Google is trying to do its bit in helping people maintain their social distance. The tech giant has launched a new app that will help people maintain distance in real life using augmented reality. The app has been developed under Experiments with Google and is not available on the Google Play Store but can be side-loaded separately.
The app called ‘Sodar’, will create a visual boundary using the user’s smartphone camera and constantly show who’s breaching that distance. The company claims Sodar uses “WebXR to help visualise social distancing guidelines in your environment. Using Sodar on supported mobile devices, create an augmented reality two meter radius ring around you."
The perimeter will be superimposed on the actual surroundings of the user while assuming that the smartphone and the user are at the same spot. The circle keeps moving with the user. This AR technology is similar to games like Pokemon Go. Once another person breaches the circle, the screen will visually alert the user.
The app can be accessed using the Chrome browsers and on Android smartphones. If you want to access the app use this link on the phone or scan the QR code from you smartphone on the PC.
Google also built a contact tracing API in partnership with Apple and has made it available for health agencies across countries. This API can be used in order to send alert notifications to users who might have potentially contracted covid-19 or have been in close proximity of any person who is a positive coronavirus case.
In order to make the app more safe and to maintain the users privacy Apple and Google banned the use of location tracking on the apps that plan to use their contact tracing interface. However, many governments have been using their own interface with location tracking to find hotspots within their country.