Nordic Semiconductor today announces that German industry 4.0 specialist, ProGlove, has added Covid-19 social distancing functionality to its ProGlove Connect App. The new Proximity feature triggers an alert when workers cross a Covid-19 safety threshold and stay too close together for too long. The App is currently in its beta phase but ProGlove says it has been extensively tested on its own inhouse assembly lines. The ProGlove Connect App can interact with ProGlove’s entire MARK family of products to leverage their instant worker feedback option. This combination of optic, acoustic, and haptic signals adds multiple layers of alerting to make sure an Android alert is not overlooked in a busy or noisy industrial environment.
In operation, ProGlove says in addition to providing Bluetooth® LE wireless communication, the Nordic nRF52840’s on-board 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor and 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM function like a CPU in a computer within the ProGlove MARK wearables including controlling the feedback system.
Smallest on the market
ProGlove says its matchbox-sized MARK scanner is the smallest and lightest (40-48g) on the market and has been in use for some time in factories and warehouses by customers such as BMW, Audi, and Bosch to shave seconds off of every scan and allow users the full use of their hands unlike competing devices.
The battery-powered device is said to be able to perform 10,000 scans between recharges (which typically equates to around three shifts) and comes with a display option that can give users instant feedback regarding whether an item they are picking is the correct one.
“The problem with enforcing safe social distancing in large factories and warehouses is that humans are creatures of habit and can easily ‘forget’ to maintain a safe distance apart,” comments Axel Schmidt, Senior Communications Manager at ProGlove.
“What’s great about our solution, however, is that it can utilize a hardware device already widely in use. The extra Covid-19 social distance monitoring and alerting functionality has simply been added on top using the ProGlove Connect Proximity app for Android.”
Free app upgrade
In operation, the app measures Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) signal strength to calculate the distance between two workers carrying an Android phone or tablet. The app upgrade is currently available at no extra cost to existing ProGlove customers.
ProGlove was recently named as one of the 100 most promising Technology Pioneers of 2020 by the World Economic Forum, and a ‘Cool Vendor’ by Gartner.
Nordic’s nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC is the company’s most advanced ultra low power wireless solution. The SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting concurrent wireless connectivity of Bluetooth 5 and Thread or Zigbee, in addition to ANT™, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software). The SoC has 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. An on-chip PA features -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.