Using LittleBits products for people counting/store analytics/traffic monitoring


After emailing LittleBits for technical support, I was told by Theodore and Kathy that I should post my request here so that the “Community Manager” can respond and share this with the forum.

Here is a recap of our goal with utilizing LittleBits:

We want to use your simple parts to build a simple sensor that can count people throughout the day. Nothing fancy - it just needs to be functional. For context, we want to use it in our convenient store to capture traffic analytics. There is only one door to enter/exit the store, so we want to be able to count people here. Additionally, perhaps you can come up with a way to track activity in the aisles of the store as well. So, our primary goal is to build something that will capture traffic/count of people walking through the door… and our secondary goal is to capture any other analytics that can be built with your parts as far as store analytics (i.e. store aisle activity, etc).

I hope this makes sense. You have flexibility in using whatever sensors/means that you offer to achieve these goals. You are the experts, and we are open to suggestions.


Hi Mo,

I think there are several ways to go about this.

You could track every time the door opens with a bend sensor and cloudBit (for reporting data). To do this, you could have a bend sensor placed so that whenever the door opens, it bends. Then, a cloudBit can send that to a google spreadsheet via to log the data for each time it is pressed.

If you want to count whenever there is movement in an area, you can do the same thing with a motion trigger and cloudBit.

To do this without having to send data with a cloudBit, you could also just use a motion trigger or bend sensor etc and a number plug module in counting mode. This will count up to 99.

The challenge you have is to get accurate numbers - since you have one door for exiting and entering, you will have double the count at the end of the day. You could have an arduino module do the counting however - and maybe if the code is written well enough, it could account for erroneous movements by having two motion triggers so that it knows the direction of the movement so it can account for someone moving in one direction.

Are the doors in the store automatic doors? It might help to post a diagram of the entrance/exit of the store if you have one.

Something else that is interesting is this project which counts people by knowing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Project: The Purple People Counter

@theodore_littlebits . Thanks.

I like the first idea (bend sensor + cloudBit + ifttt). What is the best way to place the bend sensor given my diagram (attached)?

I need the data, so based on your response, I think the cloudBit is the way to go.

I like the motion trigger + cloudBit idea as well. I presume that I should place a motion trigger in each aisle. How do I visualize this data? Is this also done via ifttt?

Can I use 1 single cloudBit to capture all of the above data?

If the numbers are within 5% error, it is fine with me. You say double the count in your response… I would’ve thought to divide the count by 2, since there is only 1 entrance/exit - whatever the bend sensor reads, I would’ve thought to divide by 2 to get a rough estimate of the number of customers.

I’m not a coder - I’m just looking for the cheapest solution to get this data. It looks like I need to purchase 1 cloudbit, 1 bend sensor, and 10 motion triggers.

Can you help me piece all of this together for my store so that I have a fully functioning solution from LittleBits?

Hi @moharris786 :slight_smile: I’ve been following along, and what you’re asking for is quite complex. I’d like to suggest you start small. Try building one prototype for your primary goal of capturing traffic/count of people walking through the door.

Building on what @theodore_littlebits has suggested, consider making the Smart Bank circuit. It requires the following Bits and Accessories:

cloudBit (the cloudBit comes with the USB power and a power adapter and cable)
bend sensor
number Bit
speaker (optional)
two wires
mounting board(s)

The Smart Bank uses a recipe in IFTTT to update a Google spreadsheet and track how much money has been saved. The speaker (optional) could be used with the Arduino to play a pleasant bing bong sound whenever someone opens the door.

Smart Bank

I suggest you also try experimenting with one [motion trigger Bit][1] just to get the idea of how it works. It’s a very sensitive Bit, and we’ve listed lots of ways for you to focus it’s detecting area here:

How does that sound?

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