Employees at the City of Ottawa's museums and farmers markets are getting some high-tech help to remain physically-distant on the job, testing out a made-in-Canada electronic device that aims to make physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic much easier.
The device is called The Social Distancer.
Its inventors needed something to keep their employees apart while manufacturing critical medical equipment. When they couldn't find a device on the market that did what they needed, they created their own.
"The Social Distancer is a wireless, wearable communications device, that registers the presence of other devices wthin a distance of five to six feet," explained Edward Zimmerman, with Social Distancer Technologies.
The device, smaller than a mobile phone, can be worn on a lanyard around the neck or clipped to a belt. If it detects another device is too close it will light up, make a sound and vibrate.
"We needed to find a way to keep people apart, without having our managers constantly intervening, and also trying to avoid that awkward conversation between people," Zimmerman told 1310 NEWS.
The Social Distancer was created by manufacturing and technology veterans from Promark Electronics Inc., CMP Advanced Mechanical Solutions, and Visible Assets Inc. Zimmerman said the devices are made in Canada.
The City of Ottawa will test the device on a rotating basis at city-run farmers markets as well as museums, including the Billings Estate National Historic Site, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, and the Diefenbunker Museum.