At desk sensor?

Looking for some type of sensor to tell if team mates are at their desks. Work in collaborative environment want know if someone is at desk before I try talking to them. What would be best option? PIR? Ultra sonic? Something else? Thank you and please excuse my English :slight_smile:

Put a pad on the chair seat with force activated switch then you can tell if they are sitting down and ready for your commands.

Do they sit in the usual tilt back/swivel desk chairs? If so buy some tilt switches and orient them on the chairs so that a little chair motion triggers them.

I assume you are talking wireless sensors.
I would suggest a sensor which is self-deactivating once triggered otherwise you will drain batteries.
Ultrasonic and PIR sensors will continually be triggered, so unless you add a de-activating mechanism - keep plenty of spare batteries.

Car seat belt technology is what u want to mimic - sensor is de-activated when seat belt is clasped into housing.

You could try making seat belts compulsory in your office - but I doubt that would fly.

If it is an open plan office, how will you know it is that person sitting in that chair?
Even if it is not, the ID of the sitter will need to be known.

Tom.... :slight_smile:

Install cameras.


Don't rule out a CO2 sensor. This detects the Co2 in the air exhaled by your team colleagues and would give some indication as to their presence.
Some careful calibration would be required though to distinguish between active working colleagues and any potted plants in the office.

Thanks for the ideas. It is open in that some can see some people but not everyone. Layout:

A. B
C. D
E. F
G. G
I. J

With small cube walls desks arranged at 90 degrees. Person a and person c face each other but there's a half wall in between. So A can see B and maybe D but no one else. Everyone can see a meter or two above a spots head.

Trying to come up with the best way to sense someone is there or not likely hooked up to an indicator light. Hot the idea from a parking garage I found in Virginia

It is open in that some can see some people but not everyone

How about shouting "Joe, are you there ?" rather than introducing personally intrusive "big-brother" monitoring.

What if Joe does not want you to know he is there?


I think I have seen a system in an office with a similar objective to yours.
However, it was not based on sensors, but on pushbuttons connected to a central LCD with everyone's name on it. It was installed to let the receptionist/telephonist know who was in and who was out.

Anyone leaving the office was required to hit a button to update their status - it was essentially office policy.

So you could have a central LCD and a pushbutton on each desk maybe even with a red/green LED so staff could constantly see their own reported status locally. If the LED is red and they are at their desk, they would know they need to change status.

Or you could feed the info back to your network so any computer on the LAN could pull up a staff status screen rather than having a central LCD.

Just a thought....

I like the idea of opt-in push button away/do not disturb. Not trying to be a big brother. Original low tech thought was couple mirrors but not trying to be creepy or monitor work at all. Push button simpler than sensors and has no creepy!


Another quite reliable method would be the application of RFID technology to determine the presence status of your works colleagues. Of course, not every one is convinced of the benefits, but once these have been made clear, you co-workers should have few grounds to object.
See: Microchip implant (human) - Wikipedia

In a normal commercial/office environment, determining a workers presence is usually made on the basis of computer or telephone usage. Programs run in the background (components of Skype for Business, Cisco etc. etc.) and based on certain patterns of usage of local hardware, and indeed calendar entries, calculate a presence status for the user ranging from out of office to do not disturb, which is then published via the application.

If a teammate is at their desk are they also very likely to be interacting with a computer?

We recently got LED cubes and an application called Blync, which interacts with Lync. When my Lync status is Available, my cube is green. When my Lync status is In a meeting or Busy or Not available, my cube is red. When I am in an IM conversation that someone else started, my cube is purple.

So, there may be relatively inexpensive commercial solutions available, depending on what OS and what software you are using, if you are using computers at all.

If not, something similar to the LED cubes we have could still be used, controlled by the team mates pressing switches for available, leave me alone, gone for the day, etc.

Guys in university res a million years back used to have a LocStat chart on their door. A piece of paper with all the options written on round a circle like a clock: at lectures, in lab, sleeping, beach, dnd etc. Then an arrow stuck in the middle like a one-handed clock, to point to the current location status.

How about an RFID chip like dogs and cats have, and readers all over the building. Then you'll be able to see who's been to the toilet too many times.

Geez! Do you guys work at Amazon??

A solution looking for a problem.

Hot the idea from a parking garage I found in Virginia

It uses ultrasonic sensors on the ceiling. That would probably work, though people do not have hard tops. (Mostly!)

A solution looking for a problem.

Except, it's not a solution yet anyway.

There are way too many variables, like a visitor sitting in someone's chair to leave a note on the desk while the owner is away and giving a false positive, or the owner scooting the wheeled chair out of range of the sensor for a false negative.