Time of Flight (ToF) sensing uses the speed of light to measure distance. It plays an essential role in technologies ranging from safe, autonomous self-driving cars to smart phones with facial recognition capabilities. The LESA Center has pioneered and patented (US9,363,859) the use of lighting-based ToF for privacy preserving indoor occupant position measurement. LESA’s precise pattern recognition methodology led to the development of extremely robust and proprietary algorithms that enable its ToF sensors to detect and respond to changes in occupancy instantly.
As part of a $2.7M Department of Energy (DOE) ARPA-E award to develop new, cost effective occupancy sensing ToF integrated circuits, LESA has now successfully designed and tested compact, low-cost ToF “Pod” sensors for localized occupant counting and tracking. LESA’s Pod sensors use an array of 9 state-of-the-art, single pixel ToF sensors to cover a wide area. They detect the movement and height of objects in their wide field of view allowing people to move around freely and securely without sacrificing their privacy. The Pod sensors can provide dense coverage in highly trafficked areas such as entrances and exits, and use a predictive trajectory mapping strategy to determine how and where occupants traverse sparse coverage areas like hallways. This time of flight sensing solution has diverse applications in spaces such as hospitals and correctional or assisted living communities where monitoring people is a primary function of the facility.
LESA’s ToF Pod sensors would enable any building to locate its occupants at any given time without revealing a person’s identity, make real-time adjustments to building services, and send alerts for discrepancies. In an elder care setting, the building could know if someone had fallen or wandered off. During an emergency, a hotel might be able to alert emergency responders of exactly how many people evacuated and how many remained behind.
While still in final development, LESA has shown that its goal of creating a miniature ToF Pod sensor that can be commercialized for a marginal cost for the private sector is viable. In the interim, LESA is eager to engage with potential beta-test users to gather feedback on system design and performance, as well as technology transfer and commercialization strategies. LESA ToF Pods may also be useful to researchers and applications specialists interested in applying ToF concepts to their own fields. For more information on the Pod sensors, or to become a LESA member, visit the Center website or contact Leah Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-276-4010.