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Title: Thermal and RGB-D Sensor Fusion for Non-Intrusive Human Thermal Comfort Assessment
It is well established that thermal comfort is an influential factor in human health and wellbeing. Uncomfortable thermal environments can reduce occupants’ comfort and productivity, and cause symptoms of sick building syndrome. To harness the built environment as a medium to support human health, well-being, and engagement, it is significantly important to understand occupants’ thermal comfort in real time. To this end, this study proposes a non-intrusive method to collect occupants’ facial skin temperature and interpret their thermal comfort conditions by fusing the thermal and RGB-D images collected from multiple low-cost thermographic and Kinect sensors. This study distinguishes from existing methods of thermal comfort assessment in three ways: 1) it is a truly non-intrusive data collection approach which has a minimal interruption or participation of building occupants; 2) the proposed approach can simultaneously identify and interpret multiple occupants’ thermal comfort; 3) it uses low-cost thermographic and RGB-D cameras which can be rapidly deployed and reconfigured to adapt to various settings. This approach was experimentally evaluated in a transient heating environment (room temperature increased from 23 to 27 °C) to verify its applicability in real operational built environments. In total, all 6 subjects observed moderate to strong positive correlations between the ambient room temperature and subjects’ facial skin temperature collected using the proposed approach. Additionally, all 6 subjects have voted different thermal sensations at the beginning (the first 5 minutes) and at the end (the last 5 minutes) of the heating experiment, which can be reflected by the significant differences in the mean skin temperature of these two periods (p < .001). Results of this pilot study demonstrate the feasibility of applying the proposed non-intrusive approach to real multi-occupancy environments to dynamically interpret occupants’ thermal comfort and optimize the operation of building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  more » « less
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CIB World Building Congress 2019, Hong Kong
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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