Real-time room occupancy estimation with Bayesian machine learning using a single PIR sensor and microcontroller

Charles Leech, Yordan P. Raykov, Emre Ozer, Geoff V. Merrett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


This paper presents the implementation and deployment of a compute/memory intensive non-parametric Bayesian machine learning algorithm on a microcontroller unit (MCU) to estimate room occupancy in a Smart Room using a single analogue PIR sensor. We envisage an IoT device consisting of a resource-constrained MCU, PIR sensor and a battery running the occupancy estimation algorithm and operating over days or months without recharging or replacing the battery. Both hardware-independent and hardware-dependent optimizations are performed to reduce memory footprint and yet provide acceptable real-time performance while consuming less energy. We show a significant reduction in the on-chip memory usage in the MCUs by the algorithm through optimisation of the machine learning models and of the static memory footprint and dynamic memory usage. We also show that a low-end MCU does not meet the real-time requirements of the application without causing high average power consumption. However, a moderately high-performance MCU with a higher clock frequency and hardware floating-point unit provides 19x improvement in the execution time of the algorithm, better meeting the real-time specification of the application and reducing power consumption. Further, we estimate the battery lifetime of the IoT device if it operates continuously in a Smart Room. With a typical size battery, an IoT device consisting of a Cortex-M4F MCU and PIR sensor can operate for more than a month without replacement or recharging of the battery while running the compute-intensive Bayesian machine learning algorithm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium (SAS 2017) Proceedings
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ (US)
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-5090-3202-0
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2017
Event12th IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2017 - Glassboro, United States
Duration: 13 Mar 201715 Mar 2017


Conference12th IEEE Sensors Applications Symposium, SAS 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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