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New Tech Is Making Workplaces Safer (And Weirder)

If you weren’t sure how technology was making your life safer before 2020, you certainly are now. We’ve learned that cloud computing is the most powerful tool we have to keep the economy running while also avoiding disease. The vast majority of professionals in the South East are now back in the home counties, tucked away in their home offices, spamming each other via email and Zoom. 

Distributed computing, however, isn’t the only way that technology is making the workplace safe. Even before the need for social distancing, companies were experimenting with new and exciting options to keep people safe. 

Drones For Site Surveys

Pixabay – CC0 License

Take the construction industry, for instance. If you wanted to conduct a roof survey in the past, you either had to hire a helicopter or physically send somebody up there to take a look. It was dangerous work and often pointless. Sometimes there are no roof problems to fix. 

The invention of the roof drone survey, however, changed all that. Now an operator planted safely on the ground can view the roof through a high-definition camera on what is essentially a flying smartphone, gathering all the information they need. 

Back-to-Work Body Scanners

Of course, the question on everyone’s lips is “when will people be allowed to go back to work?” As it stands in the UK, that looks like it’ll be sometime in July, barring a resurgence of the virus, but we can’t entirely be sure. 

Even so, companies across the world are already investigating technology that will allow them to detect sick people potentially carrying COVID-19

These systems are based on existing technology at airports. Currently, many have scanners that use body-penetrating rays to determine whether people are carrying weapons up their bums. But firms are wondering whether they can adapt these systems to take temperature readings of colleagues as they enter the building. Thus, there’s a movement to find ways to “spot check” people in the foyer, before they mingle with the rest of their colleagues upstairs. 

Whether people will welcome these systems isn’t entirely clear. Many rely on intimate scans of people’s bodies, showing all their lumps and bumps in all their glory. Employers already stalk workers on social media and conduct investigations into their background. Might this be a step too far? 

Robots That Won’t Hurt You

We’ve had robot arms for more than fifty years in auto manufacturing. But the technology has barely made its way into other sectors, primarily because traditional robots are so dangerous. Traditional systems follow a computer program no matter what. So if you happen to be in the way, you’re in for a world of pain. Robots won’t stop doing what they do. 

Now, though, firms are developing smart robots that can detect humans in their environment and work around them. Even if you physically impede these “cobots,” they pause temporarily and then resume their duties soon after. It all means that workers in the manufacturing sector can look forward to a safer working environment. And companies will no longer have to hide robot arms behind giant screens. 

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