Meet the $10 Person Sensor Module Capable of Detecting People and Even Recognize Faces

Meet the $10 Person Sensor Module Capable of Detecting People and Even Recognize Faces

Useful Sensors has designed a small low-cost hardware module capable of detecting nearby faces and returning information about who they are, how many they are, and where they are with respect to the device.

This Person sensor makes use of a camera and a small microcontroller, with pre-programmed machine learning algorithms that can recognize people right out of the box so there is no need to build or train any model yourself. The information gathered is sent back over a simple Qwiic I2C interface.

The Person Sensor is quite easy to use so you do not need any special technical expertise for it, even as a new user. Just power it up and face the camera in the direction you are interested in. There’s a dedicated pin that is used to indicate if any person has been detected. Also, ensure the lens is placed the right way since the sensor uses a camera sensor internally. Describing how it should be, SparkFun says:

“you should be able to see the side of the board that has the sensor by spotting the small lens in the center. You will know you have it the right way up when the silkscreen writing “Useful Sensors Person Sensor V1.0” is at the correct orientation.”

The sensor module is also designed with privacy built-in, allowing only metadata derived from each available frame and not raw image data.

Specifications Include:

  • 1x Pre-programmed microcontroller
  • 1x Qwiic Connector for the I2C interface
  • 110 degree Field of View for the Image sensor
  • Image scan rate (active with facial recognition): 5Hz
  • Image scan rate (without facial recognition): 7Hz
  • Low power consumption (150 milliwatts)
  • 3.3V operating voltage
  • 5 milliwatts LED power consumption
  • Up to 400k baud speed for I2C
  • Built-in privacy – module allows just metadata derived from each frame and not raw image data

The Person sensor can be used to build other smarter devices. Considering how simple, cheap, and power efficient it is, we expect to start seeing many projects built around it soon. But before then, you could just grab one to experiment with. You may want to use it to build applications that wake up when people approach, mute a microphone when nobody is present, automatically lock your screen when you step away from it or even minimize the current window you’re working on if someone is looking over your shoulder.

More details on the Person sensor are available on SparkFun’s blog or online store where the module sells for $10. You’ll also find some other useful details in the developer guide.

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About Emmanuel Odunlade

Hardware Design Engineer | #IoT Consultant |All things #ML | Entrepreneur | Serial Writer | Passionate about Innovation and technology as tools for solving problems in developing countries. Spare time is spent around writing and advocacy for the growth of the Maker/DIY Culture in Africa.

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