Tuesday 11th August 2020

Low-cost safe distancing devices alert wearers within two metres

Published on May 8th, 2020

Pathfindr, the asset tracking and IoT tech specialist, has developed a wearable personal safety device to assist workplaces in meeting social distancing protocols, as governments around the world introduce strict measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus.

The Safe Distancing Assistant has successfully undergone testing with several large UK manufacturers and is now being launched more widely as a training and enforcement device for safe personal distancing in the workplace post-COVID-19. This includes use in factories, warehouses, logistics hubs and construction sites.

The lightweight devices use ultra-wideband, low power technology (3.5ghz radio FX frequency) to scan for nearby colleagues, providing a full 360-degree field of detection that has proved much more reliable and accurate than Bluetooth during extensive testing. The devices then emit a short audible alarm or vibration when wearers move within two meters of one another.

The device aims to help Pathfindr customers – which include some of the engineering and manufacturing firms – to safely continue essential operations, while also providing peace of mind to staff when it comes to their own safety.

Ben Sturgess, co-founder and chief technology officer at Pathfindr, says: “This is a project we really care about and it’s great to be able to develop technology to help businesses at a time when it’s really needed. We’ve worked around the clock to build and test a solution in a matter of days, as the impact of manufacturing downtime begins to be felt across the globe.

“The aim of the Safe Distancing Assistant is to enable work to safely continue – providing control to organisations and individuals working within them to prevent the spread of infection,” he adds. “We’re excited by the demand that we’re already seeing for this and have begun exploring the potential for it to be developed even further, including adding a capability for contact tracing into an enhanced version.”

Worn on a lanyard or attached by the device’s clip, the Safe Distancing Assistant includes a number of features to make it suitable for industry use, including adjustable volume and an optional vibration alert, a lightweight design which is foreign object damage (FOD) aware and is also oil resistant and silicone free. The device only operates when worn to prevent unnecessarily alerts.

Pathfindr’s core offering is facility and global location tracking to detect the whereabouts of assets wherever they are in the world. Companies including Rolls-Royce, GKN Aerospace and KLM UK Engineering have incorporated the technology to understand how their assets are being used and, as a result, improve processes, facilitate preventative maintenance, enable product security and reduce inefficiencies.

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