Motion sensor not detecting me when sitting or lying down

Hello community,

I am very slowly building my home automation.

Right now, what I would like to set up is a basic motion + switch configuration where when I’m in a room, light is on, when room is empty, light off.

I bought the Aeotec MultiSensor 6 and set up my rules. When I’m entering room, light turns on, perfect. Leaving the room, light turns off after 10 sec, perfect!

But if I sit on the sofa, the sensor does not detect any motion and light turns off… I really have to move my entire body.

So, does anyone know a sensor that will detect a presence even if not moving after 10 sec? I guess something based on IR technology or something like that?
I have a zwave stick on my raspberry +OH2 but if I need to use another technology than zwave, I’m opened, just need to work with OH2…

Thanks in advance for your help!


The motion sensing in the Aeotec IS “based on IR technology”.

Right. I should have asked, does anyone know a sensor that will capture a presence in a room, even this person is not moving?

So you want a stationary presence detection solution (not a motion detection one).
The sensor that you have (MS6) will only detect motion. If you don’t move after a certain period, it won’t fire.

To detect the presence of stationary people using body heat, you need to use a thermal sensor.

One option is: The (DIY with ESP)

I think that there are commercial ready made products with such sensors.

One option is the ‘wasp in a box’ algorithm.

Put simply you would write a series of rules which assume that if motion is detected in a room and then stops, the wasp is still present as motion at the thresholds to the room (doors/windows) has not been detected. If motion is detected in the room, then at a door then it is assumed the wasp has left the box.

This approach gets very complicated very quickly if there are more than one ‘wasps’, or overlapping zones where a wasp can transit through.


Paul’s suggestion is a good one, but is going to be difficult to do on a per room basis. You would have to come up with a way to detect entry/exit of the room. Even then, as he said, when there is more than one person to detect it becomes very complicated.

Are there any other triggers you can use as an indicator that the room is occupied? The easiest one is that “if the tv is on” or if device “x” is playing" then the room is occupied. Obviously this isn’t going to work if you don’t have a device in the room; or if it’s occupied but are doing something else, but it’s a start.

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Maybe a motion detector to start the light, and a camera with face detection to detect that you are still around? Depends if you bury your head in pillows etc though.
I have an Omron camera that I have been meaning to test (BST-007001-020) - it is said to recognize people and lot of other interesting stuff. However time…

I couldn’t find a commercial product with a thermal sensor included :frowning: I did some fast checking on google but nothing came up. Only custom do-it-yourself projects with the D6T thermal sensor…

A more SciFi solution would be to use a CO2 sensor :slight_smile:
Whenever there is a human present in the room, the CO2 levels would go up (assuming that there is no significant air flow in the room) :stuck_out_tongue:

there is a major drawback with all motion, thermal and CO2 sensors: They don’t detect the living dead (aka zombies)!
For these, you need a pressure sensor on the sofa.

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You need a presence sensor, based on a IR sensor grid; e.g. 8 x 8… basically a heat source detector… like the Flir camera… there are commercial ones for a couple of hundred dollars each… see Theben or Hager

Thanks all for your help!

I will look at the d6t solution.

I was thinking at the entry exit rules, but yes, very complicated as soon as you have more than one person.
Also, I need something that is reasonable from a price perspective. Light switch + motion sensor or presence sensor around $150 max. If I want to do multiple rooms, cannot go too high.

Will let you know how it goes.

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Another solution is to set up reelyActive (BT tracking) or FIND (wifi tracking) which has enough resolution to track devices on a room by room basis. But this also means that the occupants need to keep one or more devices with them while at home.

For some people, this is easy (smart watch, some medical devices, etc) but for most this is a deal killer.

Unfortunately, as you are finding, this is one of the hard problems to solve affordability in home automation.

Whenever I face a problem like this, my first instinct is to step back and see if there is some way I can reshape the original problem to make it easier to solve. For example:

  • Automate the lights based on time of day or lighting conditions and ignore whether the room is occupied or not.

  • Make the amount of time the light stays on based on time of day so if you enter the room at a time when you are likely to be awake leave the light on for long enough that you are likely to be detected moving around again or will have exited the room (i.e. hours instead of minutes).

  • Automate the lights strictly based on time or some other event instead of the motion sensor, or a combination of states. For example, turn on the light when the motion sensor detects motion and keep the light on until you go to bed or presence is no longer detected in the house.

  • Use sound, sonic distance sensors, vibration sensors in the couch, etc. in addition to the motion sensors when determining room presence. Use a weighted average or sum of all the sensors when determining room presence (e.g. if three sensors say the room is occupied treat the room as occupied).

  • As already suggested, cameras can be used to detect if there is someone in the room.

There are lots of ways to go about this, all of which either require a lot of work or require a compromise on your part.


These two options sound like possible winners to me.

A timer to keep the lights on for a period of time after motion is no longer detected, and a reset when motion is detected again would be the simple (and cheap) option. I don’t think it would even necessarily need to be hours unless the sensor is having a really hard time picking up movement on the couch. Unless you’re sleeping, it’s pretty hard to stay perfectly still for even 30 minutes at a time.

A sensor on the couch would be a pretty foolproof way of doing things, assuming someone will always be either a) on the couch or b) picked up by the motion sensor. If the OP is ok with a DIY approach, load cells on the couch legs would be just the ticket.

I have considered doing this for our bed, but am not really sure what to use it for since being in bed does not always mean we are ready to go to sleep.

I was thinking at that, but I want something that does not involve extra work/device from the end-user side.

I have an Apple Watch, my wife as well but she does not wear it… and my 2 girls (2 and 3and half) do not wear any electronic devices.

I am really disappointed on these motion sensors… I really thought that they will do a better job.


I will look at the camera option. I remember when I was young, I used a webcam to track motion. Was working pretty well.

Otherwise, not a big fan of the rules based on time of the day. My goal is to save electricity. I want to be as environment friendly as possible, even I will never get back my $ :wink:


I’ll just say to pay attention to diminishing returns.

If you are using effecient LEDs, it will take many years to pay for the camera in saved electricity.

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MOTION sensor

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No idea about the specific sensors you mention but many motion sensors have both inactivity timeout periods and sensitivity values that can be adjusted.

I’m not sure you have entirely grasped here, you can use the motion sensor as a trigger to start timing the light on. After 10 sec, the light stays on for XX minutes under Openhab control. If during the XX minutes, the motion sensor retriggers, you restart the timer back at the original XX minutes.
So when you naturally fidget on the couch during the course of half-an-hour, the light stays on.

A challenge is adjusting your motion sensor to pick up small movement on the couch without being triggered by flapping curtains etc.

The downside is the lights will stay on for half hour when you really do leave the room. You might consider adding a manual switch alongside, and repurposing the sensor/timer solution as more of a guard against leaving the lights on accidentally (especially useful with children - teenagers).

They are distinctively different; both are infra-red, but with different sensors; one is triggered by heat, the other “sees” the heat; often in a grid of 8x8 sensors, sometimes multiple sensors are in one presence detector.

Well, maybe I am cheap. Or I just want to be the most energy efficient as possible but I do not want even a 5 min timer. When I am on the couch, well, I do not really move, the sensor does not detect any movement. Even playing on my phone, it does not detect. I did set up the sensibility to maximum, still does not detect.