Make the world better through counting

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Some of the calculators are those that help us count. Handheld counters, or tally counters, are often used to count people entering or leaving some location. Like the clicks made as tourists visit an attraction or by airplane staff as there record the number of passengers aboard an aircraft. More advanced automatic counters are commonly used to continuously record long sequences of events, for instance, bicycle and pedestrian volumes 24 hours a day in certain locations. Different types of counters are used in research to assist scientists with performing their experiments.

Some smartphone applications and web services are also aids to counting. They usually provide an easy and a fast way to count any type of fleeting events on click whenever needed. Although these counters are mostly used on modern platforms like tablets or laptops, they lack functionality that many users may want to have. Such programs usually display only final results and cannot link pushes of a counter button to actual times when events were happening. This narrows the area of their application and scales down the amount of useful information available about each of the events and their frequency. For instance, to estimate waiting time in a queue, the number of people and the times when they join and leave a queue have to be logged. An additional issue arises. Because two different processes need to be recorded simultaneously, a counter that can deal only with one type of events will not do the job.

With these ideas in mind we have created The Collective Counter. It is a light in-browser application, which gives a user freedom of choice of a device. As long as your browser supports JavaScript, the counter will work. The Collective Counter can count one or two types of events with a real-time logging. You can title of the counter, name the events and user comments can be saved with a log. A log file is emailed to the user after counting is finished. We took it even step further – the results can be visualized directly in browser and can be subsequently shared on twitter.

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Here is an example. The above figure shows how many people are joining (white line) or leaving (light blue line) a queue at a university restaurant. The dark blue line indicates number of people still in the queue at any given time. Note that the rate of leaving the queue is almost constant (the light blue line is straight) while the rate of joining varies largely as people sometimes come in groups and the joining events are not distributed evenly in time. If we were using a simple tally counter repeatedly counting number of people in a queue with some time intervals, this important peace of information would have been missed.

It is worth to say that the area of use of the Collective Counter is much broader and is limited only by the imagination of a user. It is perfectly suitable for keeping a track of any types of repeatable events no matter what you count: how many cars pass through a busy road every day or how many phone calls arrive at a switchboard in one hour.

Our counter can also be used in a more fun stage. At a tedious meeting you can count how many positive and negative things are said or how many times the speaker smiles. During a long and boring trip you can count how many animals or houses you see through a window. The Collective Counter can even help your friend to get rid of a bad habit if you show them how many times they do it.

Get using the Collective Counter and share your results. Let your imagination fly.

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