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Need help with proximity sensors

Need help with proximity sensors

(OP)
Hello everyone, new to the forum and this is my first post. I apologize if this isn't the correct place to ask this, I'm starting a project and I need some help if you guys don't mind. To give an example of what I'm trying to do, say there's a sensor on a bandsaw, The sensor would detect a person within only about 1 meter, which would then be sent real time to a website or app. The app would be able to show what machine is being used at what time. I would like the sensors to be a single small self contained unit so It can be easily retrofitted to new machines, or machines can be moved without having to mess with disconnecting and reconnecting the sensor. Unfortunately I know very little about this so I don't know how to piece this together.

What I need help with is if anyone can give me pointers or even buzz words for how I'd go about this. Doing some research it sounds like a retro reflective IR sensor could do what I want, but from there I'm lost. How would I link multiple sensors across a large room together, preferably without long wires running along the floor/ceiling? How would the sensor then upload the information to a server, either at the location or at a separate location? Now I'm not expecting anyone to walk me through all this but if anyone can point me in the right direction or any sort of tips that be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for any help

RE: Need help with proximity sensors

Not clear to me that this is even what you want to do. What happens when someone simply stands there or walks by, and neither case do they actually use the machine?

TTFN
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RE: Need help with proximity sensors

Look into RFID. Each person's name tag can be used to detect who they are and standing in front of what machine.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Need help with proximity sensors

Better yet, you could possibly modify the equipment on/off to be interlocked with the RIFD reader, thus, at least some level of positive correlation between equipment usage and operator ID.

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RE: Need help with proximity sensors

(OP)
Thanks for the replies guys, I'll try to embellish a little more. I was just using a bandsaw as an example, what I'm actually trying to design this for is workout equipment, but really could be used across many different industries. Basically what the goal is for this sensor, or whatever device it happens to be, will be connected to a treadmill, elliptical, squat rack... and allows users to see what equipment is being used without needing to be at the gym. It could be used by the gym owner as well as someone wanting to head to the gym and wants to see what's all being used (only at that current moment though, could very well change by the time they get there). That along with another type of sensor at the door counting every person that walks in and then subtracting the people that walk back out. So with these combined it could help someone see how packed the gym is and determine whether to go to a different location, or wait till a later time.

I was thinking a retro reflective IR sensor because it could be a single device without needing to wire the emitter and detector together, thus eliminating as much wiring as possible. Having a loose detector would simplify it a good deal. Most likely some types of equipment will need a different type of sensor that works better but more of how to make all this work together is the tougher part. Maybe dumbbells could use something like a piezo to sense the pressure of the weight, and ellipticals as well to sense the vibrations...

I'll read into RFID's as well to see if I could possibly make that work.
Again thank you very much for the help. I'm trying to read as much as I can on this subject to get a better understanding, but many parts of this I don't know the terminology to research.

RE: Need help with proximity sensors

Your sensor selection requires a relatively controlled light environment, since they seem to work tolerably well in relatively dark places like restrooms. Given the wide variety of possible lighting outside of a restroom, I think that you'll find it's not a particularly reliable way to do things.

TTFN
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RE: Need help with proximity sensors

A long range RFID device is probably most desirable. Consider the following:
http://epc4roi.com/ski_lift_access
http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/tickets-and-passe...
http://www.rfidjournal.com/articles/view?4193

Almost all of the larger ski resorts are using UHF RFID badges. The really good news is that the same badge can also be used with a password for entry into the gym to begin with. In some gyms, fingerprints are used for entry, which could be still be used in case the user forgot their badge, and a temporary badge could be issued.

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RE: Need help with proximity sensors

(OP)
That's good to know, thank you very much. I'll definitely look more into RFIDs now. So along with the RFID being within the badge there would also need to be a type of sensor on the machine to detect the RDIF, correct? Do you have anything to comment on the I guess I'd say networking side of it? As far as the RDIF communicating to a server, or is that something I should ask a networker/software tech?

RE: Need help with proximity sensors

Ah, I have it.
I've actually done something like this: globetrot on a budget

What you need is a simple wireless system that has its data "gathered" by a master unit. Each 'spot' consists of a transmitter that signals "active" or "inactive" to the master unit. The spots are all simply accelerometers attached to the equipment. Since all the equipment involves motion when they're in use you automatically get assured knowledge when the piece of equipment is 'in use' without any wires or RFID cards, etc., etc.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

RE: Need help with proximity sensors

(OP)
That's great! Thank you very much. I may still need to add more along with this as I'd like to try and get an occupancy count to the room as well, and some things like dumbbells or racks/benches may not work as well with an accelerometers. Either way this is a great idea, I'll check these out as well.
Thank ypu

RE: Need help with proximity sensors

For occupancy you use a similar unit except it sees the people passing and keeps a total. Of course there will be some errors as people walk by in opposite directions at exactly the same time and such. What happens then is during the off hours when, say, no one has passed by in an hour or two you re-zero the total.

The barbels have to move too... The 'spots' can be affixed to one end of a dumbbell. The master can do things like tally the total dumbbells that are active.

Keith Cress
kcress - http://www.flaminsystems.com

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