University of Antwerp and imec launch Crowdscan, a new spin-off to measure crowds without compromising personal privacy

LEUVEN (Belgium), July 14, 2020 — CrowdScan, a spin-off from imec and the University of Antwerp, has developed a system that measures the density of a crowd in real-time using a wireless sensor network.

    Imec persartikel

    Based on six years of research at the University of Antwerp and imec, CrowdScan has developed a system to measure crowd densities without using camera images, mobile phone data or other privacy-sensitive information. By transmitting low-energetic radio waves (868 MHz), CrowdScan measures the average signal attenuation of a wireless sensor network relative to the empty environment.

    The technology was validated at different large-scale events such as Tomorrowland. When the coronavirus crisis broke out, CrowdScan immediately realized the added value of the technology for helping society adapt to the new needs of social distancing. The business model was extended from services for event organizers to services for local governments and cities. In May, a successful pilot project was launched to measure the size of groups on a bridge and a street near the MAS museum in Antwerp.

    "There will be no mass events this summer, but the importance of accurate information on crowd densities has only increased since the coronavirus crisis", says Ben Bellekens, CEO of CrowdScan.