Amazon unveils visual aid to workplace distancing

SAN FRANCISCO : Amazon said Tuesday it was introducing a “distance assistant” as part of its effort to reduce virus infections at its workplaces.

The augmented reality system uses cameras and a large monitor that draws circles around employees to encourage them to maintain the recommended social distance of around two meters or six feet.

A green circle indicates a safe distance, but the circle turns red when people get too close to each other.

Amazon said in a blog post the system was developed by its engineers “working backwards from a concept of immediate visual feedback, and inspired by existing examples like radar speed check signs.”

The company said the system is in use at “a handful of our buildings” and will be deployed more broadly.

Amazon said it would make the technology open source “so that anyone can create their own distance assistant.”

With more than 800,000 employees, Amazon has faced protests over worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic. It has also pledged to invest billions in COVID-19 mitigation.

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