PSI LED Sensormat Fibre Optic Intrusion Detection Sensor

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Ian Bergman with the prototype LED Sensormat controller
Ian Bergman with the prototype LED Sensormat controller

PSI’s LED Sensormat is a sensing solution that integrates optical fibre into a floor mat to create an affordable and robust motion sensor that is immune to environmental disturbances. 

YOU often find that the most interest technologies are tucked away towards the rear of exhibition halls, where clever startups and growing tech houses are putting down their first roots. There were a number of good solutions at Security 2016 and LED Sensormat from Perimeter Security Industries was among the best of them – simple and very effective. 

Simply, LED Sensormat is sensing device that is impervious to typical environment disturbances. It incorporates SecureMat technology which comprises an LED, a micro sensor and a mesh of plastic optical fibre that’s bedded into an industry-grade floor mat. The light signal travelling through the optical fibre is attenuated by pressure applied to the mat by movement of an intruder and a processor inside the mat’s micro sensor deciphers the signal using algorithms seeking threshold signals that generate an alarm event that is signalled to an alarm panel. This light signal is very sensitive to pressure on fibres and that means clever software is able to discern the nature of vibrations to a very high degree, allowing the sensor to be programmed to also monitor events other than intrusion. 


The prototype controller...

According to Ian Bergman, BDM of PSI, if a person steps, stands, walks, runs, trips, slips or falls on the sensor mat, there movement disturbs the light flowing through the fibres embedded in the mat. The algorithms decide whether the signal fluctuation caused by the disturbance is of human or other origin and, if human, the micro sensor sends an alert to a back-to-base monitoring unit or mobile phone through the alarm panel. There are no moving parts – LED Sensormat wires into an existing panel – there are 2 wires – comms and dry contact relay. The sensor contains a microprocessor, LED and LDR and can be configured as normally open or normally closed. A mat can also operate standalone, reporting alarm events wirelessly. 

“Importantly, alarms are only triggered by people; not animals, birds, insects, wind or rain, giving the product the competitive advantages of 100 per cent detection rates and no false alarms,” Bergman says. “The sensor mat can enhance other technologies such as passive infrared (PIR) beams or closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in situations where those technologies are ineffective." 

As well as being used as a frontline detector, LED Sensormat technology can also be used to verify alarm events. For example, a PIR alarm may be triggered repeatedly when a bird or insect flies in front of it but if an LED sensor mat placed in the same area is not being triggered the security firm will know it is a false alarm rather than a genuine security threat. This will enable them to tailor an appropriate response and could result in lower callout fees for the client, giving them an advantage over their competition.

“If anyone stands on the mat it triggers an alarm,” Bergman says. “We consider it to be a faultless product – there’s 100 per cent detection of people walking on it and zero false alarms. Intrusion events are very distinctive so there are no false alarms caused by environmental factors. It’s a low cost solution and we’ve had a lot of interest in it. The idea is not to replace volumetric sensors currently installed by to compliment those sensors with iron clad detection that can only be activated by human intruders." 

Driving the SensorMat system

According to PSI’s CEO Bill Leane, the interface which displays the 3Hz histogram from the SensorMat and can be used as an event log. I can’t help agreeing with Leane as he gives me a run through – this data stream is incredibly rich, with 20 data captures every second. 

While I watch the monitor, Leane climbs on the mat and the hitherto level pattern of the signal spikes in a very distinctive way as his weight bears down on the fibres embedded in the mat.

“You can see clearly this is an event that has taken place on the mat and it’s not a single spike false alarm – the response is very quick, too,” Leane explains. “You can also save the histogram for as many seconds as you want to show the event in real time and taken as a whole, this is a big step forward from a dumb PIR sensor. With LED Sensormat technology you know you have a real event without complicated analysis. The SensorMat management program can be in sleep mode when there’s reduced activity but as soon as it detects anything above the ambient background it will go onto full alert and record the complete data stream.

“The rubber mats are from One Steel – which is a standard solvent resistant, voltage resistant industrial mat used by thousands of organisations. For a typical application that has deployed One Steel mats, we’d recommend 2 per cent of these are fitted with SensorMat technology and integrated into the alarm system. The mats are identical, with a slightly different foam backing, so there’s nothing to indicate to an intruder the mats are detection devices.” 


The completed controller

According to Leane, the wireless version has a WiFi card – they are pick and play so they can be picked up and placed anywhere in a warehouse or factory, and then moved when required – so long as the wireless can reach the alarm panel. 

“It’s also possible to deploy a Rasberi Pi micro-computer, which negates the need for the laptop we are looking at here and communicates directly with the cloud,” Leane explains. “The system can be taught a range of environmental anomalies that occur with plant and process control equipment – the system can report problems with loading patterns or bearing failures of nearby conveyors in a distribution facility, for instance. All that is eminently doable and simple. The chip is a load point simulator. The sensor is so sensitive it will show dirty terminals.” 

The SecureMat technology has undergone extensive real-world testing in the field to prove its capabilities. The LED sensor mat product operates with 100 per cent detection rates and no false alarms. While the sensor inside the mat detects non-human disturbances, it only sends an alarm to the alarm panel for relay to the back-to-base monitoring unit or mobile phone when the disturbance is of human origin. The smart algorithms in the SecureMat technology can actually tell when a person is moving on the mat.


LED Sensormat's datastream is profoundly rich

LED Sensormat product currently comes in 2 versions specifically designed for factories and warehouses – the High Alert Sensor Mat and the Safety Alert Sensor Mat. The heavy-duty black High Alert Sensor Mat has been designed specifically for factories and warehouses to protect property and assets from theft and vandalism and restrict access to secure areas. Inside factories and warehouses the mat can be placed in doorways, storerooms, offices and work areas. Outside factory and warehouse buildings it can be placed under eaves and awnings where it is protected from the weather. This mat looks just like any other heavy-duty factory or warehouse floor mat, making it best suited to security situations where it detects intruders without their knowledge. Typically, it’s configured to work silently with a back-to-base alarm or SMS alert. 

Meanwhile, the heavy-duty, robust, high-visibility Safety Alert Sensor Mat has been designed specifically for factories and warehouses to safeguard workers from injury or death occasioned by getting too close to hazardous substances, processes, areas and machinery. This version of the black industrial LED sensor mat product comes with yellow edging to make it stand out on the floor. Typically, it is configured to sound a siren or other loud alarm and is placed beside moving machinery and in dangerous or restricted areas.

PSI offers a 1-year warranty plus a money-back guarantee during the first month (less courier and handling charges) if users are not completely satisfied with the LED Sensormat product. The Safety Alert Sensor Mat has three widths: 600mm, 900mm & 1200mm and its length ranges from 1200mm to 10m – that makes applications very flexible and depending on an application, users can install a mat that simply can’t be avoided by unsuspecting intruders, or that gives very large safety alert coverage. 

The small mat is 600mm wide x 1200mm long, the standard mat is 900mm wide x 1500mm long and the custom-sized mat is 900mm wide x 3m, 5m, 8m or 10m long or 1200mm wide x 2m, 3m, 5m or 8m long. According to LED Sensormat, extra sizes may be available subject to weight and length restrictions. Power is 9V-12V 150mA, requiring a DC power supply, normally from a security panel. If not available, a standard 240v plug-pack-style power supply may be used. LED Sensormat can accept input power from 5 to 24 V DC and draws no more than 1W of power, making it an extremely economical solution. ♦