Personal Comfort Node (PCN): An Open Platform to Enable Participatory Sensing for Intelligent Building Control

Joseph Rosenberger

Authors:  Joseph Rosenberger, Prabir Barooah, Austin Coffman, Ninad Gaikwad, Lucas Murphy

Faculty Mentor: Prabir Barooah

College:  Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering


We present the design of a Personal Comfort Node (PCN), a platform for sensing and user interaction, meant to be part of an indoor climate control system that can provide personalized occupant comfort in commercial buildings. We describe the lessons learned during the design and prototyping of individual nodes as well a network of such nodes. We
also report on an initial deployment of a small number of PCNs in a building and some of the performance metrics of the small-scale network. The hardware components are of commercial-off-the-shelf variety and the software design is based on open source tools that are freely available, so that it is possible to replicate the system at low cost. The goal of this article is to aid such replication. The application of the data collected from the PCNs for modeling and real-time control will be reported in future work.

Poster Pitch

Click the video below to view the student's poster pitch.


Click the image to enlarge.
10 Responses
    1. Joseph Rosenberger

      We do not have plans yet to take it to market. We want to deploy 100 of the devices first and see how they perform in a building over several months.

      We are currently working on mass production of the devices! The circuit board has been streamlined so that the arduino board is no longer required and that soldering of all the sensors to the board can be done with a SMT pick and place machine. Testing of these new boards still needs to be done in more detail, primarily with the network.

  1. Fiona Cheung

    Your research is very interesting. It’s amazing that you can create a device like this. Great job!


  2. Joseph Rosenberger

    Hi Gabe and PB,

    We are currently working on mass production of the devices. The circuit board has been streamlined so that the arduino is no longer required. Instead the AtMega chip, the brain of the arduino, is all that is being used in a more custom board. Additionally a pick and place SMT machine will solder all of the sensors to the board.

    Next steps would be to test this new board in more detail. Circuitry and sensors have been tested, but how they function in a network has not. If testing is successful, the next step would be to deploy the devices after the quarantining.