for several products lines in a variety of different applications such as industrial automation.

BonnieBonnie Baker is a seasoned analog, mixed-signal, and signal chain professional and electronics engineer. Baker has published and authored hundreds of technical articles and blogs in industry publications. She is also the author of A Baker’s Dozen: Real Analog Solutions for Digital Designers as well as coauthor of several other books. In past roles, she worked as a modeling, strategic marketing, IC architect, and designer engineer. Baker has an Electrical Engineering Masters from University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, and a bachelor’s degree in music education from Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ). Enjoy reading Bonnie’s work as much as she enjoys sharing her career’s learned electrical nuggets.

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Mouser Electronics

Mouser Electronics, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is an award-winning, authorized semiconductor and electronic component distributor focused on rapid New Product Introductions from its manufacturing partners for electronic design engineers and buyers. The global distributor’s website, Mouser.com, is available in multiple languages and currencies and features more than 5 million products from over 750 manufacturers. Mouser offers 23 support locations around the world to provide best-in-class customer service and ships globally to over 600,000 customers in more than 220 countries/territories from its 750,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility south of Dallas, Texas.

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