Buzz: Measuring and Visualizing Conference Crowds

Buzz explores how technology could be used to understand the movement of attendees at a conference or trade show. Not the fine details of movement of individuals, but the gross patterns of a population. In this instance: a marketplace, and in particular, the marketplace of ideas called SIGGRAPH 2007 Emerging Technologies.

Enhanced Life

Responsive buildings can be more efficient, safer, more secure, and more enriching places to live and work.


The Ambient Intelligence project at the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories is focused on creating sensing platforms and perceptual software that will inform the building systems of the future. To protect the privacy of inhabitants, the project specifically favors simple sensors to undercut more invasive modalities such as cameras and microphones.


Buzz is a low-cost, power efficient, privacy-respecting sensor network research platform that supports deployment of enormous test systems. The Ambient Intelligence project uses that platform to develop a toolbox of perceptual technologies that enable detection and interpretation of the patterns of behavior within a building or public space.


Sensors are deployed throughout Emerging Technologies to detect the ebb and flow of visitors. A touch table presents visitors with information about the exhibits within a visualization of the crowds: what's buzz-worthy, what time is good to avoid the crowds, what's open right now?


Christopher R. Wren
Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL)
wren (at)


Mariela Buchin
Yuri A. Ivanov
Darren Leigh
Tai-Peng Tian
Pavan Turaga
Jonathan Westhues
Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL)