Innovation That Matters

If workers come too close to each other, their bracelets give them a warning signal | Photo source Rombit

Bracelet helps enforce social distancing for those returning to the workplace

Work & Lifestyle

A digital bracelet monitors employees’ location and sends a warning if they get too close to each other

Spotted: As countries around the world consider the best way to reopen after the coronavirus lockdowns, one major issue is how to ensure that people continue to maintain social distancing, especially in the workplace. Tech company Rombit hopes it has developed a solution.

Rombit has created the Romware Covid Radius, a digital bracelet that ensures social distancing and also allows contact tracing. Rombit developed the bracelet by adapting its existing logistics bracelet, the Romware One, used to manage logistics in the workplace. The company added new functions to the Romware One so that whenever employees come closer to each other than 1.5 metres, they feel a vibration and receive a visual warning signal. Employers can also set an upper limit on the number of employees who may be inside a specific area at the same time, alerting managers in real-time when the limit has been passed.

The bracelets connect using Ultra-Wideband, which does not require a data connection, so there is no localisation or transfer of any personal data. However, it is possible to use the bracelets with a data connection, in order to trace the contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19. In this event, additional privacy features, such as encryption and deletion of data after 14 days, are used.

According to Rombit CEO John Baekelmans, the bracelets are designed to help get the economy moving again, in a safe way. “The new ‘1.5-metre economy’ depends on reliable aids. We are therefore making huge efforts to get the modified bracelet onto the mass market in large quantities so that we can contribute towards getting the economy safely restarted. There is already great international interest.”

The Radius is currently in use at the Port of Antwerp, where it is hoped the bracelet will allow workers to stay safe. At Springwise, we have seen a growing number of innovations aimed at helping businesses reopen safely. These have included a device that warns shoppers when they are too close to each other and a smartphone system that allows dentists to check teeth remotely, reducing trips to the dentist.

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