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Building an Access Control System for a College Dormitory


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1. Introduction

This document presents a proposal for an access control system (ACS) for a college

dormitory. The ACS will have a face recognition system with camera connected to the door.

Faces of all authorized people will be first scanned and records entered into a database. When a

person approaches the door and stands for a specified duration in seconds, a proximity sensor

near the door is activated and triggers the camera. The person is required to stand at a designated

area and look at the camera. The camera scans the face and if the san is registered in the

database, then the door lock opens and the person can enter the dorm. In case the scan does not

match the records, then entry is denied and an alarm is beeped.

2. Scope statement

The scope statement for the project is given as follows. “To develop a face recognition

system that scans faces to create a repository of scanned faces and matches the face of people

who present themselves in front of the face scanning camera. If the scanned face of the person

matches records in the database, then the door lock opens and the person can enter the dormitory.

The locking system will be of systems such as turnstile locks that allow only one person to enter

after access is granted. This will prevent multiple people to tailgate and enter behind the person

whose face is recognized and access granted. The purpose of this system is to prevent

unauthorized people from entering the dorm and carrying out undesirable activities such as theft,

assault. The purpose is to prevent a fully integrated system that will not need an operator to

control and monitor.

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3. Five major tasks

The ACS has a number of components and activities. This section discusses five

important tasks that the ACS must perform.

Face Scanning: The most critical part of the system is accurate scanning of facial features

and reduce the face rejection rate (FRR) and false acceptance rate (FAR). A high resolution

camera of 1200x1400 is desirable. It should have a high color pixel density to correctly scan the

face and send the coded signals to the database. FRR gives a measure of the number of times an

authentic user who should be allowed entry, is denied access. The acceptable rate is 1 in 100,000.

The camera can face problems when a person who registered while use eye glasses, attempt to

gain access with glasses. In such cases, it is advisable to have a policy where users will have to

remove their glasses while registering. Similar problems can arise for males with and without

bears, and for females who may use a high level of makeup. FAR is more serious since it allows

entry to unauthorized people who do not have access. A threshold limit is needed to set these

errors in perspective. After the face is scanned, the camera must send the images to the server,

where a match is done, and access is granted or denied. These systems have to operate at high

speeds of a few seconds (Smith, Wiliem and Lovell, 2015).

Recording and storing entries: The server with database forms the repository where

records are stored. When students are scanned for the first time, along with the face scan, other

details such as ID number, name, courses, contact numbers, professor name and number, family

contact details, and other details need to be stored. If the system is connected to the college

database, then these contact details can be fetched and the face scan entered against the student
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ID number. The main advantage of having a networked system is that the student details and

scans can be entered once and used in multiple locations and access points, where face scanning,

finger print, and retina scans are used. Records can be indexed on student ID and algorithms used

to quickly match the students face who has come for access, and entry given or denied. A large

college with thousands of students would face speed related issues and the verifying sequence

would take a longer time. In such cases, it is possible to have a local server with records of

students who are given access. Such an arrangement would complete the scanning and

verification process very fast (Sahani, Nanda, Sahu, and Pattnaik, 2015).

Integration with door locking system: The door locking system is an electro-mechanical

system and physical doors must be unlocked and locked through electronic signals. When the

face scan result is positive, then an electric signal is sent to the door locking system that can have

electromagnetic locks. The doors will unlock when the signal is received, spring loaded levers

will open the door and the student can pull it open and enter the dorm. A proximity switch will

detect when a person passes through or is standing in the doorway. Only after the person passes

through, the signal will be activated the door closed. Opening and closing of door should be done

at slow speeds so that people are not injured. If the student is holding the door or placed the

fingers in the door way, the door should not close and crush the fingers (Smith et al., 2015).

Connectivity mechanisms for signal relay: Signal relay from the face reader can be done

by using coaxial cables of sufficient capacity to transmit high density data to the server, and

relay the information to the locking mechanism. It is also possible to use Wi-Fi and internet for

relaying the signals. If internet is used, then extra costs for cabling, connectivity is avoided.
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However, if a college wide LAN is required to connect the dorm systems to other systems, then

cabling is the best solution. Cabling allows more data to be carried, it is difficult to hack and

compromise data. However, it is expensive. Connectivity to the door interlock mechanism needs

be robust since electro mechanical devices are operated (Sahani et al., 2015).

Face Reader: Scanning is done with a wall mounted scanning device that has an LED

interface and camera. The LED touch screen allows users to carry out different functions.

Standard sizes of these devices are 3.5 inch LED touch screen and the overall size is about

104.70(L) x 180.00(H) x3 6.00(W) mm. If the number of people in the dorm is more than 203

cameras can be placed, all connected to the same system. The device must have Flash memory of

at least 256 MB with 64 SDRAM. Devices are available that offer multiple authentication

systems such as face scan and finger print scan. The camera needs to record in high resolution

core with infra red capabilities. The whole system will have a limit on the maximum number of

records that it can store and logs of 100,000 capacities are available (Adman Technologies,


3. Gantt Chart

Following figure presents the Gantt chart for the project.

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Figure 3.1 Gantt chart of the project

4. System Diagram

The system diagram with major components and their connectivity is illustrated in the

following figure.

Figure 4.1 Equipment and connection for ACS

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Adman Technologies. (2017). Face Recognition Access Control System. Adman Technologies.

Retrieved from

Sahani, M., Nanda, C., Sahu, A. K. & Pattnaik, B. (2015). Web-Based Online Embedded Door

Access Control and Home Security System Based on Face Recognition. 2015

International Conference on Circuit, Power and Computing Technologies, Bhubaneswar,

Odisha, India.

Smith, D. F., Wiliem, A. & Lovell, B. C. (2015). Face Recognition on Consumer Devices:

Reflections on Replay Attacks. IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and

Security, 10(4): 736-745.