Published: 27th March 2020
Battling COVID-19: LPU's suraksha 'Kawach' vibrates, glows if someone steps into user's 1-metre safe space
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a minimum of one-metre distance between oneself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
In the wake of COVID-19, a student and three other faculty members of Lovely Professional University (LPU) have developed an IoT device called Kawach to promote safe social distancing, which is the basic prevention rule to safeguard oneself from the Coronavirus.
The device, which can be worn as a neckpiece, vibrates and glows in case someone breaches the user’s safe space of one metre. Not only that, the device is also equipped with a handwash reminder that beeps every 30 minutes to remind the user to wash his or her hands, as well as a temperature sensor that alerts them via an SMS in case their body temperature crosses the prescribed limit. The research team has successfully conducted Kawach's pilot testing among the staff members at LPU. It is now looking for the right manufacturing partners for its commercialisation.
Dr Lovi Raj Gupta
Dr Lovi Raj Gupta, Executive Dean of Science and Technology at LPU who was a part of the four-member team, believes that prevention is always better than cure. "When we saw how grave the situation is in terms of the intensity of the virus outbreak, then we realised that to test and create a vaccine would take a lot of time. So we thought why not work on the philosophy of prevention is better than cure. We browsed through WHO's guidelines, we figured out keeping distance is the basic thumb-rule of prevention. With our basic understanding of IoT, we made this device, to mitigate closeness and measure the proximity," he explains.
After the basic version was made, the team thought of adding an alarm so that once somebody has the device they can be alerted on the space compromise. "We came up with the idea of recording body temperature as well. We created several models, then finalised the wearable one-as a necklace. Currently, it's quite large in size but easy to use. Now, we are working on packaging, comfort and sensitivity of the device," the professor added.
Kawach is a low cost and easy-to-carry device that comprises of an LED, Vibrator, Controller, Battery, Human Body Temperature Sensor, Ultrasonic Sensor, Switch and a Storage Card. Along with the BTech student Prabin Kumar Das, the team of professors that worked on the project include Dr Gupta, Dr Rajesh Singh, Professor, School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Dr Anita Gehlot, Associate Professor, School of Electronics and Electrical Engineering and Dr Varun Panwar, Assistant Professor, School of Mechanical Engineering.
Speaking of how they are planning to create modifications to the basic version, Dr Gupta says, "Version 1 is only meant for people coming towards us from the front, for upcoming versions we are looking to the circular area around us at least up to a metre. We will also have thermal sensing later."
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, social distancing is a non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention implemented to avoid/decrease contact between those who are infected with a disease-causing pathogen and those who are not, so as to stop or slow down the rate and extent of disease transmission in a community. This eventually leads to a decrease in spread, morbidity and mortality due to the disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended a minimum of one-metre distance between oneself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Kawach has been designed to help people adhere to this guideline.