Amazon launch social distancing assistant

By Lauren Fruncillo June 17, 2020 - 1:19 pm

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created a world of problem solvers. As people all over the world begin heading back to work we consider which technologies will help keep the spread of the virus under control. Amazon’s team of engineers have created a solution for their own facilities, a social distancing assistant.

According to Amazon their ‘Distance Assistant’ provides employees with live feedback on social distancing via a 50 inch monitor, a camera, and a local computing device. The standalone unit uses machine learning models to differentiate people from their surroundings. Combined with depth sensors, it creates an accurate distance measurement between associates.

Amazon recognise that social distancing can often feel unnatural, creating a visual solution that informs people of their distance will remind them to continue implementing appropriate social distancing measures.

“As people walk past the camera, a monitor displays live video with visual overlays to show if associates are within 6 feet of one another. Individuals remaining 6 feet apart are highlighted with green circles, while those who are closer together are highlighted with red circles. The on-screen indicators are designed to remind and encourage associates to maintain appropriate distance from others. The self-contained device requires only a standard electrical outlet, and can be quickly deployed to building entrances and other high-visibility areas.”

Amazon have set up their first distancing assistant devices throughout a number of their buildings and will continue deploying them thanks to reports that their employees rate the real-time distancing assistants highly. They are also planning to offer the software used to create their distancing assistant publically allowing others to use the assistants as another way to combat the COVID-19 spread.

Amazon claim this is unlikely to be the last piece of COVD-19 busting technology they will release as their teams are so passionate about the health, well-being and safety of their fellow employees. It may be reassuring to see how Amazon are working to keep staff safe and how this affects the running of such a business, it also gives sellers insight into how Amazon engineers produce and provide solutions to problems being faced by us all and how quickly these solutions can be implemented.

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