Non-invasive (non-contact) measurements of human thermal physiology signals and thermal comfort/discomfort poses -A review
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems have been adopted to create comfortable, healthy and safe indoor environments. In the control loop, the technical feature of the human demand-oriented supply can help operate HVAC effectively. Among many technical options, real time monitoring based on feedback signals from end users has been frequently reported as a critical technology to confirm optimizing building performance. Recent studies have incorporated human thermal physiology signals and thermal comfort/discomfort status as real-time feedback signals. A series of human subject experiments used to be conducted by primarily adopting subjective questionnaire surveys in a lab-setting study, which is limited in the application for reality. With the help of advanced technologies, physiological signals have been detected, measured and processed by using multiple technical formats, such as wearable sensors. Nevertheless, they mostly require physical contacts with the skin surface in spite of the small physical dimension and compatibility with other wearable accessories, such as goggles, and intelligent bracelets. Most recently, a low cost small infrared camera has been adopted for monitoring human facial images, which could detect the facial skin temperature and blood perfusion in a contactless way. Also, according to latest pilot studies, a conventional digital camera can generate infrared images with the help of new methods, such as the Euler video magnification technology. Human thermal comfort/discomfort poses can also be detected by video methods without contacting human bodies and be analyzed by the skeleton keypoints model. In this review, new sensing technologies were summarized, their cons and pros were discussed, and extended applications for the demand-oriented ventilation were also reviewed as potential development and applications.