San Francisco, June 17: E-commerce player Amazon.com is testing a wearable device that will alert warehouse workers to maintain social distance at work during the Chinese Covid-19 epidemic.
The wearable device will sound a loud beeping noise and flashes light when workers do not maintain the safe distance.
According to a report in CNBC on Tuesday, the device comprises a clear plastic sleeve and a clip that has an LED light and audio system embedded in it.
The device will be used by Amazon’s facility in Kent, Washington, starting Wednesday, said the report, citing a private online group for warehouse workers.
The report comes amid fierce criticism that Amazon has faced from its former and current employees regarding its safety measures for workers.
Amazon is even being sued for allegedly failing to protect employees from Covid-19.
The e-commerce giant said that nothing is more important for the company than the health and well-being of its employees.
On Tuesday, it also started rolling out an Artificial Intelligence(AI)-powered “Distant Assistant” which provides real-time social distancing feedback.
Inspired by existing examples like radar speed check signs, this 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, said Brad Porter, Vice President of Amazon Robotics.
As people walk past the camera, a monitor displays live video with visual overlays to show if associates are within six feet of one another.
Individuals remaining six 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,” Porter said, adding that first Distance Assistant installations are now live at a handful of the company”s buildings.
The self-contained device requires only a standard electrical outlet, and can be quickly deployed to building entrances and other high-visibility areas, Amazon said.
“We”ve heard that employees find value in getting immediate visual feedback, and site leaders are welcoming another safety measure. Based on that positive employee feedback, we will be deploying hundreds of these units over the next few weeks,” Porter said.
Amazon has also begun the process to open source the software and AI behind this innovation so that anyone can create their own Distance Assistant.