Proximity Sensing Within a Lab Environment

Hello - I have a similar yet seemingly much more simple project I’d like guidance on like this post: https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=678659.0

I work in a biopharma lab and we need to adhere to a 2M social-distancing limit between lab members for the foreseeable future. I thought a good way to help compliance with this would be using RFID sensors that made the system buzz or light up when two or more people were getting close to that 2 meter distance. I’d like for this to be small enough to wear around the neck or kept in a lab coat pocket.

From what I’ve seen so far it would take a UHF active RFID reader and tag to achieve this. There are a couple of problems I have not found the solution to in my google searching:

  • RFID seems to be for 2-way communication - I have 15 people in my lab
  • The UHF active RFID sensors/tags are too expensive from what I’ve seen ($100+ USD)

Are RFID sensors the best way to go about this?

Are there other kinds of sensors which could achieve this that are less expensive?

Any advice on where to look would be greatly appreciate!

EM field level is not a reliable distance indication.

DrDiettrich:
EM field level is not a reliable distance indication.

Thank you for the reply!

What sensors/measuring types would be good for this?

I don't know of suitable sensors, but I'm not up to date.

I'd try to let each target locate itself within the room, and a server could check the distances of all these coordinates.

Easiest may be those hats with a number of 1m long sticks attached. Have everyone wear this, if can touch you're too close. Or just give up on unrealistic requirements... I hope all your passages are at least 3m wide, as then you may just be able to pass while keeping 2m between the two of you (remember to add body size)... The only way to really keep 2m from your colleagues at all times is work from home. Oh, and definitely don't share toilets!

By the way, won't the normal protective clothing that protect you from your lab's own biohazards work against this virus??

The UHF active RFID sensors/tags are too expensive from what I've seen ($100+ USD)

They won't work anyway for "indoor localization", a very difficult and largely unsolved problem.

I can't believe that a "biopharma" company puts such a tiny value on human health and safety. But gadgets, however expensive, are not going to solve the problem.

As epidemiologists have already explained, just having 15 people breathing in the same room for an hour is a clear Covid-19 transmission hazard, unless everyone wears N95 masks properly (along with all the other gear), then decontaminates themselves carefully after leaving the room and removing the gear. Despite following these rules, health care workers are contracting and dying of the disease.

Isolation is clearly working but unfortunately, is not conducive to making the most money possible, and can't be sustained in the long run.

jremington:
They won't work anyway for "indoor localization", a very difficult and largely unsolved problem.

I can't believe that a "biopharma" company puts such a tiny value on human health and safety. But gadgets, however expensive, are not going to solve the problem.

Agreed but someone has to make the tests and analyze them.

entropy61:
Agreed but someone has to make the tests and analyze them.

You totally missed the point.

Of course the work has to be done, no question about that.

But the procedures to keep staff safe… a biopharma company that can’t even afford appropriate protective clothing? And then relies on a employee asking random strangers on a hobby forum for suggestions? I don’t know if it’s intentional or just an oversight but you’re doing good keeping the name of that company secret.

If a solution would exist, by the time you have it implemented and tested to pharma levels and ready to be implemented in a health care environment this virus situation is long over. At least I do hope it will be over 5, 6 years from now.