A project for networking simple proximity sensors which are used for shop doors etc and conceptualising various applications by opening up this data to encourage others to innovate on the same.
Team: Manas Karambelkar, Martin Malthe Borch, Inbal Lieblich
Duration: 3 days
Course: Systems and Layers
Guides: Adam Greenfield, Engin Ayaz
We envision an open database containing data from all the sensors mounted in the city, for transparency and for people to innovate and interact with their city.
Currently sensors are being put up all around the city, but it is unclear who mounts them and for what purpose. Rules and regulations in cities could ensure that the data from these sensors is collected in a concise manner and made available to the public. This will help in reducing suspiciousness in people’s minds, and open up different possibilities of using the data, resulting in useful products and services to the public.
In the proposed system, shops and businesses could install PIR occupancy sensors on the outside surface facing the street which are connected in network. They could connect their proximity sensors for the automatic doors to the same network. The data generated by these sensors is then made openly available.
The app live dot provides real time and historical data visualization of the pedestrian activity in the city as a layer on a map. Using this, people can find popular places around the city. It could also be used to control the window display lighting during the night for energy savings.
Similar sensors could be mounted by municipality around intersections to monitor the traffic and control smart traffic lights.
Extended reading – The process
We scanned few streets of Copenhagen for the variety of sensors placed along them. The common sensors which we noticed were:
1. Light sensors for shops to turn on the signs and window displays when it becomes dark .
2. Proximity sensors for the automatic sliding doors of the shops.
These sensor are connected in small individual networks confined to the shop. We looked at the possibility of networking these sensors on city scale and whether it could generate meaningful implications.
We focused on proximity sensors and what their conceptualized networking could be used for, assuming that the data was open and non personalized.
Some of the possibilities are:
1. Shops can turn the window display lights on and off only when there is someone to look at the display, saving energy but still being able to advertise outside the working hours.
2. Smartphone app that visualizes the activity in the city, both when you need an active or quiet place to hang out, or to know more about a neighbourhood before buying a new apartment.
3. Narrowing down the area of surveillance for police or emergency services.
4. Helpful for businesses to find the perfect location to set-up and also deciding working hours.
5. Satisfying the general curiosity
and many more unexplored possibilities…
Refining and focus
After validation of the concept and mapping the street and activity, we encountered few obstacles for incorporation of the system.
1. Only new or larger shops have a proximity sensor at the entrance.
2. The range and the direction of these sensors are restricted/limited to avoid misfire
3. If the normal proximity sensors (ones that are used for doors) are used then they might get triggered by non living objects on the footpath such as dustbins and sign poles etc.
Based on this we propose a dynamic and scalable system that would be built gradually as technology and economic advantages arise. We imagine that sensors could be added to the system for different reasons. For example the municipality of Copenhagen could mount passive Infrared (PIR) occupancy sensors at traffic light intersections – to count and monitor the traffic, as well as control the traffic lights. Another option is to mount sensors along the street lighting when new lights are mounted, or renovated, this could allow for street light control, and indicating directions.