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Business & Economy

Tharsus announce new wearable social distancing technology

Blyth-based robotics company, Tharsus, has announced the development of Bump – a new, cutting-edge technology system designed to help keep people safe in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bump’s technology uses wearable and static devices that communicate with one another using sophisticated Radio Frequency (RF) technology. This creates a Personal Motion System that immediately alerts wearers when they are getting too close to another person.

Devices have been developed to be worn in designated workspaces, such as offices, warehouses, laboratories, manufacturing centres and canteens.

Bump was developed as a preventative measure to help businesses enforce personal-distance standards, measure effectiveness, minimise aerosol transmission, and support the implementation of contact transmission policies.

The system can provide additional insight into movement throughout the workplace and the intelligence to inform social-distancing measures.

Brian Palmer, CEO of Tharsus, said: “Social distancing is one the most important ways to slow down the spread of COVID-19, but it’s really hard to do well, especially at work where it’s absolutely vital.

“The pandemic has forced businesses to re-consider their responsibility as employers, with the health of workforces now more than ever one of the most important metrics facing leadership teams.

“We have created Bump to give people confidence that it’s possible to return to work safely, and provide employers with the assurances they need before they can open up responsibly.

“This is a simple, intuitive and friendly system specifically designed to get people working again by changing the behaviour of individuals and businesses – and in doing so help regenerate our economy.”

Early-stage implementation of Bump now underway following a period of robust testing at Tharsus’ headquarters.

Development began shortly after the UK Government announced strict social-distancing measures to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tharsus developed Bump as a specific response to these measures in order to enable businesses to get back to work, help workers feel safe and empowered in their workplace and accelerate the UK’s economic recovery. 

Tharsus is producing 2500 devices during May for a range of trial partners representing key sectors of the economy to test, learn and establish best practice of the Bump system before it is made available for commercial use from late June 2020.

The Northumberland company is working with Virscient, a New Zealand-based specialist in wireless connectivity and IoT, and Arca Blanca, a London-based integrated consulting and data company, in the development of Bump.

Dr Dean Armstrong, founder and CTO of Virscient, said: “We’re very proud to have worked with Tharsus to develop Bump – a product we think will be a game-changer in helping ensure safe and productive workplaces in a post-COVID world. From our very first discussions, it was apparent that the Tharsus team had a deep understanding of the needs of workplaces and a strong desire to do their bit to help these employers get back up and running quickly.

“Virscient’s deep technology and wireless systems expertise was the perfect complement to Tharsus’ significant product development and commercialisation capabilities, and together we made the vision of Bump a reality in record time.”

Chris Wakerley, chairman of Arca Blanca, said: “We are proud to be partnering with Tharsus to support the safe return to work in the post-COVID world. We believe that technology will play a crucial role in helping organisations survive and thrive in response to the unprecedented challenges that they face. Arca Blanca works with the world’s largest organisations to overcome uncertainty and take control of their growth agenda – Bump will play a critical role in this.”