Safety and OSHA News

Coronavirus spurs companies to design new ways to prevent exposure

From vibrating wristbands and smart phone apps for social distancing to devices that warn users when they’re about to touch their face, companies are coming up with lots of new ways to mitigate exposure to the coronavirus.

Big companies like Ford as well as smaller software and tech companies are developing new technology in an effort to keep workers and the public safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ford’s wristbands

Ford Motor Company has been testing electronic social-distancing wristbands to help lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 inside its factories while they retool and manufacture PPE and medical equipment.

These wristbands are like watches, but they’re designed to vibrate anytime workers come within 6 feet of each other to help enforce mandated social distancing, according to a Fox Business story.

Because the coronavirus is mainly spread through droplets from the mouth and nose that can travel distances of 3 to 6 feet, Ford and other companies are working on ways to keep workers at least 6 feet apart while they perform their job duties to help reduce the risk of transmission.

Hygienehook and other gadgets

Some companies have come up with other unique ways to help prevent the spread of the disease, such as DDB Ltd., a company that makes office furniture, which recently designed the “hygienehook,” a pocket-size gadget which lets you open a car door without touching it, which was featured in a recent Reuters story.

Others, such as 3D printing company CAD Crowd, opened themselves up for suggestions from the public via a gadget design contest.

They’ve received about 65 entries, including ideas for a wrist-mounted disinfectant sprayer, half gloves for pushing buttons with your knuckles instead of your fingers and a device for cab users to open car doors without touching the handles.

AI analytics for fever detection

Another tech firm, Scylla, a U.S.-based AI company, designed analytics software to measure the temperature of a person’s forehead and send out an alert if a fever is detected.

The software requires taking and analyzing images from a thermal camera and could be used in places like airports and hospitals.

App records social distancing close-calls

New York-based FROM has designed a social-distancing app for use with smart phones that functions similarly to Ford’s wristbands.

Their Social Safety App began beta testing in April. Users install the app then wear their smart phone on an armband while they work.

If workers come within 6 feet of one another, the app alerts them through beeps, vibrations and light displays, and the closer they get the sounds and lights become more urgent.

Social Safety App also keeps a private record of accidental close contact so, in case of infection, employers are able to warn employees of potential exposure to the coronavirus.

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