London: Scientists have developed new software that can accurately detect areas where crowds are starting to build up, thereby helping security personnel to disperse people before a stampede strikes.
Barbara Krausz at the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems in Sankt Augustin, Germany, developed the system based on one simple observation: when people become trapped in a highly congested area, they sway slowly from side to side in an effort to keep their balance, reports New Scientist.
The software analyzes video footage to analyse movement of pixels between one video frame and another, looking for highly symmetrical pixel motions that indicate swaying.
Any sudden increase in symmetrical movements suggests there may be a congestion problem.
Krausz hopes a future version of her system could run crowd simulations to tell security personnel the best course of action, like opening a gate at a given location.
She will present the work at the Advanced Video and Signal-Based Surveillance conference in Klagenfurt, Austria, next month.
First Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 18:25