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Why Darmstadt is Digital City

These innovations are making the city in Hesse a pioneer in digital urban planning.

Traffic density and air pollutants are digitally monitored.
Traffic density and air pollutants are digitally monitored. © Digitalstadt Darmstadt GmbH

Smartphone. Smarthome. Smartcity? In 2017 Darmstadt became overall winner of the Digitalstadt competition staged by the German telecommunications association Bitcom. The city with 161,000 inhabitants is a strong IT location with companies involved in communications technology, research institutes and many university graduates in the MINT subjects (mathematics, computer science, science and technology). These and further visions are now becoming reality in the digital city:

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Smart traffic management

Darmstadt already has smart roads systems, where the traffic flow is automated, digitalized and controlled in real time. The UI! Traffic system monitors the traffic density via video cameras and also recognizes whether a large number of pedestrians want to cross the road. The city’s 182 sets of traffic lights are then switched accordingly. The current level of traffic is also visible online.

Intelligent street lights and waste bins

In the future the city also wants to regulate street lighting, waste collection and car sharing options depending on demand. For this purpose, street lights, waste bins and municipal vehicles will be fitted with sensors that process multiple types of data.

Digital assistance in emergencies

In future, if there is an emergency, the people of Darmstadt will be able to use apps to have essential medicines delivered from the nearest chemist, or check into the Klinikum Darmstadt online. The city is also digitally preparing itself for other emergencies as well: fires will be recognized and reported rapidly by the network.

Operations with augmented reality

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Graphic Data Processing in Darmstadt have developed a programme that assists surgeons during operations on cancer patients. A pair of augmented reality glasses superimposes a virtual image of the exact position of the affected lymph nodes. This helps surgeons to recognize more accurately, where they need to operate. This method means that the previous use of radioactive marking substances is no longer necessary: a definite benefit to patients.

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