This is Alternative Choices.

Dining facilities at college and university campuses around the United States are often overcrowded because students do not know about underutilized eating alternatives. Overcrowded dining facilities incite student anger and produce potential safety hazards. Our solution for improving on- campus resources is a people traffic monitoring system that would ensure efficient use of dining facilities along with proper resource allocation and adequate management of building space. In essence, Alternative Choices would monitor people movement in/out of dining halls and in the case of UMass we want to implement the design to be used in places such as BlueWall. In the US alone there are 2774 4-year institutions which mean there is a potential and viable use for our design. Commercial alternatives on the market are too costly for a practical implementation, which means a budget- conscious alternative has to be considered.

Project Description

We introduce Alternative Choices, a real-time system that will monitor the number of people in dining facilities around the University of Massachusetts-Amherst campus. This data will be displayed on a public website that will be accessible to the Umass community. Students will be able to view which dining facilities are busy and as a result, decide if they want to eat at an alternate place. The real-time system uses sensors connected to an Arduino Yun board in order to detect people walking through a door. The sensor data is processed on the Arduino board in order to determine a current people count. The people count is wirelessly transmitted from Arduino board to a database. The website interprets the database and displays current people count for a dining facility, along with its history.

Our design includes a hardware component, and software, web-based component. For the hardware we have 2 PIR sensors that detect motion, and an Arduino Yun microprocessor that handles data signals from the sensors. The Arduino Yun has a counting algorithm that determines, from data input, whether someone is entering or exiting a facility. More detail on this is given below. The count is then wirelessly transmitted to the database, where our website can also access it and showcase it. To better understand our design, our block diagram is shown below.

Block Diagram

About Team


  • Weibo Gong
    Faculty Advisor
    Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Stenli Duka
    Team Manager
    Computer Systems Engineering


  • Vangjush Dedo
    Electrical Engineering


  • Salvador Rivera
    Electrical Engineering


  • Lusheng Tang
    Electrical Engineering