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StudySafe App Helps Students Find Good Places To Study

StudySafe App Helps Students Find Good Places To Study

By Mary L. Martialay

September 10, 2021

A new app uses anonymous wireless internet data to give members of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute community a real-time look at population densities across campus. The app was designed to help students find safe study spots during the COVID-19 pandemic.

StudySafe shows the current percent capacity of any building or facility on campus, as well as offering projections based on three weeks of data and predictive algorithms. Users can explore the data in several ways, including by selecting certain days, times, or locations, and through interactive campus maps.

The app is based on data collected from more than 1,300 access points collected twice an hour, and the StudySafe app updates its analysis every two hours. All data is anonymous.

The app is one of several COVID-19 related projects conducted by the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA) DATA INCITE program during the 2020 summer and fall semesters. Work has continued on StudySafe during 2021.

Data analysis and visualizations were created by IDEA students and staff. Development of StudySafe was overseen by Kristin P. Bennett, professor of applied mathematics and associate director of IDEA, and John S. Erickson, the IDEA director of research operations, and work was partially funded by a grant from the United Health Foundation. 


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,600 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.