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Ford Testing GPS Shackles to Keep Employees Safe Distance Apart

It’s a wearable RFID chip, and it really feels like George Orwell tried warning us about this.

This is one of those moments when all of the cynicism about a coming dystopian future seems to melt away.  This is the inflection point, where history will bend to the will of either the people or the powers that be.

It feels eerily real this time, unlike the last dozen or so times that the media cried “wolf”.  The “wolf” in this case is an Orwellian-modeled “Big Brother” surveillance scheme, and those who complain about it’s impending impact on society do so from the Apple computer-born tracking device that they carry around in their pocket with them at all times.

And now that we’re being asked to stand 6 feet apart for the sake of starving coronavirus, some have even found a way to make measuring that distance a part of this 1984 redux.

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A dozen Ford Motor workers are experimenting with wearable social-distancing devices that could be deployed more widely once the carmaker reopens idled manufacturing plants.

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The small group of volunteers at a Ford factory in Plymouth, Michigan, are trying out watch-like wearables that vibrate when employees come within six feet of each other, said Kelli Felker, a company spokeswoman. The aim is to keep workers from breaching the distance that health experts recommend to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

The social-distancing device could be part of a broader array of new safety protocols Ford deploys as it resumes production as early as next month after at least a roughly six-week shutdown. The automaker is also expected to subject all workers entering a facility to a thermal-imaging scan to detect a fever. And it will provide staff with masks and, in some cases, plastic face shields, Felker said. The company is devising the measures along with the United Auto Workers union.

The bracelets operate similarly to a dog’s shock collar.

In near real-time, workers receive a vibration and a color-coded warning on the watch to let them know when they are closer than six feet to another person. Supervisors also receive alerts and reports that can be used to monitor social distancing and clustering in the workplace, according to Radiant.

Radiant, the company whose technology makes these bracelets possible, is one of the leading RFID chip developers on the planet, adding another layer of paranoia to this already conspiracy-heavy story.

 

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