Development of an Automated Microclimate Adjustment System based on Concentration Levels of Students
Authors: Jasper Koh, Prasanna Thangaraja, Kenneth Y T Lim
Abstract: The microclimate of a classroom can significantly impact the students' concentration. As students ourselves, we have noticed this. For the same subject, we are concentrated in one period, then in another, we lose our attention very easily. This prompted us to investigate the relationship between students' concentration levels in relation to the microclimate. Through machine learning, specifically through facial recognition and computer vision, we aimed to investigate the students' concentration levels based on the number of blinks per minute. While researching ways to analyse concentration levels, we found multiple studies which found a correlation between blink frequency and concentration level. We found that when people are concentrated, they tend to blink less and vice versa. The relationship between microclimate climate and concentration was analysed by measuring the blinks per minute while changing the microclimate at the same time. The microclimate conditions were varied using an air conditioner where the temperature set varied from 19°C to 31°C. The microclimate was measured using the NodeMCU microcontroller board paired with SCD-30 and HM-3301 sensors from Grove. This allowed us to gather data such as temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide concentration, PM2.5 and PM10 readings. From this, it was found that the most significant microclimate condition that affects concentration levels is carbon dioxide concentration. As the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, the concentration of the participants decreases. The observed trend is supported by various studies as well. Simultaneously, as the microclimate conditions were being varied, we sent out a survey to find the thermal comfort level of the students, allowing us to gauge how they felt according to the environment. Thermal comfort is when a person feels comfortable with the thermal environment. Participants were tasked to do their work for a fixed duration while a sensor recorded the temperature and relative humidity of the place. For every hour, the participants were required to rank their thermal comfort by using the ASHRAE scale. This survey identified the comfort zone at an upper limit temperature of 28.9°C and relative humidity of 68.0% and a lower limit temperature of 26.2°C and relative humidity of 83.1%. With these findings, we created an automated system to alter microclimate conditions. The place will be a conducive environment for the students based on their concentration and the environmental data obtained from the sensors. The alteration of microclimate conditions was done by controlling the air conditioner using an infrared LED module connected to the NodeMCU that sent out the infrared codes according to the conditions of the room, allowing us to adjust the microclimate efficiently while fully utilising the various modes of the air conditioning system to save energy.
Keywords: Microclimate, Concentration, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Microcontroller, Thermal Comfort, Facial Recognition, Air Quality
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