Wireless Sensing in Smart Spaces

We’re involved with the development of indoor smart spaces using low cost wireless microcontrollers and sensors.  Motivated originally by the the desire to track individuals in space for the deployment of lighting, we can use sensed position data to understand occupancy, classify activities, and generally better control the room infrastructure for improving energy efficiency.

We are partnered with colleagues from the School of Public Health at BU to develop an air quality and occupancy sensing device (Urban Indoor Air Monitor – iAM), and validating it in an ongoing housing field study in Massachusetts. The device design is based on existing sensor technology developed and used at BU ENG. We have a unique opportunity to test the device in a real-world setting by connecting to the ongoing activities of the newly-funded Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing across the Life Course (CRESSH, http://www.cressh.org/), where BUSPH and HSPH are partners.  We’re in the design and test stage and hope to report results in the near future.


The illustration above shows the sensor concept and deployment. The device will include sensors to measure CO and CO2, relative humidity and temperature, as well a passive infrared sensor (PIR) to measure occupancy. PIRs are commonly used in buildings, particularly to control lighting. Occupancy is recorded when a warm object passes by the sensor and produces a signal. Because the sensors are inexpensive, multiple devices can be deployed in a home to more comprehensively characterize resident activity. Data are logged onto the device as well as transferred via state-of-the-art wireless technologies (WiFi or Cellular).