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Research to aid safety and security of large crowds


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Research to be undertaken by experts at Leeds Beckett University is set to help improve the security and safety of those attending large events.

Dorothy Monekosso

Following a successful bid for EU Horizon 2020 funding, technology experts at Leeds Beckett will work alongside 27 other European universities to use smart technologies and the internet of things to enhance the experience and increase the safety and security of people at large open air events.

The €680,000 project will be led by Dorothy Monekosso, Professor of Computer Science at Leeds Beckett, who will work with Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rugby to use Headingley Carnegie Stadium as one of six pilot sites which will host large scale technology and capability demonstrations during live matches.

The stadium will be fitted with additional technology and participating fans will be offered the opportunity to assist with the research by carrying wearable technologies.

The project will also look at how technology can help reduce the negative impact on local residents and businesses caused by large crowds, noise and nuisance behaviour using technology to complement and augment existing infrastructure and security arrangements.

As Professor Monekosso explained: “This project will use what we already know and understand about the internet of things and apply it to the security and safety of large crowds. Traditionally crowd management of large open air crowds has been very difficult and it is hoped that this project can make use of the latest technologies to improve fan experience as well as the safety aspects.”

The project will use existing wearable technologies including smartphones and smartwatches as well as other sensors and security infrastructure and integrate this data to develop situational awareness and decision support tools for event organisers, security staff and sound engineer’s situation rooms.

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Professor Dorothy Monekosso began her career in space technology R&D, developing on-board computers and other systems for small satellites and spacecraft. She became interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI) during her PhD, initially working on autonomous spacecraft and space robotics and applying machine learning to space systems. She then moved into developing intelligent and robotic systems for applications in security and healthcare.

Professor Monekosso’s current areas of interests are ambient assisted living (AAL), intelligent environments, smart homes, and assistive robotics.

She has lead a number of projects in the intelligent environments for security and healthcare (Ambient Assisted Living). In recent years her research has shifted towards safe environments to support independent living with EU funded projects on ‘ambient assisted living’ to support people living with dementia and Malaysian Government funded telehealth / telecare projects.

She is the author of over 90 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and conferences and book collections. She currently serves on the editorial board of the international journal Neurocomputing and is guest editor for IEEE Transactions on Human Machine Systems and IEEE Transactions on Intelligent System.

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