IoT connectivity and security start-up Nodle, non-profit foundation Coalition Network, and technology solutions company Avnet have announced the creation of a smart wearable contact tracing device, the Nodle M1. The device tracks distance and buzzes employees to let them know when they are too close to one another.
The 5 cm device tracks distance and notifies employees with a buzz when they get too close to one another (less than 6 feet). According to Nodle, the distance is determined with far better precision than a smartphone-based solution, and without the need for location. The system also enables operational (HR) departments to alert anyone who may have been near an employee who has previously reported a COVID-19 infection. To ensure privacy and security, the Nodle M1 provides a rotating random identifier to prevent unauthorized third parties in tracking employees or understanding the size of a company’s labour force.
The Nodle M1 can be clipped to an employee’s shirt or badge or worn as a necklace. The device leverages parts of the open source Whisper Tracing Protocol and is interoperable with the Coalition App, the contact tracing application developed by the Coalition Network.
According to a recent Harvard University White Paper and Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security study, privacy-preserving digital contact tracing tools can help scale manual tracing efforts, reduce the amount of testing needed, and slow the spread of COVID-19. Certain jobs, such as those in warehouses, factories, hospitals, and food processing plants might make receiving digital contact tracing notifications via smartphones difficult.
Micha Benoliel, Nodle’s Co-founder & CEO, said: “In recent conversations with governments and large enterprises, we realised the need for privacy-preserving contact tracing smart devices that can work independently, and without the need for a smartphone. We’ve already received interest from enterprises in the US and Europe for several million units.”
In response, Nodle began working with Avnet to create the Nodle M1 solution to better protect employees and visitors from exposure to COVID-19. Shipments of the Nodle M1 device is due to begin in October 2020.
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