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Social Distancing Wristbands

Ford Tests Buzzing Wristbands to Keep Workers at Safe Distances

A dozen Ford Motor Co. workers are experimenting with wearable social-distancing devices that could be deployed more widely once the carmaker reopens idled manufacturing plants.

The small group of volunteers at a Ford factory in Plymouth, Michigan, are trying out watch-like wearables that vibrate when employees come within six feet of each other, said Kelli Felker, a company spokeswoman. The aim is to keep workers from breaching the distance that health experts recommend to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

relates to Ford Tests Buzzing Wristbands to Keep Workers at Safe Distances

Renderings of the wearable devices Ford is testing.

Source: Radiant RFID

The social-distancing device could be part of a broader array of new safety protocols Ford deploys as it resumes production as early as next month after at least a roughly six-week shutdown. The automaker is also expected to subject all workers entering a facility to a thermal-imaging scan to detect a fever. And it will provide staff with masks and, in some cases, plastic face shields, Felker said. The company is devising the measures along with the United Auto Workers union.  “Ford and the UAW are working closely to identify different ways to keep our people safe while they are at work,” Felker said.

The Samsung Electronics Co. smartwatches Ford is piloting use software from closely held technology firm Radiant RFID, according to a spokesman for the Austin, Texas-based company. The devices utilize Bluetooth short-wave and low-power technology to detect proximity and clustering of workers.

In near real-time, workers receive a vibration and a color-coded warning on the watch to let them know when they are closer than six feet to another person. Supervisors also receive alerts and reports that can be used to monitor social distancing and clustering in the workplace, according to Radiant.

Related: Automakers will need months to get back up and running

Ford has been piloting the new safety procedures at factories where it’s now producing ventilators and respirators to supply hospitals fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Those practices — which include requiring workers to complete a daily online survey on their health and those they’re in contact with — are expected to be rolled out to the company’s traditional auto factories as they reopen.

The automaker hasn’t set a date for when it plans to resume production.

Social Distancing Wristbands

Ford Tests Buzzing Wristbands to Keep Workers at Safe Distances

A dozen Ford Motor Co. workers are experimenting with wearable social-distancing devices that could be deployed more widely once the carmaker reopens idled manufacturing plants.

The small group of volunteers at a Ford factory in Plymouth, Michigan, are trying out watch-like wearables that vibrate when employees come within six feet of each other, said Kelli Felker, a company spokeswoman. The aim is to keep workers from breaching the distance that health experts recommend to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

relates to Ford Tests Buzzing Wristbands to Keep Workers at Safe Distances

Renderings of the wearable devices Ford is testing.

Source: Radiant RFID

The social-distancing device could be part of a broader array of new safety protocols Ford deploys as it resumes production as early as next month after at least a roughly six-week shutdown. The automaker is also expected to subject all workers entering a facility to a thermal-imaging scan to detect a fever. And it will provide staff with masks and, in some cases, plastic face shields, Felker said. The company is devising the measures along with the United Auto Workers union.  “Ford and the UAW are working closely to identify different ways to keep our people safe while they are at work,” Felker said.

The Samsung Electronics Co. smartwatches Ford is piloting use software from closely held technology firm Radiant RFID, according to a spokesman for the Austin, Texas-based company. The devices utilize Bluetooth short-wave and low-power technology to detect proximity and clustering of workers.

In near real-time, workers receive a vibration and a color-coded warning on the watch to let them know when they are closer than six feet to another person. Supervisors also receive alerts and reports that can be used to monitor social distancing and clustering in the workplace, according to Radiant.

Related: Automakers will need months to get back up and running

Ford has been piloting the new safety procedures at factories where it’s now producing ventilators and respirators to supply hospitals fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. Those practices — which include requiring workers to complete a daily online survey on their health and those they’re in contact with — are expected to be rolled out to the company’s traditional auto factories as they reopen.

The automaker hasn’t set a date for when it plans to resume production.

Ford tests social distancing wristbands to protect employees from coronavirus

Like many manufacturers around the world, Ford Motor Company has had to shift gears due to the coronavirus pandemic and changed its production schedule for the past several weeks.

With production resuming as early as next month, the auto manufacturer is trying to find ways to protect the health of its employees, reports Bloomberg.

A dozen employees at a Ford factory in Plymouth, Michigan are currently testing out wristbands that vibrate if they are too close to each other, notifying their wearers that they need to move away from other people in the factory.

The CDC recommend that people maintain a distance of six feet from others to lower their risk of infection from COVID-19, and with these vibrating wristbands, employees at the Ford factory can know right away if they aren’t adhering to the distance recommendations.

The factory where the wristbands are being tried out has shifted production from cars to ventilators and respirators for hospitals.

Ford has piloted several other safety procedures including a daily survey for its employees in which they report on their health. If the trial is successful, Ford is expected to roll out the devices to all of its factories along with thermal imaging scans to detect fevers.

A spokeswoman for the automaker, Kelly Felker, also says that staff will be provided with masks and some will also receive plastic face shields.

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DAGENHAM, ENGLAND – JANUARY 13: An employee walks past a Ford logo in the yet-to-be-completed engine production line at a Ford factory on January 13, 2015 in Dagenham, England. Originally opened in 1931, the Ford factory has unveiled a state of the art GBP475 million production line that will start manufacturing the new low-emission, Ford diesel engines from this November this will generate more than 300 new jobs, Ford currently employs around 3000 at the plant in Dagenham. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

Ford is testing out wristbands that buzz if wearers come within six feet of each other.

A dozen workers at a factory in Plymouth, Michigan are trying out the devices to help them maintain distance guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. It is one of several safety ideas the automaker is considering as it prepares to resume production next month.

The company is also looking at workers being thermal image scanned for fever as they enter the building.

Source: Bloomberg

 

Ford’s Plan to Reopen? Buzzing Wristbands to Keep People Separated. Social Distancing Wristbands.

The automaker is testing new wearable tech in a Michigan factory

Two automakers at Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant

If you get within six feet of a coworker, Ford’s social-distance wristbands will buzz.
SAM VARNHAGEN VIA FORD
BY ALEX LAUER / APRIL 16, 2020 11:29 AM

That buzz you just felt? It’s not a text or tweet. It’s your social distancing wristband telling you that another human is too close.

Does that sound like a helpful tool or a human shock collar? Whichever way you see it, the new technology is already being tested at Ford Motor Company in hopes of finding a way to reopen factories sooner rather than later. If it’s successful, other industries may adopt similar protocols.

“The small group of volunteers at a Ford factory in Plymouth, Michigan, are trying out wristbands that vibrate when employees come within six feet of each another, said Kelli Felker, a company spokeswoman,” as reported by Bloomberg. “The aim is to keep workers from breaching the distance that health experts recommend to avoid spreading the coronavirus.”

As it stands, Ford has stopped producing vehicles indefinitely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some of its factory workers are currently producing ventilators and other necessary medical equipment for hospitals experiencing shortages. But the automaker wants to restart car production as soon as possible. To do that, the wristbands aren’t the only safety measure they’re implementing.

As Bloomberg noted, new safety protocols could affect every moment of a worker’s day, including thermal-imaging scans on arrival to check for fever, wearing face masks and shields all day, and filling out surveys after a shift to record their health and anyone they came into contact with.

The wristbands themselves still have to undergo further tests before they’re implemented across the company, but if the trial is successful, you may be looking at the hottest new wearable of 2020.

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