COVID-19: A pocket-size device to remind people of social distancing

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Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Southern Railway Signal and Telecommunication engineer has developed a device to remind people to maintain at least a three-meter distance from each other.

The device can fit into a pocket or a small purse. It can be attached with ID cards and can also be used along with a wristwatch. It weighs around 30 grams and uses radio frequency to detect the presence of human beings if they are wearing the same device.

“It is designed with special consideration to the safety of on-duty railway employees,” said R Dinesh IRSSE, Senior Divisional Signal and Telecommunication Engineer, Southern Railway, Trivandrum Division, who coordinated the development of the device by his Junior Engineer, R Nidheej.

“If two or more people wearing Social Distancing Ensuring Device happen to come within a distance of 2-3 meters, it would warn them with an alarm sound. It would continue to produce the alarm sound until they keep a range above 3 meters between them. Thus, the device will help us in ensuring social distancing,” he explained.

While social distancing norms are one of the most essential methods to control the pandemic, it is often forgotten in daily life, the official said, emphasising on the need for such a device.

The device can be recharged with the help of a charger. Once it is charged, it will be active for more than twelve hours.

“We have developed a prototype and it has been tested successfully. We are also ready to transfer the technology to other zonal railways or railways workshops for making it on a large scale,” Dinesh said.

The device is the latest innovation from Nidheej, who has also developed a robot, RailMitra, which has the ability to distribute essentials like medicines, food and water to COVID-19 patients and will collect used plates, bottles, masks, from them to avoid spread of the disease among caregivers.

RailMitra can also be used for disinfecting floors with the help of UV lights and by using its targeted spraying system. It is also provided with an IP camera through which communication can be established remotely with a patient. The technology has been transferred to S&T Workshop at Podanur and they are making it for Railway Hospitals.

Nidheej also developed a sanitiser dispenser which uses ultrasound sensors and microcontrollers to dispense sanitiser automatically for 0.75 second when someone places his or her hands under it.

This sanitizer dispensing device can be recharged with the help of a mobile phone charger. Once it is charged, it will be active for more than one week.

Also Signal & Telecommunication Department of Trivandrum Division has developed a contactless body temperature measurement device that can be used for measuring body temperature without making any physical contact.

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