6Fit-A-Part: A wearable device for physical distancing

Yifeng Cao, Ashutosh Dhekne, Mostafa Ammar

[Published in ICNP 2020] | [Paper] | [Talk] | [Code]
[NSF COVID Call to Arms Talk] | [CRA - Lightening Talk] | [NSF PREPARE Workshop Poster]

The coronavirus pandemic is altering our way of life. As more establishments reopen, there is an expectation that people will follow physical distancing guidelines. The implementation, however, is poor; just putting up warning signs appealing the general public to keep a distance of 6 feet from others is hardly enough. In this paper we consider the design of a wearable device that raises an alarm if another similar device is detected within a set distance. It uses off-the-shelf ultra-wideband radio technology for real-time, accurate distance estimation from others in the vicinity. We design an one-to-all ranging protocol that is able to accurately estimate distance to neighboring devices and warn the user if the distance falls below a certain established threshold within a short time. The device must compensate for human occlusions and avoid unnecessary warnings when physical barriers exist between devices.

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