RS Components and BARTH Elektronik unveil “People Counter” maker project to help social distancing efforts during COVID-19 pandemic

DIY device helps automatically track the number of people in spaces, and maintain safe occupant density as part of COVID-19 response

Ft. Worth, Texas, May 21, 2020RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), a global multi-channel provider of industrial and electronic products and solutions, has joined forces with miniature PLC manufacturer BARTH® Elektronik GmbH to develop a simple maker project that aids social distancing in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The project, called ‘People Counter’, can be assembled in less than an hour and records the number of people entering and exiting a room, indicating when it is safe to allow more people to enter while still maintaining the recommended distance from others. This is particularly effective in retail or other environments where safe social distancing can be difficult to control or where regulations specifically limit numbers of occupants.

Two photoelectric proximity sensors, or light barriers, detect the direction of movement, while a miniature PLC calculates the number of people in and out of the store in real-time. A password-protected CAN touch screen is used to pre-set the maximum people limit and also serves as a ‘traffic light’ system, illuminating green when access is granted and red when access is denied. There is also an audio alert. The miniature PLC processes the data and controls the display.

All of the parts required for the People Counter project are available to purchase from RS, and the full Bill of Materials, 3D data, software and manuals can be downloaded from the RS DesignSpark engineering website. A video showing how to assemble the project is also available.

Daniel Barth, CEO of BARTH Elektronik, who devised this project, commented: “The idea came from the challenge that many businesses currently face when restricting the number of people in shops. Maintaining a reasonable maximum can reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading further through human contact. It was important to find a precise, contactless solution that could protect public health, while avoiding the costs associated with employing extra staff to monitor numbers manually.”

Mike Bray, VP of Innovation at RS Components, added: “This is a simple project that could have a huge, positive impact on the way retailers help protect customers from COVID-19 while they are out shopping. We would encourage any makers keen to help combat the virus to look at this project and consider how it could support businesses in their area, and then perhaps help those retailers to implement it. Makers really can make a difference.”

For full details of how to get started with the People Counter project
visit: https://www.rs-online.com/designspark/people-counter-project-for-covid-19.

Find out how RS Components can help make your technology vision a reality by joining the more 850,000 members of our free online engineering & design community, DesignSpark, and by connecting with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

About RS Components

RS Components is a trading brand of Electrocomponents plc. We offer more than 500,000 industrial and electronic products, sourced from over 2,500 leading suppliers, and provide a wide range of value-added services to over one million customers. With operations in 32 countries, we ship more than 50,000 parcels a day.

We support customers across the product life cycle, whether via innovation and technical support at the design phase, improving time to market and productivity at the build phase, or reducing purchasing costs and optimizing inventory in the maintenance phase. We offer our customers tailored product and service propositions that are essential for the successful operation of their businesses and help them save time and money.

Electrocomponents is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the last financial year ended March 31, 2019 reported revenue of £1.88 billion. Electrocomponents has seven operating brands: RS Components, Allied Electronics & Automation, RS PRO, OKdo, DesignSpark, IESA and Monition.

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