Waukesha-based internet of things company EmbedTek, LLC is developing a wearable contact tracing device that allows businesses to enforce social distancing rules within their facilities.
The new device, called PariRange, is a peer-to-peer contact tracking device that can be embedded into protective equipment and work accessories, such as a face shield, hardhat, ID badge or wristband.
PariRange collects and communicates data in a peer-to-peer fashion between each contact tracking device, delivering a cell phone-like vibration to an individual who is in close proximity to another employee. The end user can set distance limits, such as the current six-foot rule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Beyond enforcing social distancing, employers can use data collected by the device to understand how communicable diseases are passing through a facility and which individuals could be at risk to prevent further spread. The company is sprinting to scale the product with plans to bring PariRange to market in August.
EmbedTek, which specializes in embedded computer systems, software, sensors and integrated displays, identified a demand for PariRange in part because of local food processors and manufacturers who were unable to contain the initial spread of COVID-19 within their facilities, said Dan Aicher, EmbedTek chief executive officer.
“For food processors and manufacturers, for example, initial infections that were not contained have spread throughout facilities, endangering employees and shutting down essential portions of the supply chain,” Aicher said in a statement. “It is critical that these facilities are able to open safely and respond quickly and effectively to future COVID-19 cases that occur within their work community.”
EmbedTek chief technology officer Kent Tabor and his creative team were also already working on ultra-wideband technology for another application and were able to leverage their research to develop PariRange.
Ultra-wideband technology is used in radar imaging and is known for being more precise and accurate than peer technologies.
Another benefit of PariRange is that it does not track an employee’s location, movements, or productivity throughout the day. Although infrastructure could be deployed to enable geographic tracking, some companies prefer the ability to maintain privacy while still having the benefits of contact tracing.