Researchers at the University of Helsinki and the Tampere University of Technology have developed and tested a system of heart-rate monitors connected to a mobile phone system to monitor the collective heart rate of a crowd.
The preliminary tests were with under-clothing heart-monitor belts fitted around the chest, but the researchers note that inexpensive and simple motion-sensor monitors, with global positioning system capability, would make the concept much more accessible.
The system also measures autonomic nervous system activity, galvanic skin response, and blood pulse strength, all of which can be used to give a quantitative estimate of excitement and tension in a crowd. This data could be provided to those running an event or those commentating on it to help them correlate crowd behavior, such as the intensity of shouting, applause, and dancing, objectively with the collective intensity of the metrics.
The researchers say their approach also could be used to boost audience engagement and provide data for research into crowd behavior at sporting and concert events. In addition, the system could be added to video games to extend interactivity and provide useful measurements for health and fitness related games.
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