imec tests new generation of festival wristbands and improved wireless technology during concert Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike

Last night, a crowd of music lovers in the Antwerp Sportpaleis went wild to the beats of Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. The twelve partners of the iFest project had reason to go wild as well. They saw their work of two years finally come to life: two hundred concertgoers wearing digital iFest wristbands for a richer and fuller concert experience, and a taste of new wireless technology offering the audience even better service. And this is only the beginning: the iFest partners pointed out that their technology could be used for countless other applications, from use at congresses to making a visit to the seaside safer for children; the future holds all kinds of benefits.

Two hundred visitors got a little extra yesterday during the concert of Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. A month ago, they applied as test subjects for the iFest project with the promise of a technology that would provide them with a richer and fuller concert experience. This was the ambition of the iFest project, for which researchers of imec-UAntwerpen and imec-UGent joined forces with six private companies.

One of the novelties these two hundred concertgoers were able to try out was a wristband equipped with sensors, actuators and built-in communication – linked to an app. During the month prior to the concert, each of them was set up with a personal behavioral profile based on Sentiance mobile sensor technology. Using those insights, the wristband and the app, they were able to enjoy a more personal and complete concert experience – before, during and after the performance. “And concerts are just one of our possible use-cases”, explains prof. Steven Latré (imec-UAntwerpen) who oversaw the research. “The technology could also be used at congresses, where it could be packaged in a badge instead of a wristband and used to guide participants to the right rooms, enable voting, etc.”

A second result of the iFest project is the new and improved wireless technology for crowd localization and monitoring. “The main challenge here was to develop a reliable technology that works perfectly in both empty spaces and overcrowded places with lots of reflection alike”, prof. Latré explains. “We’ve developed and improved new hardware and software to make this possible. The possibilities are endless: lifeguards at the Belgian coast, for example, could use this technology to pinpoint lost children with up to two or three centimeters accuracy, even during the busiest moments.”

At festival organizer ID&T, partner of the iFest project, they are excited about the possibilities in their domain: “As a pioneer in music experience, we’ve worked with the most talented and innovative deejays, musicians and artists. Thanks to this project, we’ve now been able to collaborate with talented scientists too, and develop an innovative technology that will shape the music experience of the future, stimulating the senses like never before.”

The iFest project ran from 1 January 2015 tot 31 December 2016 and combined the forces of commercial partners 3factr, ID&T, Playpass, Sendrato, Sentiance and Telenet with the scientific expertise of imec-UAntwerpen and imec-UGent researchers. The project also received financial support from Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship.