COVID-19 Solutions: Maximize Safety and Ensure Social Distancing

COVID-19 has drastically altered the way people go about their everyday lives, and managing the pandemic has essentially required widespread crowd control.

Government-issued guidelines and advice given by health agencies have called for a wide array of public health interventions, notably increased hygiene practices in the use of face masks and thorough and more frequent handwashing. Another large part of managing the disease spread has been controlling distancing between people and making sure, where possible, that people potentially carrying the virus stay at home and limit their contact with others.

Terabee has released three new devices, all aiming to make life easier for businesses trying to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, it can be hard for the public to keep track of and stick to government guidelines that are often changing, especially in regards to what is considered ‘acceptable’ social distancing.

With the CDC advising that employers, “should respond in a way that takes into account the level of disease transmission in their communities and revise their business response plans as needed,” the responsibility for monitoring and controlling the number of people that enter offices, factories, shops, public spaces, and other premises has fallen on businesses and organizations.

Organizations of all sizes are making efforts to accommodate these guidelines and people density and distancing can be dealt with reasonably effectively through the limitation of the number of people permitted into premises. People can be reminded to keep their distance, although this brings with it an administrative burden, with shops and businesses designating personnel to manage the number of people entering and leaving manually.

Identifying potential carriers of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes the disease COVID-19, and trying to prevent them from coming into contact with others, is a significant challenge.

Testing people for SARS-CoV-2 uses time and money, and even with the fastest tests taking just 30 minutes to produce results, testing for the virus before people enter public spaces or business premises is not a practical solution to managing disease spread.

Other solutions, such as monitoring symptoms, do provide a way of identifying some of the likely COVID-19 cases, and many airports have introduced screening with infrared thermometers to check passengers for fever. However, this tactic can be impractical and expensive to carry out.

Fortunately, sensing technology can provide workable solutions to a number of the difficulties surrounding the management of disease spread. Infrared depth cameras are highly effective for people counting, which is useful in the monitoring and managing of people density in busy spaces.

Infrared thermal sensors can also be used for versatile automatic fever detection. Radiofrequency (RF) sensors offer a more robust solution with high levels of accuracy to keeping safe distances between people in public spaces.

Symptom Monitoring with Fever Screening

Terabee’s Fever Detection Mirror uses an infrared thermal sensor to measure human body temperature and indicate potential fever.4 A mirror mounted on a wall offers users a visual indicator to ensure they are in the correct position in front of the mirror, at which point their temperature is displayed.

The infrared sensor used in the detection mirror is highly sensitive to temperature. However, unlike a camera, no identifying features of the users are captured, ensuring privacy. There is the option to network the contactless system with HDMI or Ethernet, although the system is already entirely privacy-protected and GDPR-compliant by design.

The device is portable and is as simple to install as hanging a picture frame. As the need for human operation is not necessary with the mirror detector, the Fever Detection Mirror offers much lower operating costs when compared to manually operated infrared thermometers. This makes the Fever Detection Mirror ideal for scanning people as they enter shops, offices, schools, transport hubs, and other busy spaces.

Minimizing Disease Transmission Risk with Density People Counting

Terabee’s People Density Calculator is another 3D depth time-of-flight (ToF) sensor device. It has been designed to address the issue of maintaining acceptable social distancing in busy spaces.5

The 3D infrared depth sensor is used with proprietary algorithms to count the number of people entering and exiting a space. The people density of a space can then be calculated with this information, which is the average number of people occupying each square meter within the space.

The sensors are simple to network and configure with an intuitive, web-based interface, which simplifies set up for people density monitoring even in spaces with multiple entrances and exits. The calculated people density data can then be used to send outputs to trigger screens or other visual indicators to manage the use of space.

As seen with the Fever Detection Mirror, this system does not capture any identifying features of the people it counts, ensuring user privacy and security and GDPR-compliance. The people density devices are entirely automatic, once again eliminating the need for deployment of staff to monitor entrances and exits manually.

Maintaining Social Distancing in the Workplace with Radio Frequency Proximity Sensing

For a more thorough approach to social distancing, Terabee has developed the [email protected] system, which is a radio frequency, interpersonal distance monitoring system specially designed for workplaces.

The system features portable sensors worn by members of staff. Using radiofrequency ToF ranging, the sensors monitor staff members’ distance from each other, and staff can be alerted with visual, haptic, and audible feedback if they breach distancing measures.

These devices are extremely portable, with a single charge offering over 20 hours of continuous operation and integrated belt clips and lanyard loops. Logging the proximity data with IDs and timestamps is processed internally, being regularly backed up to a server through long-range, LoRaWAN connectivity.

The [email protected] system is a perfect social distancing solution for factories, warehouses, construction sites, and other environments where staff regularly move between areas. Distance sensing is accurate to ±10 cm and can help to ensure that staff can carry out their work effectively without worrying about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Terabee.

For more information on this source, please visit Terabee.

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