Michael Hopfengärtner

Michael Hopfengärtner

Master's Thesis

An open-source sensor platform for analysis of group dynamics

Robert Richer (M.Sc.), Oren Lederman, Prof. Dr. Alex “Sandy” Pentland, Prof. Dr. Björn Eskofier

05/2018 – 11/2018

Teamwork and communication between group members are becoming increasingly important in the task of solving complex problems [1]. To measure the social interaction and the dynamic of groups, members of the MIT Media Lab have developed an open source sensor platform called “Open Badges” [2]. The badges are used to measure several parameters like vocal activity, proximity to other members and location during a meeting, a workshop, a discussion or an event. After analysis of these parameters real-time feedback can be given to improve the behavior of members within a group.

In this work, the existing sensor platform should be expanded and optimized for modularity and maintainability. An accelerometer should be incorporated and used to determine and analyze the movement of participants as well as for energy saving applications. In a last step the existing hardware should be improved by replacing the microphone and upgrading to a newer chip version.
Therefore, the architecture of the firmware will be improved and a filesystem will be developed to simplify and optimize the way data is stored on the badge. Furthermore, a framework for testing the sensor platform will be developed.


Full Thesis



  1. O Lederman, A Mohan, D Calacci, AS Pentland. “Rhythm: A Unified Measurement Platform for Human Organizations”. IEEE MultiMedia 25(1), 26-38, 2018.
  2. O Lederman, D Calacci, A MacMullen, DC Fehder, FE Murray, AS Pentland. “Open Badges: A Low-Cost Toolkit for Measuring Team Communication and Dynamics”. International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, & Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation, Washington DC, USA, June 28-July 1, 2016.