Robocop-style Covid bot ‘hunts down individuals breaking social distancing’

Robots are here to enforce Covid restrictions, they just don’t look like it yet (Shutterstock)

A new Robocop-style Covid bot is chasing people who break the rules of social distancing.

The surveillance robot could help contain the spread of the virus and also aid in contact tracing, scientists say.

They explained how the mobile robot recognizes people in crowds who do not adhere to the rules of distance, navigates to them and “encourages” them to break up.

The study’s lead author, Adarsh ​​Jagan Sathyamoorthy, said: “Previous research has shown that a minimum distance of two meters from others can reduce the spread of Covid-19.

“Technology-based methods – like strategies with WiFi and Bluetooth – promise to detect and prevent failures in social distancing.

“However, many of these approaches require the involvement of individuals or existing infrastructure, so robots have shown themselves to be a potential tool to address social distancing in crowds.”

Now, Mr. Sathyamoorthy and his colleagues have developed a new way of using an autonomous mobile robot for this purpose.


The robot detects non-compliance with social distancing and autonomously navigates to the static group with most of the people in it. The robot encourages the non-compliant pedestrians to move apart by displaying a message on the mounted screen. Credits: Sathyamoorthy et al. / SWNS)

He said the robot can detect violations and navigate to them with its own camera and sensor, and tap into an existing CCTV system if available.

Mr. Sathyamoorthy, a PhD student specializing in robotics, said, “As soon as it reaches the breach, the robot encourages people to move apart via text shown on a mounted display.

“The robot uses a novel system to divide people who have broken the rules of social distancing into different groups, prioritize them based on whether they are still or moving, and then navigate to them.”

He said the system uses a machine learning method known as deep reinforcement learning and Frozone, an algorithm previously developed by several of the same researchers to help robots navigate crowds.

The researchers tested their method by letting volunteers run through socially distant injury scenarios while they were standing still, walking, or moving irregularly.

Your robot was able to detect and fix most of the security breaches that had occurred, and CCTV improved its performance.


Young couple distance themselves on a park bench (Getty)

Brits have been asked to maintain social distancing to stop the spread of Covid (Getty Images)

Mr Sathyamoorthy said, “The robot also uses a thermal imaging camera that can detect people with a potential fever, which aids in contact tracing while including privacy and anonymization measures.”

He said more research is needed to validate and refine the system, such as studying how the presence of robots affects human behavior in crowds.

Mr. Sathyamoorthy added, “Many health care workers and security personnel have had to compromise their health to serve the public during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The main goal of our work is to provide them with tools to serve their communities safely and efficiently.”

The results were published in the journal PLOS One.

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CDC shortens social distancing tips for colleges to three ft with masks

Giani Clarke, 18, a senior at Wilson High School, is taking a test in her AP Statistics class. The desks are being doubled to create more social distance.

Ben Hasty | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday revised their guidelines on social distancing in schools, stating that most students can now sit three feet apart instead of six feet while wearing masks.

The recommendation is for all K-12 students regardless of whether community transmission is low, moderate, or significant, the CDC said.

In communities with high transmission rates, the CDC recommends that middle and high school students stay at least three feet apart if schools cannot keep students and teachers in assigned groups, the agency said. In elementary schools, where younger children have been shown to have a lower risk of transmitting the virus than teenagers, children wearing masks can stay within three feet of them, according to the CDC.

The CDC said it continues to recommend a separation of at least two meters between adults in schools, as well as between adults and students. It is also recommended that you maintain a social distance of two meters in public areas, while dining, during indoor activities such as tape exercises and sports, and in environments outside of the classroom.

“CDC is committed to being at the forefront of science and to update our guidelines as new information becomes available,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement. “Through safe, face-to-face tuition, our children gain access to vital social and mental health services that prepare them for the future, in addition to the education they need to be successful.”

The updated guidelines of the federal health authorities follow a Study published last week Clinical Infectious Diseases magazine suggested that public schools could be safely reopened as long as children were three feet apart and other mitigation measures, such as wearing masks, were enforced.

Some schools had complained that adhering to the six-foot rule was impractical. The World health organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics both have a social distance of three feet. The Chief Medical Officer of the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that curtailed social guidelines were “likely” to happen.

–CNBC’s Will Feuer contributed to this report.

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‘Social Distancing Idaho Fashion:’ Fish & Recreation studies massive rise in searching, fishing | Native Information

BOISE – In the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Idaho saw fishing license sales up 65% year over year, Fish & Game officials told lawmakers today, as Idahoers practiced the “Idaho social distancing style.”

Paul Kline, Assistant Director of Policies and Programs, Idaho Fish & Game: “Idahoers have found much-needed respite in Idaho’s nature, including hunting and fishing.”

For 2020 as a whole, he said, “Over 450,000 Idahoans have obtained an annual fishing or hunting license, an 11% increase from 2019. And I’m sure tens of thousands of younger children who don’t need a license would fish these too Family outings. “

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee held its budget hearing in the Fish and Game Department on Monday. The department does not receive any state general tax revenue. Instead, it is funded at 52% through licenses for hunting and fishing. and federal grants for the rest.

Fish & Game director Ed Schriever did not attend Monday’s budget hearing because he was sick. “He’s under the weather and made the difficult but right decision to stay home,” Kline told JFAC.

When the pandemic hit Idaho, Kline said, “Idaho Fish & Game has worked diligently to keep facilities and access points open to ensure people have had the opportunity to recreate themselves.” He said he had “worked to fight against the initial response to closed facilities and access to recreational facilities – knowing that these measures simply lead to more crowds in fewer places, unsafe conditions and resource degradation.”

“Fishing and hunting are generally great for social distancing,” said Kline. “However… it’s a balancing act, and the increased use and participation of recreational activities presented challenges in terms of overcrowding and congestion. These concerns are greater than responding to short-term housing orders, and are related to Idaho’s population growth and the general popularity of hunting and fishing in our large state. “

The way the State Fish and Game Commission has dealt with it is to restrict non-residents, especially in general hunting for deer and elk. “The actions taken by the Commission to limit foreign participation to 10 or 15% of the total number of hunters will reduce non-residents’ participation in some of our general moose hunts by up to 50%,” said Kline. “It will make a significant difference in the number of hunters and ease the crowd.”

Licensed equipment suppliers in Idaho were still assigned a portion of the non-resident tags that corresponded to their historical use in each elk zone.

Last year lawmakers approved a substantial increase in hunting and fishing fees for non-residents. The switch to a new license provider was also financed. “The culmination of this effort was December 1, when over 20,000 non-residents logged into our new system to purchase a license and label for the 2021 deer and elk hunting season,” said Kline. “For the first time in our history, the department published over 13,000 items and sold nearly $ 10 million worth of license approvals and tags in one day. The response from non-residents indicated that Idaho remains a destination for hunters because of the variety and quality of opportunities our resources offer. “

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The fee increase for non-residents should be revenue-neutral, Kline said, selling fewer permits and tags at higher prices. “So far, sales have come close to that original forecast,” he said.

Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, praised the moves. “We get a lot of complaints about things that happen in Fish & Game. I think it’s a blood pressure issue for a lot of people, ”she said. “And this year I loved the complaints I got because I had a lot of complaints from friends of mine who live out of state and were frustrated because they couldn’t go online for a day and they were very frustrated with the limited number of tags. I told them if they want to hunt Idaho game they’d better move to Idaho. “

Fish & Game executives also noticed significant changes in the agency’s “presence” in Treasure Valley. A new regional office opened in Nampa consolidated a range of services previously relocated with a “new facility more centrally located to better serve the people of Treasure Valley,” Kline said . As a result, the agency’s Garden City location is no longer needed and is currently for sale in the market. Plans call for the proceeds to be used to pay off remaining leases for five regional offices, resulting in ongoing budget savings of $ 500,000 per year in the future.

Fish & Game is also currently building a new main building in Boise. By the time it opens in December, Fish & Game will have dropped from five locations in Treasure Valley to two, Kline said. “For the first time in over 20 years, we will bring all employees at our headquarters under one roof and demonstrate our commitment to financial responsibility to the athletes.”

The governor’s proposed Fish & Game budget for next year reflects a 3.7% increase in overall funding excluding general funding. The increase includes $ 6 million lease repayments and mitigation work related to the Albeni Falls Dam in northern Idaho, funded through a negotiated agreement between the Bonneville Power Administration and the state of Idaho. Due to delays related to COVID-19, $ 2 million due to be spent this year was invested in next year’s work, increasing next year’s amount.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise Chief Executive and State Capital Reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.