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Currently, it is difficult to find an available location within a crowded setting. To solve this spatial issue, the team wants to be able to inform people of the density in commonly-occupied areas. To do this, they will need to develop Area Occupancy Device Modules (AODMs) to gather thermal readings. After which, the data will be sent to a central coordinator via mesh network communication. This coordinator will then interpret the data and display its analysis in a graphical user interface (GUI). The system is constrained in that it cannot gather defining characteristics of the people it’s observing. Additionally, the system must be able to reliably communicate in a point-to-multipoint architecture. Currently, the team has interfaced a 4x4 thermal sensor/pyroelectric sensor pair. This data is communicated back to the central coordinator (Raspberry Pi) with the use of a mesh network formed by XBee modules. To reduce data corruption the team has implemented their own communication protocol. The current implementation allows for numerous AODMs to relay information back to the central coordinator reliably. Also implemented is a GUI that can be displayed on a television or monitor. Remaining project goals are to develop a more seamless dispersion of information to the user. This can be done via a phone application and/or an online website. Currently, this system is able to reduce the amount of search time for users, and allows for businesses to spatially optimize their surroundings.

Publication Date



Electrical and computer engineering, Human-Detection, Occupancy, Privacy, Mesh-Network


Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dr. Michael Cabral

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Carl Elks

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2016

Human Occupancy: A Non-Invasive Solution