Lopos, a spin-off of imec
and Ghent University, presents the Lopos SafeDistance wearable that supports companies in remaining active or safely restarting in-person activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wearable warns employees through an audible or haptic alarm when they are violating the social distancing guidelines while approaching each other.
The solution guarantees the absolute privacy of the user.
After successful pilots at medium and large companies in the chemical, metal and construction industry, Lopos is now scaling up to mass production.
"In order to limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible, it is crucial that we adhere to the social distancing guidelines set by international health experts and governments. The SafeDistance wearable is an intuitive solution that endorses social distancing guidelines in a professional environment. Employees can easily carry the wearable via a clip on the hip or a lanyard and rest assured that they are working within a safe distance,” said Jen Rossey, CEO of Lopos. “Our solution works as a standalone solution; no gateway, server, or other infrastructure is required, no personal data are logged.”
The SafeDistance wearable is based on the Lopos ultra-wideband (UWB) technology that originated from R&D at imec and Ghent University. This technology enables a safe, highly accurate (< 15cm error margin) distance measurement. When two wearables approach each other, the exact distance between the devices is measured and an alarm is activated when a minimum safety distance is not respected.
AkzoNobel is one of the companies that tested the SafeDistance wearable.
“Our employees responded very positively to the effect of the Lopos safedistance wearable. It reminds them to respect the safe distance of 1.5 meters. We have seen an immediate impact of our employees’ interaction with each other and over 90% of them are willing to continue to use the Lopos wearable," said Stefaan De Block of AkzoNobel.
After this and multiple other successful pilots, Lopos has now ramped up production to meet market demand.
Lopos has already received multiple large-scale orders over the last few weeks from companies active in a wide range of different sectors. The SafeDistance wearable is available starting May 27 from €99 ($107.50) per device without recurring costs.
“At imec, we consider it our responsibility to bring promising technology developments originating from our R&D to the market through the launch of spin-offs. We are extremely proud that Lopos tackles the very relevant and topical challenge for companies to find a safe way of working during the current coronavirus pandemic,” said Michael Peeters, program director of connectivity at imec. “In this particular case, Lopos is building on imec’s software expertise for ultra-wideband and sub-GHz, positioning technology and advanced hardware design, developed within imec’s R&D program for next-generation ultra-wideband technology solutions."
"An important social responsibility for Flemish universities is the support of Flemish industry through innovative research," added Eli De Poorter, professor at IDLab - a research group affiliated with Ghent University & imec. "Innovative wireless products such as the SafeDistance solution from Lopos are designed by IDLab through collaborative research projects. Afterward, our testbed infrastructure can be used to evaluate their performance in realistic conditions. To this end, IDLab provides large scale mock-up environments of offices, industrial areas and residential houses."