What to do if there is a stampede? We have all had that thought at a concert or festival. Understanding crowd dynamics in a panic situation can be critical. Researchers have now developed a digital tool that can detect movements that can quickly grow and become deadly.

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Crowds gathering for a concert or demonstration can have disastrous consequences if panic abrupt, by which people are likely to be seriously hurt.

Now, scientists at Uppsala University in Sweden used mathematics to detect early situations in mass gatherings that are at risk of becoming dangerous.

They have analyzed simulated gatherings where each person’s position could be observed under controlled conditions, and then developed a digital tool that they say can predict large-scale movements in a dense crowd of people. It is able to detect minor movements that can grow to become risky according to the scientists.

The model can track and analyze large-scale collective motion in real time, pinpointing patterns that may end up in stampedes, trampling, crushing pressure or other dangers

They hope that the tool will become the basis for a computerized method that can be used to design safer crowd control and possibly enable security personnel to take action before people could be harmed.


A. Bottinelli et al. Emergent Structural Mechanisms for High-Density Collective Exercise Inspired by the Human Crowds. Physical Review Letters. 2016. DOI: 10.1103 / PhysRevLett.117.228301