SAN FRANCISCO: Smartphone users have a new way to keep their distance, a tool that lets them know when people are getting closer than pandemic guidelines recommend.
The Google-developed Sodar tool available this week taps into Android smartphone cameras to put users in the center of a white circle with a radius of about two meters, or 6.5 feet.
Sodar - use WebXR to help visualise social distancing guidelines in your environment. Using Sodar on supported mobile devices, create an augmented reality two meter radius ring around you. #hacktohelp https://t.co/Bu78QrEN9f pic.twitter.com/kufatNFDQk
— Experiments with Google (@ExpWithGoogle) May 28, 2020
The perimeter, determined based on pandemic social distancing guidelines, is made using the same kind of augmented reality technology in smartphone games such as Pokemon Go.
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Circles superimposed on surroundings move with users, keeping smartphones in the center.
Users get a visual warning when they are within the potentially hazardous radius.
Sodar works through Google-made Chrome browsers on Android smartphones that support augmented reality, according to the California-based internet firm.
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"This experiment uses (the application program interface) WebXR to visualize 2-meter social-distancing guidelines in your environment," a message at the website said.
The tool came out of an "Experiments With Google" project on technology hacks to help people cope with the coronavirus pandemic.