Barrier gesture thanks to a distance warning device

To ensure safety and continuity on worksites, Frankhauser AG worked with Axians and Actemium to create an innovative sensor system, to continue safely despite COVID-19. A device attached to an employee’s helmet issues an audio warning when another employee is present at a distance of less than two metres.

With an area of around 100,000 m2, uptownBasel is currently the largest construction site in north-western Switzerland. Work on this high-profile project, which is set to become a competence centre for Industry 4.0, has continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to ensure the health of all those working on the huge site, investors and construction management are relying on a comprehensive package of measures. A great deal has already been done to ensure compliance with the minimum distance of two metres decreed by the Swiss Federal Council alone.

At the beginning of April 2020, to address the issue of worksite safety in a global health crisis, Axians, which is responsible for the ICT aspects of the Basel project, was commissioned by the project owner to find a solution that would ensure compliance with hygiene rules and safe working conditions.

Embedded system in helmets

Axians and Actemium, both involved on the uptownBasel project, devised and designed, in just two days, a prototype tool aimed at better protecting site workers. Embedded in helmets, the Bluetooth-based system assesses the distance between two devices – in other words two workers – and beeps or vibrates to alert the user when he or she is less than 2 metres apart from the other person.

uptownBasel agreed to develop it and decided to make use of it to communicate about its building project, which is strongly geared towards new technology and collaborative working. A video showcasing the new tool was produced and broadcast on Swiss television.

“Hundred or so units are being tested on the Basel site and improves compliance with mask-wearing when they have jobs to perform in close proximity to each other. The tool cannot under any circumstances “trace” people. It’s purely a way of reminding them to follow the distancing rule, in line with other smart safety initiatives promoting simplicity and agility taken by the Group”, concludes Nicolas Muller, manager of the Actemium Automation & Industrial IT business unit.

The first prototypes are already available and are currently undergoing practical testing.