Ensuring Privacy in Next Generation Room Occupancy Sensing

Why lensless smart sensor technology is so important for smart buildings.


For buildings and homes to become ‘smarter’ and more adaptive, new sensing technology must be capable of detecting, counting and tracking occupants regardless of motion. While next-generation sensor technology offers a glimpse of an exciting future in which buildings adapt and learn, real-world privacy issues will almost certainly have to be addressed before mainstream adoption is achieved.

Although focused cameras may adequately address sensing requirements, they also present a range of legal, privacy and hacking risks. These legal and technical issues, coupled with public distrust of lenses, will likely result in a limited deployment of focused cameras for room occupancy sensing tasks in offices and residences. And while defocused cameras offer certain limited advantages over their focused counterparts, images produced by such devices may be easily refocused.

In contrast, Rambus’ lensless smart sensor (LSS) technology reduces occupancy sensing privacy concerns by capturing the raw data of a scene with a diffractive grating, rather than a recognizable image with a lens. Put simply, LSS does not capture focused images or purposely de-focused images. Instead, the technology creates what is called the ‘blob’ domain, which is a series of point spread functions (PSF) of light. This unique ability makes LSS an ideal choice for widespread deployment in smart buildings. To read more, click here.