Nordic Semiconductor today announces that U.S.-based IoT startup, Smart Mimic, is employing Nordic nRF52820 Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) in its Mimic S that is claimed to be the most advanced, high accuracy, low cost, and low energy large workforce Covid-19 social distance tracker launched to date.
This includes a three-month battery life from an internal lithium polymer rechargeable battery cell that Smart Mimic says could not have been achieved without utilizing Nordic Semiconductor’s industry-leading ultra-low power Bluetooth wireless technology and know-how.
Enforcing social distancing
In operation, the ‘always on’ 43 x 43 x 24 mm wearable either attaches to employees’ belts or is worn around the neck on a lanyard and uses Bluetooth Direction Finding functionality to alarm whenever two employees come closer than the 2m safe recommended social distancing rules or spend too much time (e.g. greater than 30 seconds) in close proximity.
A combination of audible, flashing light and vibration alarms can also be customized to increase in intensity the riskier (closer or longer) a contact becomes and not stop until the two employees safely separate to a safe distance apart.
Collected data is sent via encrypted Bluetooth Long Range wireless communication to a smartphone-free, cloud gateway and can be used to provide a workforce-wide ‘heat map’ of risky contacts on a dashboard. It can also be used to provide a full employee ‘head count’ – including location – in an emergency.
Rapid contact tracing
“As large private and government workforces now start to return to work as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased around the world, workers expect their employers to keep them safe,” comments Noyan Berker, Founder and CEO of Smart Mimic. “At the same time, if a member of a large workforce tests positive for Covid-19 organizations needs to be able to perform rapid contact tracing and testing to ensure the outbreak is contained to just a small number of workers.
“The impact of an entire workforce at a major food processing plant or airport, for example, having to go into an enforced two-week quarantine could bring that facility to a standstill and cause massive disruption at a time when every organization is extremely weak having endured months of lockdown.”
“Even with the best will in the world, relying on large workforces to self social distance isn’t practical,” comments Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor Director of Sales & Marketing. “We are all creatures of habit and all prone to being momentarily distracted while working which means large workforces are going to need some help to reliably maintain a safe social distance from co-workers and colleagues at all times. And that means continuous distance and contact monitoring combined with physical alarms to keep workers safe.
“In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if such solutions become mandatory by government legislation for larger public and private employers, workplaces, and organizations if the Covid-19 pandemic looks set to continue to be a risk factor in socially dense locations for some time.”