Text by: Gerald Mema – Software Engineer – EXUS

As we know the main pathways by which COVID-19 can spread are:

  • The surfaces which the virus can be deposited.
  • The droplets from inhalation.

For these reasons, handwashing and the avoiding of hand face contact are mandatory. However, hand contamination at work may occur through several basic activities (e.g. opening doors or operating light switches), potentially resulting in an almost unlimited requirement for handwashing. Therefore, there is a need for “smart” software which can help workers to keep safe and overtakes the high-risk actions.

PROUD[1] framework provides tracking for:

  1. Proximity time and occurrence (distance less than, e.g., 1 m between individuals).
  2. Presence, time, and occurrence of users in critical areas (e.g. toilets or disinfecting areas) or in other high-risk areas (e.g. COVID hubs).

Also, PROUD will provide an alert component which will notify the users regarding any inappropriate action, risks, etc.

Hand tracking and gesture analysis using cameras are incredibly challenging tasks for the computer vision algorithms. They require a huge amount of data for training and an excessively big computation power.

Despite of the software and hardware challenges, we should consider the ethical part of this concept. Many anonymization and encryption algorithms should be performed to avoid any issue with the personal data of the workers.

In WorkingAge project several software components have been developed such as, face recognition, hand enumeration, hand tracking-monitoring and all the ethical issues have been taken under consideration in order to have the appropriate platform which will improve the working conditions of employees. Beside of that, this platform can create a potential affect in preventing the spread of COVID in workplaces.

References:

1. Pietroiusti A, Uva AE, Cascella GL, Toschi N. COVID-19: contact and gesture monitoring using PROUD Technology. Occup Med (Lond). 2020; kqaa083. Published 2020 May 12. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqaa083van Doremalen N, Bushmaker T, Morris DH et al. COVID-19: contact and gesture monitoring using PROUD Technology.

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