Presence Detection at tables etc

Dear community,

I’m getting better and better at using Home Assistant. But for quite a few weeks now, I am thinking about a solution for the lights at my dining table.

In my dining room I have a light system (Spots) which goes on when somebody is just crossing the room. I have another lamp over my dining table which I want to be turned on only if somebody is near the table.
I don’t want a sensor which detects if someone is sitting on a chair as I have always stuff lying on the chairs. So I was thinking if there is something like a proximity or a thermal sensor which I can put under the table an which can detect a human beeing around the table (like 20cm or so).

I’d like something similar for my grand piano in the living room and a special light on it. Normaly we have the keyboard open so a window sensor won’t solve the problem.

And again a sensor like that below my son’s desk would also solve many problems.

So is anyone here who has solved this problem and what kind of sensor did you use? I’d love to hear your ideas. Again, a pressure sensor for chairs won’t do it because we are sometimes a bit chaotic and have stuff on our chairs.

Thanks a lot in advance!!!

An ESPHome device with an ultrasonic sensor is probably your best bet.

Thanks for the answer.

I saw this one already in a blog for presence detection at a desk.

Can I set there a rage, for example there is only presence when the distance is below 15cm so the chairs won’t be detected? That’s why I thought of something thermal.

You can use the Amg8833 thermal imager sensor.
Detects a person at a distance of about 3m. I tested and it works quite well.

You could also put a pressure sensor on the chairs to determine if someone is sitting on it. The problem with infrared, as I see it, is that it is a bit finicky and a dining table isn’t a large area to be able to reliably detect the number of warm objects versus, say, a plate of hot food in almost the same position. If you are going to wire your dining table thirty ways to Sunday to get all this tech, why not do it in a more reliable fashion with running and ESP under each chair with a pressure sensor. This could be battery operated that triggers with the pressure sensor. There are lots of variations of the sensor, from thin strips to large pads. I suppose a lot has to do with if you have padding on the chair you could put this under or if you have to put it on another part of the chair that experiences pressure when someone sits there.