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New wrist monitor notifies workers when social distancing rules violated

Written by Tue 12 May 2020

Edinburgh-based company has refashioned a hand-arm vibration monitor to detect people less than two metres away

A wrist monitor could allow people to manage social distancing within the workplace.

Edinburgh-based Reactec has repurposed a monitoring system to keep track of social distancing, calling the device Safedistance.

The device, previously used for monitoring vibration when using power tools, has been reprogrammed to alert workers if they have broken the two-metre social distancing regulations.

Using Bluetooth, the monitor can track if workers get any closer. If they do, the monitor vibrates to alert both that social distancing rules have been broken.

Jacqui McLaughlin, chief executive of Reactec, said: “Social distancing will clearly be with us for some time and it’s vital that when people get back to work they can do so safely.

“Our team has moved quickly to repurpose our technology to help businesses to ensure that their teams are working safely.

“Reactec is already dedicated to helping reduce the damage to workers’ health from exposure to vibration so developing our technology to include social distancing was a logical next step in response to Covid-19.

“We want to play our part in getting everyone back to work safely and with confidence.”

Reactec said it has discussed the capabilities of Safedistance at ministerial level with the Scottish Government.

Trade, investment and innovation minister Ivan McKee said: “In response to this pandemic, companies right across Scotland have been diversifying production lines, increasing capacity or exploring new distribution routes to help deliver what is needed, when it’s needed.

“Technology is going to play a crucial role in helping us overcome the long-term challenges presented by Covid-19 so it is great to see innovative, dynamic companies repurposing existing technology to help us protect workers from potential exposure in the future.”

More than 45,000 of the hand-arm vibration (HAV) monitors are already used by companies across the UK, with all software being upgraded free of charge.

One of the companies trialling Safedistance is the civil engineering group, Keltbray.

Its managing director of demolition and civil engineering, Paul Deacy, said: “Keltbray already uses HAVwear as it’s a robust product and the analytics reporting with its automation and GDPR compliance are critical factors to Keltbray providing actionable intelligence.

“So when Reactec approached us to trial the new social distance functionality we already had confidence in the product. Keltbray is encouraged by this new offering.

“This could truly assist us in managing social distancing across our projects.”

Written by Tue 12 May 2020


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