Ultrasonic Sensors to Detect Human Presence

Human Presence Detection with Ultrasonic Sensors

MaxBotix ultrasonic sensors solve the common problem of sensing human presence. Our ultrasonic sensors offer the ability to detect people over a wide range of distances with a high read rate and excellent reading to reading stability. Ultrasonic sensors support a wide range of needs from kiosk-based applications to human proximity sensing and even autonomous navigation.

people detection kioskKiosks are one common application requiring people detection. Interactive kiosks in malls only need to light up and interact with customers when they are present. An ultrasonic range finder can be used to trigger a kiosk to light up and play music when customers are near. Similarly, ultrasonic sensors can detect when a customer leaves.

These ultrasonic rangefinders can be used to lock or shutdown kiosks that work with personal information, like an ATM, if a customer leaves. Interactive art displays are another application in this theme. An ultrasonic sensor can monitor a person’s movement and direction of travel to trigger actions in the display.  You can read more in our kiosk people detection ultrasonic sensor article. To learn more about how precise and effective MaxBotix Ultrasonic Sensors are, we recommend reading MaxBotix Ultrasonic Rangefinders and Ultrasonic Sensors by MaxBotix® Inc.


Our MB1000 has been used by product developers when seeking a sensor for human presence detection due to its high sensitivity and ability to detect people.   We would suggest testing one in your set-up to make sure it meets your parameters.  The MB1000 can also be used in a multi sensor enviroment easily by chaining the sensors to avoid interference(cross-talk).  In regards to People Sensing: For users that desire to detect people, the detection area to the 1-inch diameter dowel, in general, represents the area that the sensor will reliably detect people.  Review the image below to see the ideal beam pattern for people detection.



Our sensors work well with Raspberry Pi’s and many other microcontrollers in order to create a fully functional system.



Popular Ultrasonic Sensors for Kiosk Applications

Ultrasonic Sensors MB7363 HRXL-MaxSonar-WRLSA USB ultrasonic proximity sensor with a True/False output that is capable of detecting a person to ~4ft. Designed for use in high-density multi-sensor installations. View the MB7373-MaxSonar-WRLS High Performance Ultrasonic Sensor.

Ultrasonic Sensors HRXL-MaxSonar-WRHigh Performance Ultrasonic Rangefinder – HRXL‑MaxSonar®‑WR™ Sensor Line. Detects people to ~7ft and allows for simple integration and a quick easy design process. 1mm resolution and calibrated accuracy. This sensor can easily be used in low-density multi-sensor installations. View all the products in the HRXL-MaxSonar-WR Product line.

Ultrasonic Sensors XL-MaxSonar-WRHigh Performance Ultrasonic Rangefinder – XL-MaxSonar®-WR™ Sensor Line. Detects people to ~8ft and can be easily hidden for a fully finished product. 1cm resolution. Multi-sensor installations require chaining or triggered firing. View all the products in the XL-MaxSonar-WR Product line.

Ultrasonic Sensors MB8450 Car DetectionHigh Performance Ultrasonic Poximity Sensor Rangefinder – MB8450 Car Detection Sensor. A USB ultrasonic proximity sensor with a True/False output that is capable of detecting a person to ~4ft. Designed for use in high-density multi-sensor installations. Suitable for outdoor kiosk and people detection. View the MB8450 Car Detection Sensor.

Ultrasonic Sensors USB-Proxsonar-EZHigh Performance Ultrasonic Rangefinder – USB-ProxSonar™-EZ™ Sensor Line. Similar in function to the LV-ProxSonar sensors. These sensors feature an easy to use USB connection. Great for distributed IT networks and for a quick proof of concept from engineering. Uses the same Micro‑B USB connection as many modern cell phones.
View all the products in the USB-ProxSonar-EZ Product line.

Ultrasonic Sensors XL-MaxSonar-EZHigh Performance Ultrasonic Rangefinder – XL-MaxSonar®-EZ™ Sensor Line. Detects people to long distances. Great for measuring a person’s height or for applications with specific longer range requirements. Single sensor operation or chaining is recommended. View all the products in the XL-MaxSonar-EZ Product line.

Ultrasonic Sensors LV-MaxSonar-EZHigh Performance Ultrasonic Rangefinder – LV-ProxSonar®-EZ™ Sensor Line. The LV-MaxSonar-EZ sensors were the first ultrasonic sensor to offer multiple simple outputs, stable range readings, and no sensor dead zone in a component module solution.
View all the products in the LV-MaxSonar-EZ Product line.

Ultrasonic Sensors LV-MaxSonar-EZHigh Performance Ultrasonic Rangefinder – LV-MaxSonar®-EZ™ Sensor Line. Great for applications where a single sensor is being used. The range information provided allows users to set up custom detection zones. View all the products in the USB-ProxSonar-EZ Product line.






People DetectionAdditionally, ultrasonic sensors are an excellent tool for measuring occupancy. Setting up a system of one or two sensors in a restaurant can be used to provide a reliable count of how many people are currently in an establishment.

They can also be used to monitor the length of a queue to provide an estimated wait time. You can learn more how to use an ultrasonic sensor for people detection in this article. For more information regarding people detection ultrasonic sensors & kiosk sensors, check out People Detection Ultrasonic Sensors & Kiosk Sensors.


Ultrasonic Sensors People detection and Safety ConsiderationsFinally, ultrasonic sensors assist in detecting people for autonomous navigation of robots. Ultrasonic sensors can be used to set multiple tripwire distances to help navigate around people. Additionally, the high read rate allows you to quickly detect when a person may enter your robot’s path. This is a great use of an ultrasonic sensor and you will want to check out article ultrasonic sensor people detection and safety considerations.


Not sure where to start?  Contact us for sensor selection help and we’ll help walk you through the process.

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