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LifeBelt: Silent Directional Guidance for Crowd Evacuation

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2 Author(s)
Alois Ferscha ; Inst. of Pervasive Comput., Univ. of Linz, Linz, Austria ; Kashif Zia

The effectiveness of an evacuation process in an emergency situation is heavily dependent on the understanding of the dynamics of crowds. Evidence has been delivered supporting the hypothesis that crowd behavior is self referential in the sense that movement patterns of individuals constitutes crowd movement, which in turn impacts the behavior of individuals. In this paper we build on this evidence and propose a belt like wearable device for vibro tactile directional guidance, LifeBelt, to notify individuals in panic about exits. To assess the potential improvement in evacuation efficiency when using the LifeBelt instead of when not, we empirically analyze the behavior of individuals in panic on the microscopic level, and parameterize large scale simulations (of up to 2000 individuals) with this evidence on the macroscopic level. Simulations show that LifeBelt based guidance can damp panic growth and increase the number of successful evacuations per unit time.

Published in:

2009 International Symposium on Wearable Computers

Date of Conference:

4-7 Sept. 2009