Anonymous Indoor Positioning System using Depth Sensors for Context-aware Human-Building Interaction
Ballivian, Sergio Marlon
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Indoor Localization Systems (ILS), also known as Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), has been created to determine the position of individuals and other assets inside facilities. Indoor Localization Systems have been implemented for monitoring individuals and objects in a variety of sectors. In addition, ILS could be used for energy and sustainability purposes. Energy management is a complex and important challenge in the Built Environment. The indoor localization market is expected to increase by 33.8 billion in the next 5 years based on the 2016 global survey report (Marketsandmarkets.com). Therefore, this thesis focused on exploring and investigating "depth sensors" application in detecting occupants' indoor positions to be used for smarter management of energy consumption in buildings. An interconnected passive depth-sensor-based system of occupants' positioning was investigated for human-building interaction applications. This research investigates the fundamental requirements for depth-sensing technology to detect, identify and track subjects as they move across different spaces. This depth-based approach is capable of sensing and identifying individuals by accounting for the privacy concerns of users in an indoor environment. The proposed system relies on a fixed depth sensor that detects the skeleton, measures the depth, and further extracts multiple features from the characteristics of the human body to identify them through a classifier. An example application of such a system is to capture an individuals' thermal preferences in an environment and deliver services (targeted air conditioning) accordingly while they move in the building. The outcome of this study will enable the application of cost-effective depth sensors for identification and tracking purposes in indoor environments. This research will contribute to the feasibility of accurate detection of individuals and smarter energy management using depth sensing technologies by proposing new features and creating combinations with typical biometric features. The addition of features such as the area and volume of human body surface was shown to increase the accuracy of the identification of individuals. Depth-sensing imaging could be combined with different ILS approaches and provide reliable information for service delivery in building spaces. The proposed sensing technology could enable the inference of people location and thermal preferences across different indoor spaces, as well as, sustainable operations by detecting unoccupied rooms in buildings.
General Audience Abstract
Although Global Positioning System (GPS) has a satisfactory performance navigating outdoors, it fails in indoor environments due to the line of sight requirements. Physical obstacles such as walls, overhead floors, and roofs weaken GPS functionality in closed environments. This limitation has opened a new direction of studies, technologies, and research efforts to create indoor location sensing capabilities. In this study, we have explored the feasibility of using an indoor positioning system that seeks to detect occupants’ location and preferences accurately without raising privacy concerns. Context-aware systems were created to learn dynamics of interactions between human and buildings, examples are sensing, localizing, and distinguishing individuals. An example application is to enable a responsive air-conditioning system to adapt to personalized thermal preferences of occupants in an indoor environment as they move across spaces. To this end, we have proposed to leverage depth sensing technology, such as Microsoft Kinect sensor, that could provide information on human activities and unique skeletal attributes for identification. The proposed sensing technology could enable the inference of people location and preferences at any time and their activity levels across different indoor spaces. This system could be used for sustainable operations in buildings by detecting unoccupied rooms in buildings to save energy and reduce the cost of heating, lighting or air conditioning equipment by delivering air conditioning according to the preferences of occupants. This thesis has explored the feasibility and challenges of using depth-sensing technology for the aforementioned objectives. In doing so, we have conducted experimental studies, as well as data analyses, using different scenarios for human-environment interactions. The results have shown that we could achieve an acceptable level of accuracy in detecting individuals across different spaces for different actions.
- Masters Theses