Imec tests new generation of festival bracelets and upgraded wireless technology at Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike concert

Leuven, 23 December 2016 – Yesterday evening, the Antwerp Sportpaleis went crazy to the beat of Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike. The twelve partners of the iFest project went crazy, too, as they watched their work of the past two years come to life. Two hundred concertgoers wore digital iFest festival bracelets at the event to enable them to enjoy an enhanced and more complete concert experience. The festival organizers were also able to see for themselves just how the new wireless technology brought greater value and usefulness to their audience. And that’s just the beginning: the iFest partners are also able to demonstrate that their technology can be used for many other applications. Delegates attending conferences, for example, and even parents taking the kids for a day out at the seaside will all be able to benefit from iFest in the future. 

Yesterday, two hundred visitors were given a little something extra at the Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike concert. A month ago they volunteered to be guinea pigs for the iFest project, with the promise that the new technology would give them a more satisfying and comprehensive concert experience. In fact, this was the precise aim of the iFest project on which researchers from imec-UAntwerpen and imec-UGent have worked in conjunction with six outside companies. 

One new feature that the two hundred concertgoers were able to get to grips with last night was a bracelet fitted with sensors, actuators, built-in communication – and the app to bring it all together. During the month leading up to the concert a personal behavior profile was set up for each of them, using mobile sensor technology from Sentiance. Based on these insights and using the bracelet and app, the fans were able to enjoy a more personal and all-encompassing concert experience – before, during and after the performance. “And concerts are just one of the possible use-cases,” says Professor Steven Latré (imec-UAntwerpen), who ran the research program. “For example, the technology can also be used for congresses, where you can fit it into a badge instead of a bracelet and then use it to direct delegates to the right hall or meeting room, enable people to vote – and so on.” 

A second outcome from the iFest project is new and improved wireless technology for locating and monitoring large groups of people. “The main challenge here was to develop reliable technology that works just as well in an empty space as it does in a crowded room where there’s lots of reflection,” explains Professor Latré. “In practical terms, we have both developed and improved new hardware and software to do exactly that. And here again the possibilities are endless: for example, lifesavers at the Belgian coast could use this technology to locate children who have gone wandering off on the beach to within two or three centimeters – even at the busiest times.”   

Festival organizers ID&T are a partner in the iFest project. They become lyrical about the possibilities that the technology opens up in their field. “As a pioneer in the music experience, we work with the most talented and innovative deejays, musicians and artists. Now this project has enabled us to work with talented scientists, too, and develop innovative technology that will provide the music experience of the future, while our senses will be stimulated like never before.”

The iFest project ran from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016 and combined the skills and expertise of commercial partners 3factr, ID&T, Playpass, Sendrato, Sentiance and Telenet with the scientific expertise of researchers at imec-UAntwerpen and imec-UGent. The project was also given financial support by Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship. More information at: http://www.iminds.be/nl/projecten/iFest