Putting motion and presence sensors to the test

Motion and presence sensors can be used to control lighting systems intelligently and based on requirements. The use of sensors and the “smart lighting” approach will enable major energy savings in the future. Reliable equipment is needed so that this automation can be put into practice. The trust placed in the very latest sensor technologies can only be increased once reliable sensor parameters are available. With high-quality sensor-related benchmark data, it is possible to realise in a more reliable manner the software-based planning of new intelligent lighting concepts – both indoors and outdoors. Unfortunately, however, the performance parameters of motion and presence sensors are virtually incomparable with each other, as every manufacturer uses different measurement processes and there is no standardised approach in the industry.
In order to be able to reliably evaluate and measure these sensors, renowned sensor manufacturers from Switzerland and Europe came together to found the sensNORM association and developed a standardisation proposal in collaboration with CECAPI. The standardisation application has been submitted to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and has now been published under the number IEC 63180:2020. In the standard, the measuring conditions and the parameters to be determined have been defined and described so that now commercially available passive infrared sensors (PIR sensors) can be automatically measured.


Metas has now developed the world’s first manufacturer-independent measurement laboratory which makes it possible to measure in a fully automated manner motion and presence sensors in accordance with the IEC 63180:2020 standard and the sensNORM test specification.
In order to determine the tangential and radial reach diagrams, dummies mounted on linear drives are used. These dummies are modelled on the human body and are equipped with heating elements which keep the head, body and legs at a constant temperature specified in the standard. The sensor is fixed to the ceiling drive, which is lined up parallel to the radial axis, at the desired installation height. When the sensor is triggered, the dummy’s position is registered, and the radial and tangential detection range is then displayed in a polar diagram. The presence range is determined using a heated and automated test arm which is modelled on a person’s lower arm and recreates its movement. The results are subsequently displayed in a carpet plot.

The measurement data is then approximated with an idealised geometric shape, e.g. a circle, and the parameters are determined: in the case of a circle, the radius at which, according to the standard, no detection was found at 15% of the measuring points within this circle.
All measurement results are summarised in a digital measurement report in order to make the data available in common file formats for machine-readable processing in planning and design programs.

The further development of light control sensors is moving towards active sensors which send out ultrasound or high-frequency radiation and detect and analyse the radiation reflected by the environment. The system is being advanced in that direction in order to be prepared for the future development of such active sensors.



sensLAB – Bewegungs- und Präsenzsensoren auf dem Prüfstand

Last modification 11.06.2024

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