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The world’s largest online retailer Amazon is all set to roll out cameras in its warehouses that help workers see their physical distancing from others. The Augmented Reality (AR) backed by the magic-mirror-like tool named ‘Distance Assistant’ will alert the workers when they do not follow social distance guidelines, said a blog post written by Brad Porter, Vice President and Distinguished Engineer, Robotics at Amazon.
The tool is inspired by the concept of immediate visual feedback like that of a radar speed check signs. The ‘Distance Assistant’ provides employees with live feedback on social distancing through a 50-inch monitor, a camera, and a local computing device. The standalone unit uses machine learning models to distinguish people from their surroundings. The unit, which is combined with depth sensors, creates an accurate distance measurement between associates.
Porter further explained the product in his blog post. As people walk past the camera, a monitor shows live video with visual overlays to show if associates are within 6 feet of one another. Individuals remaining 6 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 an appropriate distance from others. The self-contained device requires only a standard electrical outlet and can be quickly deployed to building entrances and other high-visibility areas.
Amazon’s Distance Assistant installations are now live at a handful of their buildings.
“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. We are also beginning the process to open source the software and AI behind this innovation so that anyone can create their own Distance Assistant,” added Porter.