We’ve written about several technologies developed for COVID-19 testing or remote patient monitoring. Vancouver, British Columbia-based industrial workforce safety company Proxxi recently announced a new wearable to support two additional elements in society’s response to mitigate the pandemic’s spread. Proxxi’s Halo wristband helps people maintain social distancing and also has a potential role in contact tracing.
Proxxi’s primary products alert workers to safety hazards and the presence of other personnel, typically in locations with electrical dangers. The Halo vibrates when it is within 6 feet of another wristband. Halo wristbands have unique IDs and the sensors are always on and use low-energy Bluetooth to detect other units. Each wristband maintains a detailed proximity log of contact with other wristbands. The wristband does not track location and no personally identifiable information is shared between units.
The Halo vibrates to alert the wearer of proximity to other wristbands. Managers can also monitor which bands are in near contact, including the times and number of occasions. The wristband does not play a role in symptom monitoring, but if someone with a Halo contracts COVID-19, company or institution management can download the data from the wristband to trace which other Halo wearers may need testing and possible quarantine.
The Halo wristband concept works best when everyone in the area wears one. Contained workplaces or schools with Halos for all sound like reasonable applications for the social distancing monitoring. Halo could also help with contact tracing within a defined area but would lose its advantage if wearers removed the wristbands or entered an area with people who do not have the device.