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Social Distancing Alarm Uses Bluetooth LE

Nordic Semiconductor has announced that German industry 4.0 specialist, ProGlove, has added COVID-19 social distancing functionality to its ProGlove Connect App. The new Proximity feature triggers an alert when workers cross a Covid-19 safety threshold and stay too close together for too long. The App is currently in its beta phase but ProGlove says it has been extensively tested on its own inhouse assembly lines. The ProGlove Connect App can interact with ProGlove’s entire MARK family of products to leverage their instant worker feedback option.

The MARK wearables embed Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC. The chip’s on-board 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor and 1MB Flash memory and 256kKB RAM provide both the Bluetooth LE (BLE) wireless communications for wearables, but also do the computing functions for the MARK wearables including controlling the feedback system.

ProGlove says its matchbox-sized MARK scanner is the smallest and lightest (40-48g) on the market and has been in use for some time in factories and warehouses by customers such as BMW, Audi and Bosch to shave seconds off of every scan and allow users the full use of their hands unlike competing devices. The battery-powered device is said to be able to perform 10,000 scans between recharges (which typically equates to around three shifts) and comes with a display option that can give users instant feedback regarding whether an item they are picking is the correct one. In operation, the app measures BLE signal strength to calculate the distance between two workers carrying an Android phone or tablet. The app upgrade is currently available at no extra cost to existing

The nRF52840 is Bluetooth 5- Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting concurrent wireless connectivity of Bluetooth 5 and Thread or Zigbee, in addition to ANT, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software).

The SoC has 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. An on-chip PA features -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.

Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com

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