Capacity control and people counting system.

Summary of the technology

GEINTRA, a research group from the department of electronics of the University of Alcala, offers a technological solution for people counting allowing an accurately real-time people counting. The system can count the exact number of people accessing a particular enclosure (building, shopping malls, nightclubs, etc.) which allows to take appropriate actions based on the number of people who are inside the controlled room (it informs to the authorities of the number of people, it can be used for the ventilation activation adapted to the needs, restricted access, etc.). GEINTRA is looking for companies working in technological or telecommunications sectors to achieve cooperation or license agreements.

New and innovative aspects

-The system is easy to deploy and install

-It is scalable, camera nodes and supervision area counting systems can be extended as desired.

-High reliability and accuracy of the people counting.

-Incorporates three alternatives sensing for detecting and counting people.

-Flexibility in performance to be able to use a single type of camera or merge the information from two or three types of cameras on a single node.

- Robust to changes in scene illumination and other environmental aspects.

-Ability to configure a solution while maintaining privacy (using only TOF and / or thermal cameras).

Main advantages of its use

-Proprietary of the technology.

-Ability to count real-time, high precision.

-Not sensitive to lighting conditions or temperature.

-Ability to know the direction of movement of people.

-Ability to integrate information from three types of cameras (with solutions that guarantee the privacy of individuals).

-Provides a comprehensive analysis of the number of people in different areas.

-Generation of automatic gauging improvement notices, etc.

-Multiple configuration options.


The proposed system can include three types of cameras: time of flight, conventional cameras or technical cameras. Depending on the system’s application only one camera can be used independently or joining information from several of them. The use of time of flight cameras allows the system to make people counting with different illumination and temperature conditions, without the invasion of people’s privacy, what it is commonly very interesting for this kind of applications.

All those characteristics make this people counting solution useful in a wide range of applications and environments. Among which may be mentioned: monitoring the use of space (capacity), waiting time in queue access, the flow of people measurement, etc. From the information provided by the system of counting people different automatic actions can be taken: limiting access, inform to the competent authorities the number of people within a given site, activation of ventilation systems adapting to the needs, alarm activation, generation of employment statistics, reports, etc.).

Its installation can be done in door, lathes, etc., and the system is intended to be located on a stand above the access area with a height area of detection that can be adjusted depending on the needs (conventional values ranges from 2-4 m height and 3x3 m2 supervision area to be monitored).

The most basic system consists of nodes with conventional vision cameras which process the information based on optical flow obtained from the movement of people in the scene. The people counting is done on a priority basis in entry areas of the site, since the accuracy and efficiency of the algorithm is increased, providing the data counting people entering/leaving an area. The system has network connectivity and can be easily deployed for controlling multiple accesses to the same place. Each node consists of a volumetric system that allows its own activation with an improved performance in terms of power consumption (allowing the use of isolated nodes with battery) and reducing false detection positives of people counting values without an expensive per node cost. Processing can be integrated onto a general purpose or a proprietary hardware design capable of superior performance, so that, if it is needed the result data can be the number of people counted and not real images.

The time of flight (TOF) camera bases its operation on module light emission which illuminates the scene in an area near the infrared spectrum. For measuring the phase shift between the emitted and received signal advanced correlation techniques are applied inside the TOF camera (directly on the chip). The optical signal reflected is correlated with a reference signal which is in phase with the optical signal source. Some errors that occur in time of flight of camera as those due to multipath echoes and movements of objects are corrected in the proposed solution. The TOF camera creates images of depth and from this map generated the detection and people counting are done without invading the privacy of the people present at the scene.

A third solution for the people counting node is based on thermal imaging cameras. The node obtains thermal images and allows the detection of people using blob detection and optical flow in the scene. The camera location can be varied as well as the area under supervision, providing in any case the number of people present in the monitored area. Subtraction algorithms can eliminate static objects in the background of the scene.

The proposed people counting nodes allow to provide a comprehensive analysis of the number of people in different areas and it is possible to determine the flow of people between some areas and others. It can be concluded that any of the camera nodes have a simple installation method without imposing restrictions to the normal operation.


  • Monitoring the use of space (capacity), waiting time in queue access, the flow of people measurement, etc

Intellectual property status

Secret know how

Current development status

Development phase

Developed, available for demonstration

Desired business relationship

Companies working in technological or telecommunications sectors to achieve cooperation or license agreements

Related Keywords

  • Automation, Robotics Control Systems
  • Audiovisual Equipment and Communication
  • Description Image/Video Computing
  • Other electronics related including alarm systems
  • Other scanning related (including optical mark sensing and image processing)
  • Other services (not elsewhere classified)
  • Advertising and public relations
  • Other leisure and recreational products and services
  • Other retailing
  • Other consumer products
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Consumer Services
  • People counting
  • capacity control
  • time of flight cameras
  • thermal cameras
  • color cameras
  • security monitoring environments.

About Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

The Technology Transfer Office at Alcalá University serves as a liaison between the University and its socioeconomic environment in terms of research and innovation. It encorages collaboration between research groups from universities and companies/institutions, with the objective to promote and commercialize research results and scientific capabilities.

Some of the services offered by this office are specified in the following list:

- Promotion of R & D and improvement of the relationships with companies.
- Promote the participation in R & D projects applicants to public calls (regional, national and European).
- Advising, processing and monitoring of patents and other forms of industrial protection.
- Support in the negotiation of contracts and agreements for R&D&i

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